Do Office Yoga

Have you ever gotten done with a long day at work and felt completely drained? You may not realize it, but work stress and sitting at a desk all day takes a toll on your body. If you start feeling tired and sore while you’re on the clock, you can luckily do some simple yoga stretches right in your office! While you can’t get into all of the complex poses from a yoga class, you can still perform a lot of them without getting out of your chair. Even if you only have a few free minutes, you can use them to rejuvenate your workday!


Neck and Shoulder Relief

  1. Tilt your head so it touches your shoulder if your neck feels tight. You might feel neck strain if you’re slouching or tensing your shoulders throughout the day. Sit up straight so your back isn’t touching your chair. Keep your head directly above your spine and your shoulders relaxed. Slowly tilt your head to the left so your ear touches your shoulder. Hold the position for 5 counts before returning to the starting position. Then tilt your head to the right and hold it for another 5 counts.[1]
    • If you want a deeper stretch, gently push your head further down with your hand.
    • You may also feel relief if you massage your neck lightly as you stop stretching.
  2. Do neck circles when you’re feeling stiff. If your neck still aches, you may need to try this deeper stretch. Lower your head and tuck your chin against your chest. Slowly roll your head to the right so your ear touches your right shoulder. Bring your head back until your chin points up to the ceiling. Roll your head onto your left shoulder and back down to your chest to finish the circle. Then do a full circle moving your head in the opposite direction.[2]
    • If you feel any pain while doing neck circles, stop immediately so you don’t strain or hurt yourself.
  3. Roll your shoulders if they’re tense. Make sure you sit up so your back is off of the chair. Lift your shoulders up as high as you comfortably can and hold them there. Slowly push your shoulders back and lower them back down in a circular motion. Do 4–5 shoulder rolls going backward. After that, reverse the direction so you move your shoulders back before lifting them up.[3]
    • This stretch can also improve your circulation near your shoulder joints.
  4. Bend at the hips and reach out in front of you to loosen your shoulders. Stand up and move your chair to the side so you have some more room. Put your palms flat on your desk and walk backward until your arms are fully extended. Keep your back straight and bend 90 degrees at the hips. Press down on the table and push your hips back for 5–10 counts before you relax again. [4]
    • Try to keep your legs straight during this pose, but don’t worry if you need to bend your knees a little bit.[5]

Upper Body Stretches

  1. Try a cat-cow stretch when you want to improve your posture. If you’re looking for something that’s discrete and easy to do while sitting down, this is the stretch for you. Sit at the edge of your chair with your legs shoulder-width apart. Put your hands on your thighs and slowly inhale as you arch your back. Tilt your head back as you do this. When you exhale, round out your spine by dropping your chin closer to your chest. Go through 4–5 breaths to feel relief throughout your back.[6]
    • This pose can also help your circulation.[7]
    • Avoid jutting your chin forward when you’re arching your back since you could compress your neck vertebra.
    • For a variation on this, lean forward with your elbows on your thighs. Relax your body as you lean forward—you can even deepen the stretch by reaching your hands down to touch the floor or resting your hands on your ankles.[8]
  2. Twist to the side while you’re sitting down if your upper back feels stiff. Sit on the front of your chair and inhale as you lengthen your spine. When you exhale, turn either to the left or the right side. If you need to, you can hold onto your table, desk, or the side of your chair to gently twist out to one side. You can rotate your head to gaze back as well. Hold this for about 5 breaths, then come back to the middle before repeating for the other side.[9]
    • If you’re sitting in a rolling chair, hold onto your desk or lock the wheels while performing this stretch.
    • Try doing this about once every hour to keep tension from building up in your body.[10]
    • You can also stretch your sides by leaning sideways over first one arm of the chair, then the other. As you lean to one side, reach the opposite hand over your head. Hold this for 4-5 breaths.[11]
  3. Lace your fingers behind your back and raise your arms to open your chest. You can do this stretch whether you’re sitting or standing. Scoot to the front edge of your chair and lean forward slightly so there’s enough room to fully extend your arms behind you. Reach behind your lower back and lace your fingers together. Keep your arms straight as you lift your hands up. Raise them as high as you comfortably can and hold the position for 10–15 breaths. Slowly ease out of the pose when you’re finished.[12]
    • Try leaning forward slightly so you can feel the stretch deeper in your chest.
  4. Extend your arm and pull your hand back to help your wrist flexibility. Working at a computer all day really strains your wrists and can cause a bit of pain. When you feel your wrist getting tight, extend your arm straight out in front of you with your palm face-up. Grab the tips of your fingers with your other hand and gently pull them back toward your body for 5 counts. Then, turn your palm face-down and push down on the back of your hand for another 5 counts. Switch arms so both your wrists stay loose.[13]
    • You can do this stretch seated or standing.
  5. Perform the reverse prayer pose to loosen up your hands and wrists. Sit on the edge of your chair so you have room to do the pose. Reach your hands behind your lower back and keep your elbows bent. Turn your hands so your fingers point up and press your palms together. Try to scoot your hands as far up your back as you can. Take a few 4–5 breaths and relax on your final exhale.[14]
    • This pose requires a bit of flexibility, so you might not be able to perform it at first. Keep working on it and eventually you’ll be able to press your palms together.

