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Office Chair Yoga

Man sitting with legs crossed in office chair with arms in yoga pose.

In an ever-changing world full of daily demands and personal struggles, we all try to maintain as much balance and harmony as we possibly can.  At times, this notion is difficult to achieve for individuals who are trying to balance work, family and other obligations.  In this busy world, it is important to make time for ourselves to nurture our harmony.  One of the easiest ways to achieve this is through yoga.  Yoga is a form of exercise that unites breath, mind, body and spirit.  Typically, yoga is thought to be done only on a mat or in a standing position; but that is not the case.  Although yoga has been around for thousands of years, it’s become increasingly popular and has taken on many variations.  Yoga can offer many benefits such as relieving stress, increasing productivity and strengthening our minds.  Whether you work in a confined office space or have physical limitations that keep you from doing a traditional class, seated yoga incorporates the same breathing and a gentler style of poses to help you achieve the same benefits.

Benefits of Seated Yoga:

  1. Reduced stress and improved mental clarity
  2. Improved strength
  3. Improved flexibility
  4. Pain management

Doing a seated yoga routine, like the one given here, is a great way to incorporate stretching into your day. Stretch breaks are especially important for people whose jobs require them to sit at a desk all day.  Please remember to consult a doctor before beginning any new exercise program.  When participating in yoga of any kind, it is very important to relax your mind and focus on your breathing to ensure the best results possible.  During each of these sequences, you will slowly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, allowing your body and mind to relax.  Another important part of each sequence involves tightening your abdominal muscles (pulling your belly button in towards your spine) while doing each exercise to strengthen your core muscles.  To execute each pose in the above picture, follow along with the steps outlined below:

  1. Sit up tall in your chair both feet on the floor clasp your hands together. While breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, draw your arms upward hold for a few seconds.  Relax, repeat three times.  This pose is also great to do in between or at the end of the sequence to reset the mind and body.
  2. Rotate your body first to the right grasping the back of the chair with your right hand then place your left hand on your right knee slowly going into a stretch. Repeat sequence on left side, repeat each side three times.
  3. First, bend your right leg over the left allowing your knee to relax downward you can place your hand on the right knee to extend the stretch as well. Repeat on the left side.  Repeat each side three times.  Remember to sit up straight!
  4. This pose is a bit more difficult for some. If you are unable to do the full stretch at first only go as far as you are able then as you progress you will see the improvement in your flexibility over time.  Start by putting your right arm up as though you are waving at someone, bring your left arm down.  Slowly begin moving each arm towards the middle of your back until you are grasping the fingers together, hold for 3 seconds.  Repeat this on the left side and each side three times.
  5. This triceps exercise requires having a stationary chair that does not move or has wheels that lock. Start off by placing your hands on either side of the chair face down.  Slowly begin by pushing your body upward the down keeping your arms locked the entire time.  Relax and repeat three times.