Yoga Poses You Can do at Your Desk: a Comprehensive Guide

Yoga Poses You Can Do At Your Desk: A Comprehensive Guide

If you started practicing yoga or have been doing it for a long time, you already know the benefits of yoga.

Not only can it improve your flexibility and focus, but make you a much healthier and happier person.

However, your coworkers may not necessarily appreciate your midday yoga routine.

This does not mean that you need to settle for inactivity; you can still workout while you are in the office.

There are lots of yoga poses that you can do at your desk without getting those awkward stares from your neighbor in the next cubicle.

However, let’s face it the weird stares are a small price to pay to enjoy the benefits of yoga.

So the real question is are there yoga poses that are specifically designed to be done at your office desk?

The simple answer is yes; there are plenty of poses that you can do in your workplace to remain healthy instead of slouched over your desk for nine hours of the day.

So let’s take a closer look at some of these poses and exactly how you go about doing them.

If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the yoga poses, we got you covered:

Yoga Poses

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List of poses that you can do during work pause

Yoga On Work
  • Gomukhasana A
  • Hands Interlaced Behind the Back
  • Chair pigeon
  • Prasarita Padottanasana C
  • Hamstring Stretch WITHOUT Leaving the Chair
  • Seated Office Chair Twist
  • Camel Pose
  • A More Comfortable Child’s Pose
  • Modified Extended Side Angle
  • Stretch your hips, Inner, Groins Release Your Back with Bound Angle
  • Stretch Your Shoulders but Don’t Forget Your Traps
  • Don’t Neglect your Hip Flexors
  • Activate your Obliques
  • Half Your Boat to Double Your Intensity
  • Dodge Squishy Organs and a Round Belly

Step by step guide and description for each pose  

Gomukhasana A

This pose involves stretching the shoulders. In some cases or some jobs, you may be able to stand up and walk around.

However, if you stuck sitting down all day, then use this pose to make the best of it.

One of the best ways that you can master sitting down is to do it correctly.

So try to do some poses or exercises that encourage your shoulders to roll back instead of slouching forward.

Being able to keep your shoulders back has many benefits, and slouching your shoulders over has a lot of ramifications, not to mention one of the most obvious ones, which are the “hunchback.”

  • So to do this pose lift up your right arm and pat your back
  • Reach down your back and as you allow your right shoulder to be drawn back
  • With your left arm reach out to the side and around your back and then clasp your fingers if you can
  • If you are not as flexible yet, then simply keep an old towel in your office and try to reach for that.
  • If your bottom arm is no anywhere close, just push down on the right elbow with your left hand now work the other side.
  • This post should be done, and whenever you feel that your shoulders are slouching.

Hands Interlaced Behind the Back

Woman Doing Yoga

You should follow your first pose with this one.

Because it pushes your shoulders back and encourages your shoulder blades to squeeze together.

This pose is pretty simple, and this is how you go about doing it:

  • Stand up
  • Interlace your hands behind your back
  • Start by squeezing your shoulder blades together and not physically moving your shoulders
  • Work on drawing the hands-down
  • Work on drawing the hands out
  • Do not hyperextend the elbows
  • In the process of fixing one problem, you should not create another

Like with the first pose, you should do this whenever you feel that you are slouching your shoulders or your upper back.

If you work in an office environment where you are constantly in front of a computer, then your upper back muscles should already be tight.

When you do this pose, your shoulder blades won’t move a lot, and neither will your shoulders, but that’s okay.

Chair pigeon

This is one of those poses that takes the least amount of effort.

So even if you are lazy or can’t be bothered with stretching, you can definitely attempt this one.

All it involves is lifting your leg and the best part is you don’t even have to leave your chair.

  • Stay in your chair
  • Lift your right ankle and place it on your left thigh
  • Allow your ankle to rest on your thigh as comfortably as possible and don’t try and force it any further
  • Do this pose for 20-25 seconds then switch sides

This pose is something that’s very helpful when it comes to sciatic nerve pain.

