9 Essential Yoga Poses for Desk Workers

9 Essential Yoga Poses for Desk Workers

Our bodies are meant to move. Unfortunately, the average person today is sitting more than 8 hours per day. It is estimated that over 80% of jobs today are desk jobs, requiring workers to sit for long stretches of time. This is a major contributor to the rise in obesity, chronic pain and other health conditions that plague us as a society. We simply sit too much and it’s terrible for your body. It destroys your posture, can lead to low back pain and increases your risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Here’s where yoga comes in to save the day! You can reverse the impact of what sitting does to your body (and your vibe) by sprinkling a quick yoga sequence or two into your workday.    The beauty of yoga is that you can do it virtually anywhere.   All you need is a 6 ft. x 2 ft. space and the desire to move.

Now when striking a pose or moving through a sequence at your office, in an airport, or waiting in line at the grocery store, you may get a few discerning looks, and often times it can feel like judgment.   But, what if those people are actually more curious than judgey? And what if they all went home, tinkered on YouTube for a bit and started trying yoga poses?   What if, by you being the weirdo doing Standing Half Moon at your desk mid-morning, or while waiting in line at the DMV, you just opened the door to someone’s yoga journey?!

So give these 8 Poses for Desk Workers a try… at your desk or anywhere!   If not for you, do it for Steve (3 cubicles down on the right).

1. Forearm Stretch

Stand with your feet at hip width. Extend your right arm forward with your palm facing up. Use your left hand to pull back your fingers on your right hand. Hold for 20 seconds then repeat with the other hand.

Wide-Armed Standing Back Bend

Place your feet at your hip width with all ten toes facing forward. Engage your leg muscles. Guide your tailbone down. Hug your low belly in. Reach your arms out wide with a 90-degree bend in your elbows. Lift your chest up and gaze up at the ceiling. Hold for 5 breaths.

Standing Half Moon

Bring your inner feet together. Reach your arms up overhead, clasp your hands into one another, cross your thumbs then extend your index fingers out. Slowly arc your torso to the right. Gently pull with your right and on your left until you feel a stretch along your left side body. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat to the other side.

Standing Forward Bend with Clasped Hands

Guide your feet back to hip width. Clasp your hands behind your low back. If this isn’t accessible, use a belt or a shirt or something to hold at either end. Bend your knees and fold your torso forward onto your legs. Your low belly should stay connected to your upper thighs. Lift your bound hands up toward the ceiling or overhead until you feel a stretch.

Warrior One with an Elbow Grab

With feet at hip width, step your left foot back and turn your left toes out to a 45-degree angle. Lunge into your right knee. Guide your tailbone down. Engage your core muscles. Extend your arms high. Bend your left elbow and place your right hand on top. Arc gently to the right until you feel a stretch. For more sensation, lunge deeper into your right knee and draw your torso back further. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat with the left leg in front.

Modified Revolved Crescent Lunge

From a low lunge position with your right leg in front, lower your left knee to the ground. Lift your torso. Press your palms into one another and place your left elbow on your right outer knee. Push into your left elbow to twist your torso gently to the right, moving your thumbs in alignment with the center of your chest. Gaze over your right shoulder. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Horse Pose

Step your feet out wide, beyond hip width. Turn your toes outward. Sink down into a squat. Press your palms into one another in front of your chest. Hold for 5 breaths.


Modified Eagle Pose + Torso Curl

Cross your right leg over your left. Sit your hips back and down like you are sitting in a chair. Draw your right arm under your left and grab for opposite shoulders. Hug your inner thighs and low belly in. Curl your torso down until your elbows touch your legs. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat with the left leg on top and left arm under.

9. Figure Four with Bind Option

Cross your right ankle over your left leg above the knee. Sit back and down into your left hip. Keep your right foot flexed. Hold where you feel sensation for 5 breaths. Optional: Clasp your hands behind your low back and relax the tops of your shoulders. Repeat on the other leg.

Please share this article with any desk-bound co-workers, friends or family members. Let’s fight the war on sitting with yoga!