Desk Yoga for a stress free day

Whether you work from home or in an office you are probably doing lots of sitting. You sit all day at work, then in the car or train to get home. When you get home you sit to eat and watch TV or get back on your computer. Even those of us who exercise regularly are not as active as we think we are.  Joint pain, back pain and premature aging are our rewards. But all is not lost…Enter Desk yoga.

What Is Desk Yoga?

Desk yoga, also known as chair yoga, is doing yoga movements and stretches while mostly seated. It’s something you can do during the day to keep your body flexible and agile. Not to mention your mind alert.

Benefits of Desk Yoga

  • Desk yoga is free, quick and based on time tested yoga poses and stretches.

  • Healthy joints and a flexible body are the key to youth and an alert mind. Desk yoga poses will give you these.

  • Because of the spine stretches, twists and breathing you can say good bye to the day time energy drops and stress.

  • You can fit these exercises in whenever you want during the day.

  • You will be amazed how productive you are at work and how much energy you have when you finish. Making you more likely to go the gym, play with your kids or anything else you want to do with your family and friends.

  • The poses are also a nice compliment to your regular yoga practice.

Remember, you don’t just have to do them at your desk do them anywhere you sit for long periods of time.

Seated Crescent Moon Pose For an Energy Boost

Seated Crescent Moon Pose

The crescent moon pose lengthens your lumbar spine and stretches both sides of your torso. It improves your posture and gives you energy and improves your concentration.

How To Do the Seated Crescent Moon Pose

While seated in your office chair raise your arms above your head, palms together and fingers stretched.

Lean to to the left, stretching the right side of your body.

Breathe deeply through your nose for two to three breathes.

Repeat on the other side

Chair Pigeon Pose to Loosen Your Hips

The chair pigeon pose stretches your glutes, hip flexor muscles, hamstrings and also loosens the joints of the hips, feet and ankles. It improves your posture and movement and relieves tension from too much sitting.

How To Do The Chair Pigeon Pose

  • While seated, lean slightly forward so your back is away from the chair. Have your ankles directly below your knees. Feet firmly on the ground.

  • Bring your left knee up to your chest and hug it.

  • Flex your left foot upward. Rotate your knee outward and bring your left ankle to rest on your right thigh.

  • When you feel tension in the thigh and hip area, gently and deeply breathe into it to release the tension (if it’s too painful, stop – don’t push it).

  • Take 3-4 Breathes.

  • Repeat with the right leg.

Sit and Stand Chair Pose to Get Your Glutes Firing

Chair Pose

The chair pose is a fantastic exercise for your thighs and glutes and fits nicely into a chair yoga routine.

How To Do The Chair Pose

  • Start seated, feet flat on the floor with ankles under your knees.

  • Extend your arms  straight in front of you, parallel to the ground.

  • Press your feet into the ground, look ahead.

  • Raise your arms overhead with palms together.

  • Engage your calves and glute muscles and slowly rise up to a three quarter standing position (as the picture above).

  • As you stand, push your tail bone backwards while stretching your fingertips forward.

  • Your torso should be tilted forward, and your knees above your toes.

  • Pause for 3-4 deep breaths.

  • Slowly and under control, using only your leg muscles, lower yourself back into your chair.

Give Your Wrists and Fingers a Break With These Stretches

Desk Yoga Finger and Wrist Stretches

These are simple exercises that are great for relieving tension and stretching the fingers, wrist, and forearms.

Wrist and Finger Stretch 1 (photo 1)

  • Stretch your left arm in front of you with palm open and facing down, fingers together.

  • Use your right hand to gently stretch the fingers upwards, feeling the stretch in your palm and forearm.

  • Hold for 3-4 breathes.

  • Repeat with the other side.

Stretch 2 (photo 2)

  • Link your fingers together and stretch your arms out in front of you.

  • Gently stretch your fingers, palms and wrists.

  • Breath deeply 3-4 times.

Stretch 3 (photo 3)

  • With your left arm at your side, bend the elbow to 90 degrees, so your elbow is at your side and your forearm and palm are facing the ceiling.

  • Take your right hand and place your thumb just below the knuckle of the pinky finger of your left hand, the other fingers of the right hand wrapped around the just below the thumb and wrist of your left hand.

  • Push the thumb of your right hand against your left hand, rotating the left wrist.

  • Feel the stretching in your wrist and hold for 3-4 breathes.

  • Repeat on the other side.

Desk Yoga Chaturanga Will Give You Strength and Energy

Desk Push Up

Also known as desk push ups. You will be standing up for this one.

This pose is great for strengthening the arms, shoulders chest and back. You will feel energized after.

Make sure you have a sturdy desk.

How to Do the Chaturanga

  • Stand facing the desk, feet slightly wider than shoulder width.

  • Place your palms on the edge of the desk around shoulder width apart.

  • Move your feet backwards so your back is diagonal to the ground and straight (not hunched or curved).

  • Inhale and and bring your chest down to the desk by bending your elbows. Keep your neck in a neutral position.

  • Exhale and straighten your arms, keeping your back straight.

  • Repeat 5-12 times.

