One of the many appealing aspects of yoga is that it can be low-impact and can be done almost anywhere…even at your desk at work.
Chair yoga also helps to improve flexibility and balance training. It also helps to minimize discomfort throughout the day. If you’re looking to get in a quick stretch, ease some tension, and rid your body of stress or pain so you can stay productive, try these five yoga poses.
1. Chair Pigeon Pose
Why this works: The chair pigeon pose can bring balance back to the hips and lower spine. When you’re sitting at your desk all day and crossing your legs, those parts of your body can become imbalanced. Also, sitting for long periods of time can cause blood to pool in the legs.
To try the Chair Pigeon Pose, make sure both your feet are flat on the floor. Cross your right leg over your left leg at a 90-degree angle. Make sure your foot is flexed so there isn’t too much pressure on your knee. You should feel a stretch in the outer part of your right thigh. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, then switch sides.
2. Sit & Stand Chair Pose
Why this works: When you do this pose, leg muscles that can get weak from sitting all day become reinvigorated. When you sit at a desk, your glutes and hamstrings are constantly resting so they lose their strength to help you get back up, leaving you to rely on your upper back and even your neck.
With your feet flat on the ground and knees bent at 90 degrees, press down using your heels. Make your way to standing up without using your arms or moving your feet back towards your chair.
Once you’ve stood up completely, slowly sit back down. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
3. Seated Tadasana
Why this works: Tadasana poses, sitting and standing, help to create space in the body, allowing all of your internal organs to function better to do their job. When you’re sitting all day, you may begin to slouch which impacts digestion and circulation.
Reach your arms above your head. Try to straighten your elbows as much as you can. Spread your fingers wide, engage your abs as you sit up tall. Relax your shoulders as you lift your chin up and back a little to help aline your spine. Breathe slowly for 3-5 counts. You can also do this pose standing.
4. Seated Backbend
Why this works: Just like the Tadasana pose, the seated backbend can help improve circulation that may become slowed or restricted from sitting all day. The Seated Backbend pose can also help to increase lung capacity.
As you sit in your chair, reach your hands a few inches behind your hips. Push and lower back into your chair and reach your shoulders blades down and back toward your seat. Lift your chest up high and look up. To keep your spine aligned, keep your feet on the ground. Do this for 3-5 breaths.
5. Cat Cow Stretch
Why this works: The cat cow stretch helps to open up the chest for better breathing and also helps to maintain better posture when you’re sitting for hours a day.
With your feet flat on the floor, bring your hands to your knees. When you inhale, arch your back and look up to the ceiling. On the exhale, round the spine and drop your head forward. Repeat this sequence for 3-5 breaths.
After doing these stretches during your workday or in between long periods of being still or deskbound, you’ll begin to feel rejuvenated. These are low-impact poses and stretches so you can do them several times during the day without overdoing it.