Yoga is a type of mind-body exercise involving physical poses, breathing techniques, relaxation, and meditation. It’s a low-impact method for cultivating mindfulness, balance, and flexibility. Chair yoga, which lets you sit in a chair or stand using a chair for support, is ideal for daily movement and stress management at the office.
Chair yoga is great because you can reap the benefits of the ancient practice without a mat or intense stretches. Grab a sturdy seat and try these invigorating chair yoga moves at work anytime.
The seated Cat and Cow stretches and helps strengthen muscles along the spine. This can help relieve tension in the neck, shoulders, and back while improving posture.
Sit tall with your feet flat on the floor. Inhale while arching your back toward the back of the seat (cow pose). Exhale and release your belly to expand your lungs, tucking your chin into your chest (cat pose).
The seated Twist gently twists your torso to help relieve tension in the lower back and shoulders. It’s a post-lunch great routine to help improve digestion as well.
Sit at the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Twist yourself to the right so that you can see behind your body. Hold for a few breaths, then twist to the left. If you can, twist a little farther with each breath. If this is too strenuous, try twisting to your side.
Seated leg lifts are a more intense workout that engages core muscles. This routine can help stimulate blood flow to boost energy and counter fatigue.
Sit on the edge of your chair, placing your hands on the chair. Life your left leg straight until parallel to the floor. Hold for 2-3 seconds, then lower your leg. Repeat with your right leg.
The seated Mountain Pose helps strengthen the core and back muscles and improves posture. It enhances body awareness and is suitable for people with limited mobility.
Sit with feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Resting hands on thighs, roll shoulders back and down. Tuck the chin to align your head and spine. Keep this posture for 30 seconds, breathing slowly and deeply.
The seated Forward Fold stretches you from head to toe. This can encourage deep breathing and reduce tightness in the neck, shoulders, hips, and legs.
Sitting at the edge of your seat, stretch your legs diagonally in front of you. Your heels should touch the floor with your toes sticking upward. Inhale while lifting your hands overhead, then exhale while folding toward your legs. Let your head drop, relax your neck, and drop your shoulders away from your ears. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then slowly roll all the way up.
The Warrior Pose helps improve balance and focus. It strengthens the core, legs, and hips.
Sit sideways, extend your left leg straight behind you, and bend your right leg at a 90-degree angle. Put the right foot flat on the floor while turning your left foot slightly inward. Stretch out your arms to the sides and hold for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
The seated Forward Bend stretches the lower back and hamstrings. This can alleviate tightness from prolonged sitting.
Sit at the edge of a chair with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Inhale and sit tall, then exhale while hinging forward from your hips. Rest your chest on your thighs and your hands on the floor or ankles. Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths, then slowly resume a seated pose.
This seated version of the traditional Pigeon pose helps stretch the hips and thighs. It can ease discomfort from extended sitting sessions.
Sit on the edge of your chair and form a figure-4 shape with your right ankle on your left knee. Gently press the right knee toward the floor, keeping your spine as straight as possible. Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths, then switch legs and repeat.
The seated Side Stretch stretches the shoulders and sides of the torso. This helps improve posture and ease tightness from hunching over a computer.
Sitting with feet flat on the floor, inhale and raise your right arm overhead. Exhale while bending your torso to your left, stretching along your right side as far as possible. Look up toward your hand while holding this stretch for 5-10 breaths, then repeat with the opposite side.
Mindfulness-based meditation, which includes being present, is an important component of yoga. A 2019 study in American Family Physician suggests that it can help ease treatment-resistant depression and anxiety. Sit with your feet resting flat on the floor. Let your hands rest on your thighs. Breathe deeply for 2 minutes, feeling your body and tuning into the sounds around you.
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