Desk Yoga Upward Dog To Make Your Lower Back Happy 

This is a great pose to make you feel energized. It stretches your chest, lower back and is another great pose for your shoulder muscles, this was one the shoulder poses I used to heal my shoulder injury, in days.

As it stretches the spine you get a nice energy and concentration boost!

How to Do Desk Yoga Upward Dog Video

  • Stand facing the desk, feet slightly wider than shoulder width.

  • Place your palms on the edge of the desk a little wider than shoulder width (starting position).

  • Inhale and bend your arms and bring your chest towards the desk in a diving motion.

  • As your chest gets close the desk, keep moving so you end up facing upwards, with your back stretched and arms straight.

  • Exhale as you return to the start position.

  • Repeat 5 – 12 times

Desk Yoga Eagle Arms Pose

Desk Yoga Eagle Arm Pose

This pose gives you a nice stretch of the arms, shoulders and necks.

How To Do The Eagle Arm Pose

  • While sitting in your chair, make sure your knees and ankles are aligned and your back is straight and neck is straight but comfortable. Feet firmly on the ground.

  • With your arms at 90 degree angles and in front of you, cross the left arm over the right and arm so they are interlocked and palms are together.

  • Hold for 3-4 breathes.

  • Repeat on the other side.

Desk Yoga Seated Twist To Release Tension

Sated Twist you can do at your office desk

This pose gives you a great stretch of the spine and back. Any movement that stretches and twists the spine gives us an energy boost. This exercise is no exception.

How To Do The Seated Twist

  • While sitting in your chair, make sure your knees and ankles are aligned and your back is straight, and neck is straight but comfortable.

  • Inhale and twist your torso towards the right, hold the back of the chair with your right hand to gently twist further. Keep you feet and legs fixed in the same position.

  • Hold and take 3-4 deep breathes.

  • Repeat on the other side.

Desk Yoga Restorative Pose. Have a Moment To Yourself

Restorative Yoga Pose

This is a simple pose you can add to your office yoga routine, it has a calming meditative affect.

How To Do The Desk Yoga Restorative Pose

  • Move your desk chair slightly away from the desk. Lean forward and place your forearms on the desk on top of each other.

  • Inhale, bend forward and place your forehead on your forearm.

  • Breath deeply and hold for as long as you want.

Desk Yoga Shoulder Shrugs To Loosen Your Neck and Shoulders

This simple exercise will relive stress and tension around the neck and shoulders.

How To Do Desk Shoulder Shrugs

  • While sitting in your chair, make sure your knees and ankles are aligned and your back is straight, and neck is straight but comfortable.

  • With both arms down at your sides, palms open or closed, inhale and raise your shoulders towards your ears.

  • Exhale and lower them.

  • Repeat 5-12 times.

Shoulder Circles For a Lovely Gentle Stretch

Shoulder Circles for stress relief

This is another great pose for relieving tension from the shoulders and neck. It also loosens up your upper back.

How To Do Desk Yoga Shoulder Circles

  • While sitting in your chair, make sure your knees and ankles are aligned and your back is straight, and neck is straight but comfortable.

  • Bend your arms and place your finger tips on your shoulders.

  • Rotate your shoulders clockwise, bringing your shoulder blades together. Repeat 5 times.

  • Pause, then rotate them counter clockwise 5 times.

  • Breath deeply as you do the circles.

Ankle Rotation 

This is another simple exercise that will relieve stress from sitting down all day.

How To Do Ankle Rotation

  • While seated stretch out your left leg.

  • Point your foot and rotate your ankle 5 times clockwise and 5 counter clockwise.

  • Repeat with your right ankle.

Desk Yoga Neck Twist

This is a great neck tension reliever and will loosens your throat chakra so you can speak up confidently at those long meetings!

How To Do The Neck Twist

  • Sit comfortably with spine and neck straight.

  • Place your hands on your lap. Look straight ahead.

  • Rotate your neck gently to the left, so that you are looking over your left shoulder.

  • Hold for 3-4 breathes.

  • Bring your neck back to the neutral position.

  • Rotate your neck gently to the right

  • Hold for 3-4 breathes.

Seated Forward Fold

Desk Yoga Forward Fold

Like the more advanced yoga mudrasana, the forward fold is one of the classic yoga poses, it stretches the entire back and neck.

How To Do The Forward Fold

  • While sitting in your chair, make sure your knees and ankles are aligned and your back is straight, and neck is straight but comfortable. Feet flat on the floor.

  • Inhale and Lengthen your spine.

  • Fold forward using the hip hinges, exhale as you do. Keep your back straight and do not force it or curve your back.

  • Hold the position for 3-4 breathes, breathing into the stretch.

  • Inhale and come back up to the sitting position.

Also see the standing forward bend, if you want to give your hamstrings a good stretch.


We often ignore the small things believing they won’t work.

The desk yoga or chair yoga poses in this article will have an immediate affect on your well being, focus and energy. Done consistently they will have a positive affect on the rest of your life also.

Remember, doing office yoga is also beneficial even if you already practice yoga. In fact the extra repetitions can enhance it. These are gentle movements, so don’t worry about over training, many people do yoga twice a day without injury or negative affects.

The poses seem simple, but don’t let that fool you. Be consistent and enjoy your new found energy and mood.