This is because it stretches the muscle called the Piriformis.

And when this muscle becomes tight, it also becomes inflamed, and even something as simple as sitting can be painful.

This might be a very basic pose; however, do not underestimate its benefits.

Prasarita Padottanasana C

Prasarita Padottanasana C

This poses an extension of the first pose that was discussed.

  • Start by widening your legs about 4 feet apart
  • Your toes should be facing forward
  • Your hands should be interlaced behind your back
  • The movement should start at your shoulder blades as you draw them together
  • Fold forward as much as possible
  • Repeat the pose interlacing your hands in different ways

Hamstring Stretch WITHOUT Leaving the Chair

If you’ve been searching for a creative way to stretch your hamstrings, here it is.

  • This pose should be done when you’re seated in your chair
  • Push your chair about a foot away from your desk
  • Take your right leg and place it up on your disk
  • Fold over your leg as far as possible
  • The stretch should be felt in the center of your hamstring and not behind the knee

Seated Office Chair Twist

Lots of people experience pain in their lower back, and it’s no wonder if you sit for hours a day on your chair.

The following poses will be done using your chair while you are sitting, and all that needs is going to happen is that you’re going to turn yourself sideways.

  • So start by turning yourself sideways in your chair
  • Make sure your feet are securely placed on the ground, or you may fall over
  • Twist yourself by placing both your hands in the back of the chair
  • When you twist use your breathing
  • When you inhale your head and ribs should be lifted
  • When you exhale you should rotate your torso
  • Make sure that you’re holding onto the chair securely the entire time

Camel Pose

Woman Doing Yoga Camel Pose

The following pose is intended for good spinal health. If you’ve never stretched your spine before, it’s quite okay.

In fact, lots of people haven’t because they simply don’t know how to. This pose does, in fact, require you to check.

  • Finds a small space on the floor somewhere
  • You will need a cushion for your knees so reach for one before you begin
  • Kneel on the cushion
  • Place your hands on your lower back with your fingers facing up or down whichever you prefer
  • Try and push your hips forward as far as they will go
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together
  • Try to picture lifting up your sternum bone
  • If this pose is comfortable for you, then move your hands onto your heels and repeat
  • This pose should be done two-three times and every time you do your spine should get warmer and warmer and ultimately feel better

A More Comfortable Child’s Pose

One of the best ways to get yourself through a never-ending workday is not to binge on coffee; in fact, it’s about bolstering.

If you can stash a bolster inside someplace, it’s great. Back lengthening is great.

Since you spend most of your workday compressing your back, you need to do the opposite in order to lengthen your back.

So every workday should be seen as an opportunity to heal your back. This is how you can start doing it.

  • Leave your chair
  • Get into a child’s pose
  • Take the bolster that you kept away somewhere and rest it on your calves
  • As you sink your hips down, rest on the bolster
  • Relax and hold for 60 seconds
  • Breathe

Modified Extended Side Angle

Modified Extended Side Angle Pose

If you’re wondering about what’s the purpose of all the stretches, ultimately, it is to prevent chronic pain and extend your lifespan.

Some people avoid doing yoga poses because they feel they can’t do it.

However, all yoga poses can be modified to make it doable by everyone.

So instead of looking for reasons not to do a pose, try and find reasons why you can actually do it.

Modified versions of poses are simple and easy to start and here’s how you can do it

  • Start from a Warrior 2 position
  • Your front heel should be lined up with your back arch
  • Your right forearm should rest on the top of your right thigh
  • Stretch your left arm forward as far as possible
  • Roll your shoulder back
  • Hold the pose for between 20 to 30 seconds
  • Try doing this pose against the wall just in case your back foot slides and you don’t have a yoga mat
  • Thereafter do the other side

Stretch your hips, Inner, Groins Release Your Back with Bound Angle

You shouldn’t push yourself too far in this pose, and more importantly, don’t rip your pants.

