Yoga for Stress Release: 5 Chair Yoga Moves You Can Do at Your Desk

by Cris Puscas

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Guess what I’m doing while writing this article? Sitting at my desk, of course! And while I’ve tried to combine my treadmill with my desk for a DIY standing desk, that didn’t work well for me. 

Now imagine this: you’ve been sitting at your desk for hours and you finally acknowledge that annoying back pain that’s been bothering you. Oh, and the neck is stiff too. Throw in a muscle cramp for some bonus. Yes, that’s how people who have desk jobs live (and freelancers have just as exhausting work days). It’s you, the computer, and phone all day long.

We already know how bad sitting all day is for us but do you know that taking just a few minutes a day to do some simple yoga poses can do your body a lot of service? Easier said than done. Most people are sedentary and, for them, it’s hard to include exercise in the daily routine.

So, how about some yoga for stress release during a break? The following routine is easy and all you need is a chair (if yours has wheels, just set them in the locked position).

Sun Salutations

Yes, you can even do a modified version of the Sun Salutation while sitting.

These poses are meant to strengthen your spine and core.

chair yoga pose sun salutation version

yoga chair pose you can do at work

core strength yoga chair pose you can do at work

  • Sit with your feet on the ground and back straight

  • Inhale and reach your arms above your head

  • Press your palms together

  • Exhale as you drop your arms and twist to your left

  • Bring your right arm on your left knee and left arm on the back of the chair

  • Inhale and repeat on the right side

  • Continue the flow for 8-10 repetitions

Eagle Arms

This pose helps to open your upper back, shoulders, elbows, and wrists.

eagle arms yoga pose on the chair

  • Sit with your feet hip-width apart, firmly on the floor

  • Keep your back straight

  • Take your arms out at shoulder height

  • Wrap your left arm under your right arm as high as you can

  • Double cross your forearms and press the palms together

  • If you cannot touch your palms, do a modified version: press the back of your hands instead

  • Lift your elbows towards the ceiling, relaxing your shoulders

  • Hold for 5-8 breathes

  • Repeat with the opposite arm crossing under.

Downward facing dog

This pose is perfect to engage your lower body. It opens your back, shoulders, necks, head, and legs.

downward facing dog pose with chair

  • Face the back of your chair

  • Place the hands on the back of the chair, shoulder-length apart

  • Walk your feet back until your chest is parallel to the floor

  • Engage your abs and lift your ribs

  • Lift your hips up and away from the shoulders

  • Bend your knees to pull back more, then straighten them again

  • Hold for 8-10 breaths.

Goddess Squat

This squat is great to work your lower body. It opens your hips as well as strengthens your buttocks and legs.

goddess squat yoga pose on chair

  • Start at the edge of the chair, with your hips in the middle

  • Open your legs to the sides

  • Press your palms together

  • Hold for 10 breaths

  • To make the move harder, try lifting yourself from the chair a few inches and holding the pose like that.

Scale Pose

This pose is great for your abs. It works your core which helps with a better posture and spine health.

yoga scale pose on a chair feet in the air

  • Sit at the edge of the chair

  • Place your arms on either side of your hips

  • Engage your core and lift the hips so that the feet hover above the ground

  • Release

  • Repeat 3-5 times.


Want to learn more exercises to strengthen your muscles? Why not try a yoga and pilates retreat, which help you get a leaner body? Book now and you’ll get toned in a beautiful and mind-soothing place.

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