How to Yoga When You’re Not in Class: Yoga at Your Desk

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.

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About Maggie Umberger

Maggie moved to Chicago from North Carolina in 2014 with a degree in Journalism and Spanish, a 200-hour yoga certification, a group fitness cert and a passion to teach and to sweat. It wasn't until she found aSweatLife that she really started to feel at home. Here, she's incorporated her passion for health and wellness into her career as she helps to build the network of Ambassadors, trainers and fitness enthusiasts that exist within the aSweatLife ecosystem. You can also find her coaching at CrossTown Fitness and teaching yoga classes at Bare Feet Power Yoga, Yoga Six and exhale.