Try my ten simple office yoga moves that you can do subtly at your desk to relieve stress, ease muscular tension and re-energise in a moment.
It's easy at this time of year to feel tense, particularly when there's so much to do in so little time. These very simple moves will give your body a reset, bringing life back to your joints and encouraging deep breathing to release tension and refocus your mind...without attracting too much attention in the office! Don't underestimate the impact that a little desk yoga can make to your wellbeing.
1. Chair Mountain Pose
In the same way as traditional Mountain Pose, use this strong pose to connect to your breath.
Placing hands on knees and feet flat on the floor hip distance apart, roll the shoulders backwards three times to slide your shoulder blades down your back and away from your ears.
Sitting up tall, feel your sit bones anchoring you into the chair as you elongate your spine, as if someone is pulling a thread upwards from the crown of your head.
Long hours of computer work can encourage us to protract our necks forward, so draw your neck back inline with your spine, keeping the chin level.
Knit your ribcage downwards and together by engaging the abdomen to avoid flaring the ribs.
Breathing from the abdomen, take five long deep breaths, in and out through the nose.
2. Chair Neck Rolls
On an inhale, drop your left ear towards your left shoulder.
Exhale, gently roll your head forwards so your chin falls towards your chest.
Inhale, roll your right ear towards your right shoulder.
Exhale, roll your head forwards.
Take your time with these movements, moving gently and smoothly with the breath and within your range of motion.
3. Shoulder Circles
Sitting up tall, rest your hands lightly on your shoulders.
Gently moving with the breath, slowly circle your elbows forward, drawing large circles in the air with your elbows. Repeat three times before repeating in the opposite direction.
4. Chair Cat Cow Pose
Sit up tall in the chair with feet flat on the floor and hands on knees.
Inhale, lift the chest and the chin, slide shoulder blades down your back and draw them together, arching through the spine.
Exhale, drop the head and draw naval to spine, rounding through the back of the body and drawing shoulders forward.
Repeat three times.
5. Chair Cobra
Come to sit at the edge of your chair with feet flat on the floor.
Take hold of the seat towards the back.
Inhale. Extending through the arms, squeeze the shoulder blades together, drawing them down your back. Lift from the chest and lift the gaze, avoiding crunching through the back of the neck.
Hold the pose for 3-5 breaths, breathing deeply through the nose.
6. Chair Backbend with Eagle Arms
Sit comfortably in the chair with feet flat beneath you.
Take your arms out to the sides and bring your right arm underneath your left, crossing at the elbows and bringing palm to palm (eagle arms).
Inhale, lean back in the chair and lift your arms up, feeling the stretch across your shoulders.
Exhale, round through the back of the body, bringing elbows down towards the abdomen.
Repeat three times, before crossing the left arm under the right and repeating on the opposite side.
7. Chair Seated Twists
Sitting up tall in the chair with feet flat on the floor, take your right hand to the outside of your left knee. Place your left hand behind you at the back of the seat of your chair.
Inhale, reach up tall through the crown of the the head.
Use the exhale to twist to the left hand side, keeping your neck in line with the spine.
Use the inhale to grow taller, and the exhale to twist a little deeper.
Inhale, see if you can find more length in the spine, exhale twist.
Exhale to unwind your spine from the belly button up.
Repeat on the other side.
8. Chair Upward Hand Stretch
Sitting tall in the chair, extend your arms in front of you and interlace your fingers, palms facing your torso.
On an inhale, lift both arms above your head, keeping elbows soft.
Drop your shoulders down and away from your ears, sliding shoulder blades down your back and keeping your chin level.
Take five deep breaths before releasing the pose.
9. Seated Side Stretches
Ground down through the sit bones, feet flat on the floor.
Place your left hand on the chair beside you and inhale your right arm out to the side and up and overhead.
Exhale, bend at your left elbow and lean into your left arm, bringing your right arm overhead, feeling a stretch and extension in the right side of the body
Take three deep breaths, breathing into the right side of the ribcage and focussing on expanding the right side of the body.
With each inhale, reach up and find more length in the right side of the body.
With each exhale, reach a little further with the right hand.
Throughout, ensure both shoulders are down and away from your ears.
Exhale to release the pose and repeat on the other side.
10. Chair Pigeon Pose
Sitting up tall in the chair, inhale and cross the right ankle over the left thighbone.
Flex the right ankle to protect the knee.
Without forcing, gently press the right knee towards the floor, aiming to keep both hips level and feeling a gentle stretch in the right hip.
Breathing deeply, hold the stretch for 5 breaths. If this feels comfortable, explore lengthening through the spine and gently hinging forwards from the hips to intensify the hip stretch.
Exhale to release the pose, bringing your right foot to the floor.
Repeat on the other side.
By releasing and relaxing your neck, shoulders, back, chest and hips, you allow your body the chance to reset and realign. You should experience less stiffness and discomfort, and a clearer, more focussed mind.