6 Yoga Stretches You Can Do at Your Desk

Woman Yoga Stretching at Work

Is your desk job becoming a pain in your neck – or back?

If so, you aren’t alone. In fact, millions of Americans struggle with stiffness, soreness, and loss of flexibility thanks to their jobs. And, even the most ergonomic office setup won’t necessarily save you.

The solution? Add a few easy yoga stretches to your day to help maintain good posture, keep your muscles relaxed, and tame tension.

If you’re ready to loosen up, keep reading. We’ll walk you through 5 simple yoga poses that you can do without ever leaving your desk. 

1. Wrist and Finger Warmup

If you spend multiple hours working on a computer each day, this might be the most important of our office stretches. 

Start by stretching your arms out to your sides or overhead. Then, draw small circles with your wrists. Start with 5 in one direction, then switch for 5 more, moving the opposite way.

Next, spread your fingers as wide apart as possible, and close to make a tight fist. Repeat this motion 10 times, and then shake out your arms to release any excess tension.

Then, stand up and turn your hands so that the insides of each wrist face away from you, and your fingers point toward the edge of your desk. Keep your arms straight, flatten your palms, and lean away. You should feel a powerful stretch in the wrist and elbow.

2. Crescent Moon

This is one of the best chair stretches to open your side body, helping to improve posture and relieve shoulder pain. And, you don’t have to be a master yogi to pull it off!

Sit up as straight as possible, and lift your arms overhead. Stretch your fingers up toward the ceiling, and lean to the right, pausing for 2 to 3 deep breaths. Then, repeat the same motion on your left head, taking the same number of breaths. 

Then, if you’re feeling up to it, bring your hands together overhead and slowly arch your spine for a small, seated backbend.

While this simple stretch might not feel like it’s doing much, you are actually harnessing the physical and mental health benefits of yoga. And, it can be done in under a minute. 

3. Cat Cow

Do you regularly experience tension in your neck, upper back, and shoulders? If so, this movement, packed with flexion and extension, should help a bit. It will also help increase mobility and flexibility, and relieve those tight and tense muscles.

Plant both of your feet firmly on the floor and bring your hands to your knees. Then, take a deep breath in and arch your back, looking up toward the ceiling. Pause for a moment, exhale, and round your spine while dropping your head forward and tucking your chin.

Repeat this cycle for 5 deep breaths.

Now that your back is nice and open, you can take the pose further by adding a mini camel pose to the end. Reach both hands high above your head on a deep inhale. Then, reach back and place both hands on the back side of your hips while arching your back.

Be sure to keep your feet firmly planted as you drop your head backward. You will feel a gentle stretch, not only in your spine, but also in your neck and throat.

4. Pigeon

Do you often cross one leg over the other while you work? This seemingly harmless motion can disturb the balance in your hips and lower back.

Pigeon pose can help restore your posture and release tension in the hips and spine.

Start in a seated position with both feet planted on the floor. Then, cross your right leg over the left, forming a 90-degree angle. Your right foot should extend out past your left thigh.

Keep your right foot flexed, and try to maintain equal weight distributed on both sides of your pelvis or sitting bones.

To intensify this stretch, place both hands on your right knee, and twist your body out and away. Be sure to keep your spine straight, and you should feel a deep stretch in the thigh and side body. Hold this pose for up to 10 breaths before switching sides.

Pigeon pose can also be performed standing up. To do so, plant your left foot on the floor and bring your right shin up onto your desk parallel to its surface. Then, flex your right foot, which should be extended out past your left hip.

Slowly bend forward over your right leg, hinging at the hips. Similarly to the seated pigeon pose, you’ll want to pause for up to 10 breaths before repeating the process on your left side.

5. Eagle

Do you feel like you need a massage?

Eagle pose won’t work out all of those knots, but it can help stretch out the hips, thighs, and shoulders. And, it’s especially helpful for office employees who naturally hunch their necks forward. 

Start in a seated position with your left leg flat on the ground. Cross your right leg over the left, and if possible, wrap your right foot back and around the left calf.

Then, take your arms out to your sides parallel to your desk and the floor. Bring both arms forward and then cross them, right over left, and twist both arms until your palms touch.

Lift your elbows and draw your shoulders down away from the ears while keeping your spine straight and long. Hold this position for several breaths. Then, repeat the process on your left side.

6. Spinal Twist and Forward Fold

This is one of the easiest work stretches on our list, perfect for starting and ending each day in the office. It eases the tension created by sitting all day and helps to strengthen the trunk.

Start by turning sideways in your chair with both feet flat on the floor. Then, twist toward your chair’s back and grasp it with one hand on each side. Extend your twist out over the shoulder closest to the chair back and hold for a few breaths.

Remember, you’ll want to keep both feet evenly planted and avoid slouching or bending the spine. Then, turn yourself 180 degrees in your chair and twist in the same manner on your other side.

Return to center in a normal seated position and prepare for your forward fold.

Slide your chair back from your desk, plant your feet, and interlace all 10 of your fingers behind your back with palms facing out. Straighten your elbows and draw your palms down and away.

Then, fold at the waist, bringing your interlaced fingers high above your back, palms facing the ceiling or behind you. If possible, rest your chest on the top of your thighs and release your neck, so the head dangles forward.

Massage, Wellness, and Yoga Stretches In-office

With this blog post as your guide, you’re ready to get started with yoga stretches right at your desk. Start with one or two, and then add the others as you feel more strength and flexibility.

If you miss a day or two, don’t get frustrated. Instead, restart your routine as soon as possible with renewed mindfulness. It’s important to be patient and kind with yourself, especially when you’re first starting out.

Ready to take your in-office health to a whole new level? Contact Atlanta Mobile Massage and Wellness or call 770.862.2387 today. We offer office yoga, massage, and other wellness services both online and in person.