10-Minute Office Yoga at Your Desk
Some short office yoga at your desk to break up your workday can improve your health and mood and may even spill over into positive lifestyle changes at home.
Back in the day, before email, texting, remote work, and other modern-day conveniences, people were often a lot more active on the job.
If you had to ask a co-worker a question, you walked across the office and talked face-to-face. Even that is discouraged in most offices between advanced phone systems and email.
This convenience has come at a significant price.
Our sedentary behavior puts us at a greater risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
A simple 10-minute session of yoga modified for the office can do wonders for your health and productivity. It can also relieve your work stress, so you don’t take it home with you.
What Are the Benefits of Office Yoga?
It’s no secret that working women experience a lot of stress in the workplace which has led to greater levels of anxiety and depression. One study found that women who practiced yoga regularly lowered their stress levels and blood pressure (1).
But yoga offers more health benefits. A study by Bangor University in the UK found that participants who enrolled in an 8-week yoga course not only reduced their stress but also helped relieve back pain (2).
Don’t worry if it’s been a while since you’ve followed a regular exercise program. You may find that doing office yoga can help get you into the workout habit.
Researchers from Pace University and the University of Pittsburgh found that yoga acted as an effective bridge for increasing physical activity in sedentary adults (4).
You may find that it can do the same for you. Let’s dive in with a 10-minute mini workout that you can do in the office.
1. Seated Cat-Cow Pose
Minute 3: The cat-cow pose is a deceptively easy, but powerful yoga posture or asana. For the office version, you can stay seated, placing your hands on your thighs.
Inhale as you arch your back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Then, exhale and bring your chin to your chest like a cat stretching with its back in the air.
Slowly move back and forth between the two minutes for one minute, letting your breath guide your movement into each position. Your goal is to follow a gentle rhythm that is aligned with your breathing.
2. Seated Spinal Twist
Minute 4: Next, let’s work your side muscles with the seated twist. Inhale and exhale as you twist your body to the right side grasping on the back of your chair to keep you stable.
Hold for 15 seconds. Then, repeat going to the left side.
For another variation of this pose, you can place your arm behind your back to ease into the twist. Place your right arm along the back of your chair as you twist to the right.
Hold for 15 seconds. Then, repeat on the left side.
3. Neck Stretches
Minute 1: You’ll feel a lot of this tension build up in your neck—especially if your computer is positioned so that you’re looking down instead of across. To relieve tension, till your head first down to your chest using your hand to gently increase the stress by easing it forward.
Hold the pose for 10 seconds. Then, tilt your head to the right again increasing the stretch by placing your left hand on your head.
Hold the pose for 10 seconds and repeat going to the left side. Again, hold for 10 seconds.
Then, rotate your head to the right and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with the left side.
Next, extend your head backward to release tension in the front of your body for 10 seconds. This series of stretches targets different muscles in your neck with simple changes in direction.
4. Mountain Pose
Minute 6: The goal of our office yoga session is also to get you active and break that cycle of inactivity. You’ll begin your standing session with a traditional asana called mountain pose.
Stand tall with your arms at your sides, palms facing forward. Keep your thigh muscles tight while keeping your belly soft as you hold this position for 60 seconds keeping your breathing slow and steady.
5. Modified Downward Dog Pose
Minute 7: This pose is one of the quintessential yoga poses that target several areas in your body. It stretches your shoulders, hamstrings, and calves.
You can still enjoy the benefits of this move at your desk even if you can’t get your heels all the way down to the floor. Stand a short distance from your desk as you raise your arms over your head and bend forward to touch your desk or chair to deepen the pose for a modified version of
Stand a short distance from your desk as you raise your arms over your head and bend forward to touch your desk or chair to deepen the pose for a modified version of downward dog.
Hold for 60 seconds.
6. Shoulder Stretches
Minute 2: These series of stretches target the muscles in your shoulders and upper back with gentle stretches.
They will also help to open up the chest as well.
You’ll find that the act of tensing your muscles and then releasing them provides a welcome sensation that relieves stress.
7. Seated Figure 4 Stretch
Minute 5: Now, let’s move on to your hips with a pose that will help relieve back pain. We have to admit that this pose is one of our favorites.
Sit tall and place your right ankle over your left knee as you gently push down on your right knee. Hold for 30 seconds, varying the pressure you place on your knee.
Repeat on the other side with your left ankle over your right knee, holding the pose for 30 seconds to fully experience the stretch.
See the move here.
8. Chair Pose
Minute 8 (30 seconds): This pose will work your lower body and spine. It seems simple, but it will certainly challenge you.
For extra support, you may want to do this move next to a wall until you build strength. You’ll begin in mountain pose.
Then, lower your body until your thighs are parallel or as near as they can be to the floor. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and rise slowly to a standing position.
9. Wall Sit
Minute 9: To complete our yoga session, let’s move on to a pose that will challenge your lower body with wall sit. Stand with your back against the wall as you slowly slide down into a sitting position with your thighs parallel to the floor.
Hold the position for 60 seconds, but don’t be surprised if you can only stay in this pose for a short time. If you find it difficult, begin with 30 seconds and work your way up to a full minute.
It is an excellent way to strengthen your thighs. Stand up slowly and return to your desk.
10. Seated Relaxation Pose
Minute 10: Yoga offers an excellent way to relax which we’ll use to end our session. Sit down with your spine nice and straight in your chair.
Place your hands on your thighs and close your eyes. Take a few deep inhales and exhales, holding each breath briefly.
Focus on your breath and not the work that is waiting for you. When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes, taking a few moments to review your practice before returning to the job.
If you have time, this is the perfect opportunity for a short meditation.
If you’re finding it hard to keep up with your yoga at the office and would like a routine to do in your own home, check out our Yoga Fat Loss Bible.
It comes with everything you need to get started, including a 50-fat burning yoga poses with photos and instructions, 6-week workout plan, meditation guide, flexibility guide, and more!
We hope you enjoyed our 10-minute office yoga at your desk. Do it every work day to bring some much-needed relaxation and stress relief to your day.
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