Chair Yoga

The act of interning in an office setting has fostered a lot of revelations for me this winter. Some of the most important ones being I hate working 9-5, I love dressing up, and I finally understand why Americans have such stiff bodies.

Sitting in a chair, in an office, in a cubicle, for 8 hours a day takes a toll on your body. And you probably already knew that we aren’t really meant to me sitting hunched over, staring at a computer all day. Naturally our bodies rebel and we find our shoulders sore and our back tight, and our personalities reflecting these imbalances and areas of tension in our non-work lives.

For me sitting at a desk over a computer for 8 hours has meant hours of checking my empty email inbox, even more spent brainstorming blog post topics, and more still doing what I’d refer to as desk yoga.

Seated cat/cow (spine)

Squeeze your core in, bring your gaze to your navel, chin to chest. Reverse the movement as you extend your spine. Add an exhale through cat, and an inhale as your gaze travels forward in seated cow. Allow yourself the freedom to get creative, as you warm your spine.

Seated yoga mudra (stress reliever, neck)

Sit with your legs widespread and your feet firmly on the ground. Bend forward at the waist, grabbing opposite elbows in this variation of standing yoga mudra. Relax your neck and reconnect with your

Eagle of the arms (shoulders, upper back)


Begin in a comfortable seating position. Extend your arms out to the side, bring them back towards your chest cross your right under your left into eagle of the arms. Gently move around until you find an area of tension in your shoulders or upper back and hold there. Allow your exhales to deepen you further into the pose. Repeat on opposite side.

Cradle the baby (hips)

Sit with a straight back, with the crown of your head reaching towards the ceiling. Bring your left leg to your chest and cradle your leg with your arms in cradle the baby pose. Allow the ball of your foot to rest gently against the inside of your elbow and your knee to do the same. Inhale with a straight back and exhale as you squeeze your leg to your chest. Repeat on right side.

Cow face (shoulders, upper arms)

cow face

From a comfortable seated position bring your left arm behind your back, with the front of your hand resting in between your shoulder blades. Bring your right arm straight to the ceiling, then allowing it to drop behind your head, as you work to bring your two hands together in cow face pose. Bring the top of your head towards the ceiling, and straighten your back. Allow your chest to rise and fall with each inhale; switch sides.

Spinal Twist (detoxifying)

Finish with this gentle twist. Sit on the edge of your chair, legs widespread, feet flat on the ground. Begin twisting with lower back, using arms to engage core in twist. Finish the posture with your gaze over your shoulder. Reverse sides.

Do you do any chair yoga moves during your work day? What other tips do you utilize from 9-5?

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14 responses to “Chair Yoga

  1. OOH! This is awesome! I do a LOT of twists at work, although I usually call it “cracking my back.”

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Chair Yoga | What Kate Ate --

  3. I try to do general stretches throughout the day 🙂

  4. Wow awesome post Kate! I’ve been looking for some ideas of things I can do in my cube. Thank you!

  5. Awesome! I’ll def be trying these. I like stuff I can do at my desk like that.

    I always take the stairs instead of the elevator. I also try to get up at least once an hour to walk around and stretch a little.

  6. A previous job at my sitting at a desk, staring at a computer for 8 hours on end, which I despised!

  7. Cow face is my favorite pose! I don’t really sit in a chair that often, unless I’m in class…so I don’t always need to stretch during those times. I do take lots of walking breaks though, and I walk to and from school every day, which adds up to almost 2 miles!

  8. javalicious

    really helpful!!! thanks for posting it!

  9. Pingback: The month of yoga | What Kate Ate

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