Nourish - 10 Easy and Effective Office-Friendly Yoga Poses to Give Aches and Pains the Slip
Do you ever find that when you finally stand up after sitting all day at your desk, your hips, lower back, and shoulders are screamingly tense and sore?
In this blog, we’re going to cover 10 easy and effective office-friendly yoga poses that you can introduce into your day to give those aches and pains the slip.
You don’t even need to get off your chair to do most of them!
No. 1 – Seated Crescent Moon Pose
After being hunched over a computer for hours on end, the side body tends to collapse and can contribute to neck and shoulder pain and discomfort. This seated crescent moon pose is an excellent office-friendly yoga pose to help lengthen your spine and ease out any tension.
- Remain in a seated position, with your back and shoulders straight, then lift both arms overhead and stretch your fingers wide (option to bring palms together).
- Lean gently to the right, taking 2 to 3 deep breaths and then repeat on the left side for another 2 to 3 deep breaths.
No. 2 -Wrist and Finger Stretches
Desk work can really build up some serious tension in the muscles and tendons in the fingers, hands, and wrists. With that in mind, extra blood flow to these areas is always appreciated.
Try these stretches every 2 hours or so to help release any of that unwanted tension.
a. Extend your arms to the sides or bring them up overhead and draw 5 to 10 circles one way and then the other with your wrists.
b. Alternate between spreading the fingers and closing the fists quickly, repeating this movement 5 to 10 times to shake off any excess tension.
c. Place your hands on your desk, palms facing up and fingers towards you, putting gentle pressure to counter-stretch your wrists and forearms.
You may instead want to stretch each arm out in front of you and bend the wrist gently inward then outward, counter-stretching with your other hand. Hold each side 5 to 10 breaths.
No. 3 – Chair Pose
You can do this office-friendly yoga pose from your chair or from a standing position. This pose works really well to help stretch the chest and shoulders, whilst also strengthening the legs.
- Close your eyes and take several deep breaths to help calm your mind. Either sitting straight in your chair or standing tall, on an inhale, reach your arms overhead.
- If sitting, exhale and using the strength in your legs, lift the sit bones several inches above your seat. Hover for 5 breaths and maintain the ‘seated’ posture.
- If you are standing, exhale and bend your knees, sliding your sit bones back. Make sure you can see your toes over your knees and your shins are straight.
- Again take 5 breaths and maintain your seated posture before releasing.
No. 4 – Seated Cat-Cow
This office-friendly yoga pose is great for bringing more flexibility into the spine and working out the kinks and soreness of sitting all day. It’s really one of my absolute favourites.
- Sitting in your chair, place your hands on your knees and simply roll your shoulders back and down on your inhale, gently pushing your chest out a little.
- Then on an exhale round your spine and suck your belly button in towards your spine, dropping your neck down gently.
- Repeat this movement several times smoothly and in your own time using your breath as a guide.
No. 5 – Seated Spinal Twist
This office-friendly yoga pose is great for helping with any aches and pains in the back. Especially helpful after hunching over a desk or sitting for long periods of time. It’s also great for your digestive organs too.
- Sit in your chair with your spine tall.
- Take an inhale and on the exhale, twist to one side from the bottom of your spine. (Try twisting more from your abdomen and less from your back).
- Take a hold of your armrest and breathe for several breaths, then do the other side. Don’t strain yourself, but simply breathe into the stretch.
No. 6 – Modified Prayer Twist On A Chair
- Similar to the above twist but with a little more twisting, using your inhale, sit up tall with a nice straight spine at the front edge of your chair. Your feet are hip-width apart on the floor.
- On your exhale, twist to the right and place your left elbow outside of your right knee and place your hands together at your chest.
- Hold for five breaths, and then inhale back to the centre. Repeat to your left side.
It feels really good!
No. 7 – Standing Forward Bend
As far as office-friendly yoga poses go, this one is probably the easiest. You don’t even need a chair for it.
- In a standing position place your feet shoulder-width apart (or wider if that’s easier).
- Take a nice big inhale, and raise your arms above your head.
- Then slowly bend forwards from the waist on a long exhale and let your head and neck relax.
- If your hamstrings are tight then feel free to bend into your knees as much as you need.
You want to suck in your belly so your tail bone reaches up high and you get a nice stretch in your lower back.
- Don’t force your hands to touch the floor, just let them rest comfortably wherever they reach naturally. This could be your thighs or shins and remain here for several breaths.
- To come up, breathe in and slowly raise vertebra by vertebra up to a standing position.
- You can do this from your desk chair if you wish by bringing your hands above your head and bending over your knees to touch the ground. Personally, I prefer the nice stretch I get from standing.
No. 8 – Gentle Standing Back-bend
It’s nice to combine this backbend after the seated cat-cow and with the forward fold mentioned above for some real spinal lovin’.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart and either raise your hands above your head.
- Hook your thumbs together and gently reach back for a slight backbend.
- Or, place your palms at the top of your bum with your fingers pointing downward and gently slide your hands down.
Save the crazy wheel poses for when you’re at your 6pm vinyasa flow class – we don’t want any backs to be put out!
No. 9 – Desk Shoulder Opener
Here’s a tip to help counteract the hunching that inevitably happens when sitting at a desk.
- Scoot your chair out and stand a few feet from your desk so that when you bend forward, just your hands can touch the edge of it.
- Take a nice deep breath and bend forward from your waist, dropping your head in between your arms and hold for several good breaths.
- Ensure the rest of your torso remains in line and your legs are uncrossed. This will help to achieve a good shoulder stretch, whilst also getting your shoulders back into proper alignment.
- You can also do this pose using a wall, standing a few feet from it and placing your hands flat onto it, bending forward until your spine is like a tabletop.
No. 10 – Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose
This forward bend variation will help to open up tight shoulders and hamstrings.
- Stand with three to four feet between your feet and turn your toes in slightly.
- On an inhale, interlace the fingers in a fist behind the back, pulling the shoulders away from the ears and engage the abs.
- On an exhale, fold at your hips and keep the legs and spine straight.
- Hold for five deep breaths, trying to lower the hands gradually towards the floor. Don’t worry if you can’t, just go as far as it feels comfortable for you. If there’s any pain or discomfort, raise yourself up slightly.
- Alternatively, you can raise your hands above your head and fold forward touching the floor with your hands in a wide-legged forward fold.
- To get out, raise yourself up slowly from the waist.
And that’s a wrap
Although these poses certainly do not provide the full-body stretch and mind-calming benefits of a yoga class or time out on your mat, they have their place. These 10 easy and effective office-friendly yoga poses should at least help you get through your day in the office and leave you a little more flexible and without feeling tensed up like a ball!
If you really are struggling with a lot of tension and pain, I highly recommend giving your local yoga studios a go. Go during your lunch break or after work to work out the kinks and find your flow.
With a qualified teacher, you’ll be able to get the right advice for what postures will work for you.
If you’re looking for more blog posts about yoga, have a read over these:
Emily is a certified 200hr Yoga Teacher who is qualified to teach mindfulness and meditation techniques
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