9 Best Chair Yoga Poses to Do at Your Desk
Do you also complain about limited movement because of your work hours, illness, or limited space? Do you always try to make some time out for physical movement but fail? Well, worry not; there is a simple exercise awaiting you.
Let me introduce you to this new form of yoga that you can do in the comfort of your chair. You don't have to make up a lot of space, nor do you need any equipment; you will just need your work chair.
Chair yoga is a great way to practice if you are new to yoga, have restricted mobility, or are recovering from an injury. It is the ideal sort of yoga to do while at work.
What is Chair Yoga?
The very name of chair yoga conveys its purpose. It is a general phrase for yoga poses modified to allow for chair practice.
These adaptations make yoga more accessible to those with disabilities who have restricted movement and are ideal for easing the stresses brought on by spending all day at a computer.
In this article, we've put together a list of common problems and their solutions you regularly face at work. Here are the top 9 yoga poses you can practice while sitting at your desk.
Read: 7 Office Yoga Poses That Will Help You Relieve Stress And Stay Healthy
5 Benefits of Chair Yoga
For people who have trouble moving without stability and support, chair yoga can benefit in several ways, such -
1. Excellent for Those Who Find Traditional Yoga Difficult to Practice
Chair yoga is a terrific alternative for those who have trouble with regular yoga, which is one of its key advantages.
Yoga benefits extend beyond people who have arthritis. Additionally, it can benefit people with multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and chronic pain. Additionally, it can help older people who find it difficult to perform the up-and-down motions of traditional yoga.
2. Ideal for Long Flights or Desk Jobs
While there are many ways to move while working a desk job, many require getting up. But the fact that chair yoga doesn't force you to leave work is very beneficial. The tension and stress that come with working at a desk all day can be reduced with chair yoga.
3. Reduce Pain and Stress
Another excellent exercise for relieving tension and pain is chair yoga. You can deal with and manage discomfort with the help of yoga's breathwork. Yoga is especially beneficial for people with spinal curvature from fibromyalgia and osteoporosis.
4. Enhanced Strength
Chair yoga is a gentle technique to strengthen yourself without harming your body. Yoga can increase endurance while also enhancing physical strength.
5. Save Space and Time
You might not have enough room to set up a mat if you're trying to practice yoga in a tiny place. Because chair yoga only requires a small amount of space to practice, it can be quite useful.
Chair yoga practitioners can also continue to wear their regular office attire, saving time in getting dressed.
Furthermore, seats are quite accessible. Employees have their chairs that they can use, while you can still use the boardrooms or auditoriums on-site.
9 Poses You Can Practice at Work
1. Seated Crescent Moon (URDHVA HASTASANA)
Problem: Your lumbosacral spinal discs are under great pressure from sitting all day.
Benefit: In addition to lengthening your spine, this chair yoga pose helps open the body's sides. Helping to open your lungs, reduce hip tension, relieve strain on your lumbosacral discs, and enhance attention.
Step 1: Sit up straight and take a deep breath.
Step 2: Stretch your arms while taking a breath. Your fingers should be pointing upward.
Step 3: Put your hands together in a prayer position over your head and exhale for five counts.
Step 4: After taking three full breaths, slowly lean to the left.
Step 5: Return to the center as you breathe in, then repeat on the opposite side.
Step 6: Repeat this workout two to three times, attempting to stretch a little bit further each time.
2. Seated Pigeon/ Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Problem: Your hip bones and flexor muscles can suffer if you spend 9 to 5 sitting at a desk.
Benefit: This pose emphasizes hip openness, which promotes flexibility and mobility in that joint. Your lower back and hip flexors, which are frequently tight from prolonged sitting, are also stretched in the chair pigeon pose.
Step1: Sit upright with your back straight and heels under your knees to start.
Step 2: Without moving your right leg, place your left ankle in the middle of your right thigh while resting your hands wherever you find it most comfortable—on your knees or thighs.
Step 3: Here, you might see a small rise in your left hip, which would put more weight on your right. Maintaining an even distribution of your sit bones will help you avoid this.
Step 4: Hold this position for four to eight deep breaths, maintaining a long spine and sometimes flexing your left foot to loosen your left knee.
Step 5: Lean forward and exhale to deepen the stretch. Your hands should be in the pose of prayer, your gaze should be soft, and your elbows should be resting on the inner of your left ankle and knee.
Step 6: Repeat on the other side.
3. Chair Cat and Cow Pose
Problem: The spine suffers the most from sitting for prolonged periods.
Benefit: The cat-cow exercise at your desk is useful for releasing tension in your upper back, shoulders, and neck. Spinal flexion and extension are used in this technique to loosen up tight muscles and promote flexibility and mobility.
Image source: YogaUOnline
Step 1: Sit down initially with your spine long and your shoulders straight. You should have your hands on your knees, your core engaged, and both feet flat on the floor.
Step 2: Take a deep breath and roll your shoulders back and down while arching your spine backward and looking up at the ceiling. Stay in the cow pose for two to three breaths.
Step 3: Slowly round your spine without bending at the hips as you exhale.
Step 4: Stay in the cat pose for two to three breaths.
Step 5: Repeat the Cat and Cow pose upto 4 to 5 times.
