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8 Yoga Poses You Can Practice Sitting at Your Desk (Photo Tutorial)

Anyone who works at a desk all day knows how valuable small movements can be for their body. But sometimes, small little movements aren’t quite enough. Desk yoga poses are small enough that they can be practiced at your desk, but large enough to create full body movement that helps release tension.

And we all know how much tension can build up quickly when we’re hunched over a desk all day long staring at a computer screen.

But, luckily, there are simple desk yoga poses that can help to alleviate all of that.

Try These 8 Desk Yoga Poses the Next Time Your Body Is Aching at Work:

You don’t need any props other than your work desk and chair to find deep relief with these eight poses.
 

1. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

desk chair pose
When we passively sit in a chair all day, the muscles in our legs can go dormant. So Chair Pose is a fierce desk yoga pose to quickly get blood flowing to the legs.

Let’s try it:

  • Start seated in your desk chair with your feet flat on the floor roughly hip-distance apart
  • Activate your core by three-dimensionally hugging your navel in and up
  • Lengthen your spine – press your sitting bones into the chair and stretch the crown of your head to the ceiling
  • Draw your hands to your hips
  • Root firmly into your feet and lift your seat to hover just above your desk chair so that your hips are suspended in the air and you’re using your leg and core strength to remain upright
  • Hold for a few deep breaths and then slowly release your hips back down to the actual chair beneath you
  • Repeat a few times until your feel your legs fully “awaken”

 
If You Have a Desk Job, Your Body Will Thank You For These 5 Desk Yoga Poses
 

2. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

desk forward fold
Excessive sitting can often lead to a plethora of issues, including low back pain. So if you’ve been sitting for too long and your lower back is aching, this gentle forward fold may help to decompress it.

Let’s try it:

  • Start seated in your desk chair with your feet flat on the floor roughly hip-distance apart
  • Gently fold the weight of your torso forward and down over your legs
  • Release the weight of your upper body down with gravity and allow your head and neck to completely relax
  • Visualize sending your breath into your lower back
  • Hold here for as long as you’d like – you can always pretend you’re reaching for something you dropped on the floor!

 
Looking for more yoga tutorials and yoga tips? Check out our full library of Yoga articles here
 

3. Seated Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

desk seated twist
Some of the best desk yoga poses are twists because they quickly and discreetly bring lots of hydration to the spine.

Pro tip: If you’re wearing heels, you might want to slip them off for this pose!

Let’s try it:

  • Start seated in your desk chair with your feet flat on the floor roughly hip-distance apart
  • Lift your right foot off the floor and place it onto the seat of your chair
  • Cross your right foot over your left thigh
  • Take your right arm toward the back of your chair
  • Hug your right shin with your left hand
  • On an inhale, elongate your spine
  • As you exhale, spiral your whole torso toward the right
  • Breathe deeply into this twist for a few deep breaths
  • Release and switch sides

 

 
 

4. Standing Supported Halfway Lift (Ardha Uttanasana)

desk Standing Supported Halfway Lift
This desk yoga pose might not be as discreet as some of the others, but it feels ohhhh so good after sitting for a long time and well worth it! This pose feels so good for your spine and will help lengthen it as you also expand through your chest (great for your posture after sitting for long periods of time).

Let’s try it:

  • Come to stand behind of your desk chair
  • Place your hands on the back of your chair roughly shoulder-width apart
  • Root down into your feet and your palms as you draw the tips of your shoulder blades toward each other
  • Expand your heart forward and through between your arms
  • Option to walk your feet further away from the chair for a deeper stretch
  • Hold for a few long, deep breaths

 
Ever Tried Yoga At Work? Boost Productivity With These 7 Chair Yoga Poses
 

5. Standing Supported Plank (Phalankasana)

desk supported plank
Another not-so-discreet desk pose (that’s well worth it), this invigorating variation of Plank helps to bring blood flow to all of your skeletal muscles that might be stagnant from sitting at your desk all day.

Let’s try it:

  • Come to stand in front of your desk chair
  • Place your hands on the back of your chair roughly shoulder-width apart
  • Root down into your palms and brace your core
  • Slowly walk your feet away from your chair until you’re in a standing Plank shape
  • Rise to the balls of your feet and press down through your heels
  • Hold for a few deep breaths
  • If you really want to energize yourself, option to bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the desk for a few desk push-ups!

 

6. Cow Face Pose Arm Stretch (Gomukhasana)

desk Cow Face Pose Arm Stretch
This delicious arm and hip stretch is the perfect pose to release the aches that come from sitting all day. Pro tip: You may want to lose your shoes for this pose.

Let’s try it:

  • Start seated in your desk chair with your feet flat on the floor roughly hip-distance apart
  • Cross your right leg over your left
  • Elongate your spine and stretch your right arm toward the ceiling
  • Bend your right elbow and slide your hand down your back
  • Reach your left arm behind your back and up your spine
  • Option to hold your shirt, your ponytail, a pen, or interlace your fingers behind your back
  • Press your head and upper back into your arms behind you
  • Hold for a few deep breaths and then switch sides

 

7. Seated Figure Four (Eka Pada Utkatasana)

desk Seated Figure Four
When we passively sit in a chair all day, our hips take the brunt of the damage, which can result in stiff, tense hips and eventually turn into hip pain. That’s why a seated figure four stretch may be your new favorite desk yoga pose!

Let’s try it:

  • Start seated in your chair with your feet flat on the floor hip-distance apart
  • Lift your right knee and set your right ankle on top of your left thigh, keeping your right foot flexed to protect your knee joint
  • Option to gently press right hand on the inside of your right knee to deepen the stretch
  • Lengthen your spine – press your sitting bones into the chair and keep your heart lifted (don’t round your spine)
  • Hold for a few deep breaths and then slowly release your right foot back to the floor
  • Repeat on side two

 

8. Neck and Wrist Circles

desk Neck and Wrist Circles
Although not technically yoga poses, these gentle mobilization exercises are magic for sore wrists and necks after a long day at work.

Let’s try it:

  • Start seated in your desk chair with your feet flat on the floor roughly hip-distance apart
  • Elongate your spine by rooting your sit bones into the chair and stretching the crown of your head to the sky
  • Gently release your right ear toward your right shoulder
  • Roll your neck toward your chin and then to your left shoulder and back around
  • Continue circling as many times as you’d like. If you want, switch the direction of your circles
  • Do the same circular motions with your wrists, rolling them in a clockwise and then counterclockwise direction

 
 

When You Need a Break at Work, Use These Desk Yoga Poses for Big Relief

Your yoga practice doesn’t need to be big or elaborate to be effective. You can really target all major areas of your body right from your desk at work.

And if you consistently practice just a little bit of yoga every day at your desk, your body will very likely thank you down the line.
 
 

Need to Undo the Desk?

Join Ashton August to Undo the Desk in this relaxing 36-minute practice on YA Classes by YouAligned.

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Leah Sugerman

Leah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she has trained in countless traditions of the practice and teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied with a strong emphasis on breath, alignment, and anatomical integrity. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings both internationally and online.

leahsugerman.com

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