5 Energizing Yoga Poses to Do at Your Work Desk

As humans, we’re meant to move. However, societal norms including long business hours, increased amounts of remote work, and the advancement of technology have left so many of us stuck at our work desks and tied to our screens—perhaps more than ever before.

5 minutes

This type of immobility, habit to stay seated, and absorption of blue light can leave us feeling fatigued, drained, and stiff.     Fortunately, yoga can always help.

Here are 5 simple yoga poses you can do at your work desk to wake up your body, smooth out your nervous system, and create some mental space.

Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)

Why it’s great for your work desk:  

Being in a seated position for a long period of time can lead to tightness in the hips, lower back, and legs, and block the flow of circulation and energy. By opening up the hips, you’re making space in some of these natural “energy highways,” and can release tension in the lower and upper body. Plus, it’s common for many of us to hold our emotions and stress in our hips! By bringing the feet together and letting the knees fall open, you can effectively release this tension and make space in the heart and mind, too.

How to do it:

-You can stay seated in your chair if it’s wide enough or move to the floor.

-Bring your feet together and let your knees fall open.

If you need some extra support, placing blankets, books, or even your briefcase under the knees can help.

Seated Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Why it’s great for your work desk:

When sitting at a desk, it’s common for our shoulders to roll forward, our necks to hinge downward, and our general posture to fold inward. By aligning the spine and engaging the core, we can effectively “fire up” our power center, inviting in physical benefits like strength, better posture, and the release of tension in the neck and spine, as well as mental and emotional benefits like confidence and clarity.

How to do it:  

– Place both feet on the floor, leveling out your sit bones and hips in your chair.

– Send your shoulders back and down while engaging your core and lengthening through the spine.

– Let your gaze come straight forward and your chin float parallel to the floor.

If you would like to spark more energy and get a deeper stretch, you can raise both arms above your head while keeping your shoulders down and away from your ears. Remember to breathe!

Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

Why it’s great for your work desk:  

Too much static energy will leave you feeling tired, restless, and tight. By standing up and engaging some major muscle groups like your quadriceps and core, you can spark energy, boost circulation, and build strength. This is also a great way to shake off mind fog and harness mental focus.

How to do it:

– Step beside or behind your chair and bring your feet together or about hips-width distance apart.

– Engage your core and send your hips back, just like you would if you were going to sit into your chair.

– Place your hands together in front of your chest, out in front of you, or above your head beside your ears.

If you could use some extra balance support, place your hands on your desk or the back of your chair for stability.

Standing Twist (Vakrasana)

Why it’s great for your work desk:

This pose combines all the benefits of a twist with the payoffs of a heart opener! Twists act as natural detoxifiers for the body, which means they can help you digest and process that morning coffee, work lunch, or business meeting snack. They can also effectively “unstick” what might be stuck in your energy meridians, major organs, and even shake loose nagging emotions or thoughts floating around your work environment.

How to do it:  

– Sit or stand in an upright position with a neutral spine.

– Begin by reaching your left arm behind you as you twist your upper body toward the left. Try deepening the stretch by placing one hand across your body toward your chair or desk.

– Gently “Pull” yourself in that direction, twisting from the waist and keeping your hips in a neutral position. Repeat on the right side.

Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)

Why it’s great for your desk:

Talk about moving your body! This pose calls on your whole body and works your balance, strength, flexibility, and focus. It is a perfect way to get out of your head (or inbox) and ground back into the Self. Balance also requires focus, which means your brain will have to take a break from all of those emails!

How to do it:  

– Stand up and find your balance, placing your feet side by side.

– Begin by bringing one foot into the same-side hand behind you, bending at the knee.

– Slowly begin to kick into that palm, lifting your knee and leg straight back. It’s ok if it doesn’t go that high, or even lift at all!

For extra support, place your other hand on your desk or chair for balance. Another option is to place the top of your foot on your chair behind you and to bring both hands onto your desk.

And, if none of these poses feel good or accessible for you today, you can always simply breathe. Try taking three deep breaths, inhaling for 1… 2… 3… 4…. exhaling 1… 2… 3… 4…

Have a good work day!