Lower Body Exercises

  1. Lift your knees up to release tension in your hips. Sit up straight with your back slightly off of the chair and your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the crook of your knee with both hands and pull it straight up as high as you comfortably can. Make sure you keep your back relaxed so you feel the stretch in your hips. Hold the position while you inhale and slowly lower it back down as you exhale. Then repeat the stretch with your other leg.[15]
    • This stretch might also help with your digestion.
  2. Do hip openers if you want to stretch your glutes. Sit at the edge of your seat so your legs are shoulder-width apart. Lift up your right foot and rest your ankle on your left knee. Gently lean forward at the hips to help loosen up your glutes. Hold the pose for 5 counts and relax when you exhale. Then do the same stretch with your left leg.[16]
    • It’s normal if the leg you dominantly use is more flexible than the other. Your dominant leg is usually on the same side of your body as your dominant hand.
  3. Try the seahorse pose for a deep stretch through your torso and legs. Sit near the right corner of your seat or sideways on your chair if it doesn’t have any arms. Keep your left foot firmly planted on the ground in front of you. Bend your right leg back so your knee drops down and the top of your foot touches the floor. Bend backward at the hips and hold the position for 1–2 counts. Then switch legs so you stretch them evenly.[17]
    • Hold onto your chair or a sturdy object while doing this stretch so you don’t fall.
  4. Put your foot on your chair and lean forward to stretch your legs. If you have room in your office, lift your foot onto your seat and straighten your leg. Bend forward at the hips until you feel the stretch running down your legs all the way to your foot. Stay in your pose for 3 counts before resting. Then stretch your other leg the same way.[18]
    • This stretch really helps circulation in your legs so you don’t develop varicose veins or swelling.
  5. Try side bends when you’re feeling tight around your waist. You can do side bends sitting, but they work best if you’re standing. Step forward with your left foot and keep your toes slightly pointed out. As you inhale, raise your right arm above your head. When you exhale, slowly bend to the left at your hips. Keep your core activated so you don’t arch your lower back. Hold the position for 3 counts before stretching on the right side.[19]
    • This pose can strengthen your core muscles and improve your balance.



  • Even just practicing deep breathing meditation can help you refocus throughout the day. Close your eyes when you’re feeling stressed at work. Inhale for 5 seconds and exhale for 7 seconds for 10 breaths.[20]
  • Ask your coworkers if they want to set aside time to practice yoga together.


  • Be careful stretching in your chair if it has wheels. Either lock the wheels or hold onto your desk so you don’t roll away.[21]
  • If you’re working in an office with other people, make sure you’re not disrupting your coworkers while you’re stretching. Try some more discrete poses or find a different time to do yoga.

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  8. [v161546_b01]. 10 September 2020.
  9. [v161546_b01]. 10 September 2020.
  10. [v161546_b01]. 10 September 2020.
  11. [v161546_b01]. 10 September 2020.