  • Get up from your chair
  • Sit on the ground
  • Bring your feet together and keep your knees wide apart
  • Don’t slouch back
  • If you would like to put some light pressure on your inner thighs to increase the stretch, you’re welcome to do so
  • Hold this pose or 2 to 3 minutes
  • You can also try this pose lying down
  • You can also choose to place the bolster in your lap and then bend forward.

Stretch Your Shoulders but Don’t Forget Your Traps

Woman Practicing Yoga

If you have done some basic shoulder stretches, then you probably know how to modify some poses if necessary.

Stretching the front, side, and back of your shoulders is crucial; however, what about your traps?

Your traps are those muscles that can get quite large while bodybuilding and in fact may even cause neck pain

The Eagle pose can be done to work out traps and is simple enough that you won’t lose your balance in front of the entire office.

  • Do this pose while standing up
  • Your right arm should be wrapped underneath the left
  • Your elbow should be squeezed together
  • When doing the pose like this, you’ll stretch the back of your shoulders
  • Now you should start by stretching your traps and setting the pose motion
  • With both your elbows squeezed together, lift up the elbows as high as you can
  • Then drop the elbows as low as possible
  • Repeat this motion between 9 to 10 times, and by doing this, you are stretching your traps
  • Thereafter you can do this on the other side

Don’t Neglect your Hip Flexors

Your hip flexor muscles not only get weak but tight as well. You can try stretching them by doing a low lunge.

You can start by following a few simple steps.

  • Leave your chair
  • Set yourself up in the lunge
  • You should remove your shoes while doing this pose
  • Rest on top of the back foot as this helps to focus and stretch the hip flexor
  • If your kneecap is hurting, then try adding a cushion to it
  • Your rib cage should be extended as high as possible
  • Interlace your hands behind your back and squeeze your shoulder blades together

Activate your Obliques

Yoga With Chair

Lots of people don’t see the necessity of exercising their obliques.

And if you have an office job, you’re probably one of them. However, just like athletes, you also use them.

Various tasks involve you using our obliques, such as tying your shoelaces together, reaching for a pencil, or simply stretching a little farther than you normally do.

So here’s what you can do to exercise them.

Try to stand up and stretch from side to side from time to time. Doing it for at least 30 seconds makes a difference

  • Stand up next to your chair however move at least a foot away from it
  • Interlace your hands and point fingers up
  • Your hips should be pushed to the left
  • Your body should be tilted to the right as far as possible without falling over
  • This will cause the obliques on your left to stretch
  • Your left rib cage should be rotated backward
  • Your right rib cage should be pushed forward, and this will optimize the stretch
  • Now try stretching on the opposite side
  • This pose can be done every 15 minutes for approximately 30 seconds at a time
  • Your torso will then feel more stretched and less compressed

Half Your Boat to Double Your Intensity

  • This pose should be done by leaving your seat
  • Get into a Navasana pose on the floor
  • Lower yourself down
  • You should stop when your shoulders are approximately an inch or 2 inches above the floor
  • This is an intense pose, and you’ll find yourself sweating a little

Dodge Squishy Organs and a Round Belly

Navasana Pose

Perhaps the worst shape to take on as you age is the skinny fat shape.

Ultimately this is the shape of a troll, where your shoulders are slouched over, and you look slightly pregnant and appear clumsy.

In order to avoid this from happening you need to practice the Navasana pose, and this is how you go about doing it:

  • Sit on the floor and use a little cushion underneath your bottom if necessary
  • Your leg should be extended in front of you
  • Your knees should be bent
  • Keep your toes in line with the eyeballs
  • Ensure your thighs are squeezed together
  • Pull your stomach in
  • Hold your breath for 30 seconds
  • Repeat the pose five times

The pose also helps to strengthen your hip flexors.

Related Questions

Can you do yoga poses at work?

Of course, you can. There literally over a dozen poses that you can do while at the office.

What are the benefits of doing yoga poses at work?

You will improve your posture, work out your muscles and become healthier over time

How often should I do yoga poses at work?

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this, however, you can do it as often as you feel prompted to.

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