How to Yoga When You’re Not in Class: Yoga at Your Desk
  • September 7, 2016
  • Tight hips, tech neck and hunched shoulders are just some of the effects of your desk on your body. But your yoga practice can offer some sweet relief from these aches and pains.

    These simple poses are easy to incorporate into your day at the office when you’ve been slumped over from typing or are antsy from sitting on your bum for hours.

    Bring movement into your neck

    It’s hard to stay upright for more than eight hours a day, so we often compromise our posture while sitting at the desk. Taking a few minutes every hour while in front of your computer to move your spine in connection with your breath will not only bring some relief to your back and shoulders, it will remind you what good posture should feel like and will keep you more attuned to it during the workday.

    yoga at your desk

    This stretch for the thoracic spine and shoulders is a great way to relieve tension in your neck. Move back and forth between opening your shoulders out wide, lifting your chest and gaze and rounding over – maintaining core engagement to isolate the stretch in the upper back and shoulders. Check our Instagram for a video that shows this movement, as well as the other upper body stretches to follow.

    yoga at your desk

    With the same hand placement behind your head, keep your hips steady, lift your rib cage up and lean to the right and the left. This will open up your side body and continue to stretch shoulders. Keep your elbows out wide. Be sure to exhale as your stretch to the side and inhale back to center. The deeper your breath, the deeper the stretch.

    Eagle Arms for shoulders and back

    yoga at your desk

    yoga at your desk

    An eagle arm stretch is a deeper variation of a thoracic spine and shoulder stretch. Move through an upright position with elbows in line with shoulder and take a gentle bend forward,  and extend  your fingertips forward. Take about 30 seconds with the right arm wrapped under left, then switch arms.

    Figure four for hips and IT bands

    yoga at your desk

    The figure four pose opens up the outer hip of the leg that’s crossed on top. Keep your lifted foot flexed to protect your knees and hinge forward, maintaining length in your low back. Remember to keep your abs engaged to maintain that length and protect your low back.

    Take five minutes a few times during the day to practice these poses, get back to your breath and reset. Peppering in small stretches and devoting a little bit of time to check in with your body throughout your day is an excellent way to deepen your practice when you’re not at the studio.

    About Maggie Umberger

    Maggie moved to Chicago in 2014 from North Carolina, a proud Tar Heel at heart. She began her career in advertising but was equally passionate about her fitness endeavors, and ended up spending as much time instructing yoga and other types of fitness as much as in her advertising job. Now she works full-time with aSweatLife to continue to grow our community of amazing fellow fitness junkies in Chicago. And when she’s not running around with Jeana making #Sweatworking happen or instructing corporate and private yoga classes, you can find her leading bootcamp classes at ENRGi Fitness and vinyasa classes at Bare Feet Power Yoga and Yoga Six.