Ask a Yogi: What are the best stretches I can do at my desk?

It's 3:00 and you've been sitting at a desk for about 6 hours. Your back is starting to hurt from hunching over your computer screen. Your shoulders are rounding forward. Your neck is aching from being a prolonged state of flexion.

You start to wonder if the Hunchback of Notre Dame's condition was a result of endless hours at a desk job.

Want to get rid of those work pains? Don't think you have time today for a workplace yoga class? Try these simple yoga stretches at your desk. Just taking a 5 minute stretch break every hour can counteract the effects of prolonged sitting or standing. Reduce back, neck, and shoulder tension with yoga at work! *Added bonus: like our bodies, our brains benefit from multiple short breaks helping us be productive and do Deep Work.

Use just your desk and chair to get a great 5 minute stretch, then get back to work!

Hand out, head tilt: Extend your right hand out and flare your fingers. Bring your left ear to the left shoulder. Play with tilting the chin down and to the left and up to the left a few times to vary the stretch in the neck. Switch sides.

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Seated side stretch
: Place your right hand on your chair and reach your left arm overhead. Feel a deep stretch in your side body and hold for 5 breaths or 15 seconds. Switch sides.

Interlaced reach and rounds: Reach your arms to the sky. Interlace your fingers and turn your palms face up. Reach biceps behind your ears and lengthen the spine as much as possible. On your exhale, round your upper back and tuck your chin to your chest to part your shoulder blades. Inhale to return to original position. Repeat 5-8 breaths.

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Downward Desk Dog
: Scoot your chair about four feet away from your desk. Spread your arms out wider than shoulder width apart. Step your feet out wider than hip width. Allow your chest to melt to the floor as your torso sinks between your legs. Hold for 5 breaths or 15 seconds. Great shoulder & hip stretch!

 

Pigeon Chair: This stretch mimics the effects of pigeon pose. Cross your right ankle over your left knee. Push your right knee down to intensify the hip stretch. Bend forward to bring the chest to the shin to go even deeper. Hold for 5 breaths or 15 seconds. Switch sides.

 

 

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