4. Seated Eagle/ Garudasana
Problem: As we type, our entire arm, from the wrist to the elbow, works hard to perform brief, constrained movements repeatedly. Again, this may result in pain, tightness, and repetitive strain injuries. Thus, we succumb to the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Benefit: The eagle pose enhances posture, body awareness, balance, and concentration. It strengthens your core, thighs, legs, and ankles while stretching your shoulders, upper back, and thighs.
Step 1: Cross your right leg across your left leg. Then, round your left calf with your right foot.
Step 2: Then cross your right arm over your left arm just above the elbow. Bring your palms together by encircling each other with your forearms.
Step 3: While keeping your shoulders from sagging down your back, keep your elbows to shoulder level.
Step 4: Repeat on the opposite side after holding the position for five to ten breaths.
5. Wrist Stretch
Problem: Sitting at a desk for eight hours a day typically means eight or more hours of writing, drawing, or engaging in other wrist-demanding activities.
Long-term usage of a touchscreen, mouse, or keyboard can result in stiff and sore wrists.
Benefits: By releasing the tension in your wrists, hands, and fingers, this easy but effective chair yoga stretch can help to stop these conditions from arising.
Step 1: Stretch your arms in front of you while seated at your desk, so they are relaxed and parallel to the ground.
Step 2: Allow your right hand to completely relax so it droops down and your fingertips face the floor while maintaining a straight arm up to your wrist.
Step 3: The remaining left fingers should softly wrap around the back of your right hand as you place your left thumb in the palm of your right hand.
Step 4: Feel the stretch in your right forearm, arm, and wrist by pressing your thumb forward and your other fingers back. Continue for 3–4 breaths.
Step 5: Repeat 4-5 times.
6. Seated Twist Pose
Problem: Long periods spent sitting at a desk can strain and hurt the spine, which can be quite distracting.
Benefit: Rotating is the best way to ease back pain when seated. This position softly opens your back, shoulders, and chest while maintaining the flexibility of your spine.
Step 1: Start sitting on your chair sideways with your left side facing the backrest and your heels tucked beneath your knees.
Step 2: From here, turn your chest towards the chair's back by twisting your spine, then take hold of the backrest's corresponding sides with your corresponding hands.
Step 3: For 3–4 breaths, maintain this position. Roll your shoulders back and stretch your spine with each inhalation.
Step 4: When you exhale, gently twist your body to increase the stretch by resting your hands on the chair.
Step 5: Repeat on the opposite side.
7. Seated Forward Bend/ Uttanasana
Problem: Your neck suffers from spending all day hunched over a screen. Your neck muscles and the top of your spine are put under great tension when the ordinary human head is kept at certain angles for extended periods.
Benefit: The spine, hamstrings, calf muscles, and inner thighs (adductors) all receive a significant stretch from this position. This position may help with some anxiety symptoms by soothing the mind.
Step 1: Sit towards the front and position yourself two arm's length from your workstation. Put your heels under your knees, and your feet flat on the ground at a hip distance.
Step 2: Roll your shoulder blades back and down as you inhale so they are away from your ears and raise your arms from your side to the sky.
Step 3: Look up at your hands. Exhale slowly as you bend forward from the waist over your legs while keeping your arms long and your spine straight.
Step 4: Your head should drop loosely and heavily between your legs, and you should let your hands rest on the ground.
Step 5: Slowly raise your arms to the sky while you breathe. Once more, keep your shoulders down and your spine long.
Step 6: Continue this cycle 4 to 5 times, paying attention to your breathing and posture each time.
8. Eye Yoga
Problem: Our eye muscles are put under a great deal of stress from screen glare, close viewing distances, and constrained viewing angles, which can result in eye fatigue, migraines, astigmatism, and long-term nearsightedness, among other issues.
Benefit: Eye yoga helps safeguard and strengthen your eyes and vision by releasing strains and tension in your eye muscles.
It requires you to switch between focusing on adjacent and distant objects. It stimulates you to move your eyes up, down, and in all directions.
Read: Learn How To Reduce Eye Strain At Work With These 7 Effective Ways
Step 1: Close your eyes, relax, and start breathing slowly.
Step 2: After briefly blinking, turn your eyes clockwise after opening them. Continue for 2–3 breaths, then turn around the other way.
Step 3: Move your chair to see a building or distant object. If you are close to a window, now is the time to use it.
Step 4: Breathe deeply as you concentrate on this object for 10 seconds or until it comes into focus.
Step 5: After 10 seconds, focus on an item at arm's length while maintaining a relaxed breathing pattern.
Step 6: Repeat 4 or 5 times, switching your attention between the up-close and far-off objects.
9. Final Relaxation: Chair Savasana
After practice, spend a few minutes sitting quietly with your hands on your lap and your eyes closed. Thanks to this seated savasana, your body can fully benefit from the poses you just did as you move into the rest of your day.
Now that you have gone into the flow, you can also try out these yoga poses for tiredness next time.
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Working at a desk can wear on the body, causing stiffness and strain. Stretching and moving your body during breaks can help counteract these effects, enhancing joint fluid secretions and posture.
Yoga has several advantages for both physical and mental health, including reducing anxiety and stress and improving mood and sleep. While working at a desk, try to incorporate 5-minute stretching or mobility breaks every hour. Ask a licensed yoga instructor if you need clarification on how to do these exercises.
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