DESK YOGA SERIES

Sweet reminders for advanced yogis, accessibility to yoga for beginners.

You can use these poses individually or combine them together into a sequence. 

Enjoy!

 HEAD TO KNEE POSE  Try this pose if you have stiffness or a backache in your back region. Benefits include flexibility of the spine by stretching back muscles & ligaments, eases tension and stiffness in the back, nourishes facial muscles & brain cells from increased blood flow to the head, and massages the stomach aiding in indigestion or bloating discomfort.  1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up nice and tall with shoulders relaxed.  2. Inhale and extend arms up towards the ceiling. Feel each side body lengthen and stretch upward.  3. Exhale and slowly fold forward bringing your head towards your knees. Allow your arms to release next to you hanging towards the floor. With each exhale feel your relaxing more into the position.  4. Hold this pose for 10-15 seconds and repeat 2-3 times a day. Only fold as far as it is comfortable and if you feel any sharp shooting pain, slowly roll up and release out of the pose.   5. To exit the pose, inhale and slowly roll the spine back up to an upright seated position. Leave your arms relaxed by your side. 

HEAD TO KNEE POSE

Try this pose if you have stiffness or a backache in your back region. Benefits include flexibility of the spine by stretching back muscles & ligaments, eases tension and stiffness in the back, nourishes facial muscles & brain cells from increased blood flow to the head, and massages the stomach aiding in indigestion or bloating discomfort.

1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up nice and tall with shoulders relaxed.

2. Inhale and extend arms up towards the ceiling. Feel each side body lengthen and stretch upward.

3. Exhale and slowly fold forward bringing your head towards your knees. Allow your arms to release next to you hanging towards the floor. With each exhale feel your relaxing more into the position.

4. Hold this pose for 10-15 seconds and repeat 2-3 times a day. Only fold as far as it is comfortable and if you feel any sharp shooting pain, slowly roll up and release out of the pose. 

5. To exit the pose, inhale and slowly roll the spine back up to an upright seated position. Leave your arms relaxed by your side. 

 SEATED BACKWARDS BEND  Try this pose if you have stiffness in your back and tension in your shoulders. Benefits include increased mobility in the back and shoulders, and relieves shoulder and back tension.  1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed.  2. Place both hands on the chair underneath or slightly behind your shoulders with elbows slightly bent. Inhale here.  3. Exhale and press your hands into the chair and gently bend your torso backwards. Keep your head in line with your back with your gaze looking up towards the ceiling.   4. Hold this pose for a few seconds breathing normally, then on your next inhale slowly return to your starting seated position and repeat on the second side.   **Tip: Be careful not to drop your head back too far as it can constrict your breathing and cause strain on your neck. Only tilt your head back as far as it feels comfortable on your neck**

SEATED BACKWARDS BEND

Try this pose if you have stiffness in your back and tension in your shoulders. Benefits include increased mobility in the back and shoulders, and relieves shoulder and back tension.

1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed.

2. Place both hands on the chair underneath or slightly behind your shoulders with elbows slightly bent. Inhale here.

3. Exhale and press your hands into the chair and gently bend your torso backwards. Keep your head in line with your back with your gaze looking up towards the ceiling. 

4. Hold this pose for a few seconds breathing normally, then on your next inhale slowly return to your starting seated position and repeat on the second side. 

**Tip: Be careful not to drop your head back too far as it can constrict your breathing and cause strain on your neck. Only tilt your head back as far as it feels comfortable on your neck**

 SEATED SPINAL TWIST  Try this pose if you have stiffness of your spine or back muscles. Benefits include tension relief in the back, stimulates your kidneys, spleen and liver, and massages the stomach easing digestive problems.  1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed.  2. Inhale and extend arms up towards the ceiling. Feel each side body lengthen and stretch upward.  3. Exhale and twist to the left placing your left hand at the back of the chair and your right hand pressing on the outside of your left thigh. To increase the twist take your gaze over your left shoulder.   4. Hold the pose for 5 seconds breathing normally. Keep your buttocks firmly planted on the chair.   5. Inhale and release back to center and repeat on the opposite side. You can flow back and forth if that feels good for you. You can do this several times throughout the day.

SEATED SPINAL TWIST

Try this pose if you have stiffness of your spine or back muscles. Benefits include tension relief in the back, stimulates your kidneys, spleen and liver, and massages the stomach easing digestive problems.

1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed.

2. Inhale and extend arms up towards the ceiling. Feel each side body lengthen and stretch upward.

3. Exhale and twist to the left placing your left hand at the back of the chair and your right hand pressing on the outside of your left thigh. To increase the twist take your gaze over your left shoulder. 

4. Hold the pose for 5 seconds breathing normally. Keep your buttocks firmly planted on the chair. 

5. Inhale and release back to center and repeat on the opposite side. You can flow back and forth if that feels good for you. You can do this several times throughout the day.

 SEATED LEG BEND  Try this pose if you experience stiffness in your muscles and joints in your legs. This pose stretches the hamstring and helps keep the knees joints limber. Also aids in easing indigestion.  1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed. Clasp your hands together behind you at the base of your spine.   2. Clasp your hands around your left knee and lift your knee up towards your chest. As the leg presses against your stomach begin to feel your stomach muscles engage. Keep your foot relaxed.  3. Take the clasp of your hands to behind your thigh and begin to stretch your leg out. Straighten your leg as far as you can to feel the stretch along the back of your leg. Keep your core engaged to help keep your back straight.  4. Release and repeat with the your right leg. 

SEATED LEG BEND

Try this pose if you experience stiffness in your muscles and joints in your legs. This pose stretches the hamstring and helps keep the knees joints limber. Also aids in easing indigestion.

1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed. Clasp your hands together behind you at the base of your spine. 

2. Clasp your hands around your left knee and lift your knee up towards your chest. As the leg presses against your stomach begin to feel your stomach muscles engage. Keep your foot relaxed.

3. Take the clasp of your hands to behind your thigh and begin to stretch your leg out. Straighten your leg as far as you can to feel the stretch along the back of your leg. Keep your core engaged to help keep your back straight.

4. Release and repeat with the your right leg. 

 SEATED CHEST OPENER  Try this pose if you have tension in your shoulders and upper back or experience breathing problems. This pose releases tension and opens the chest. It also provides a forward bend to help stretch the spine and back muscles.   1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed. Clasp your hands together behind you at the base of your spine.   2. Exhale and begin to fold forward allowing your head to move closer to your knees. If it feels appropriate begin to raise your clasped hands up towards the ceiling. Keep your arms straight with a slight micro bend in your elbows.  3. Bend only as far as it feels comfortable for you. Hold the pose for up to 5 seconds and breath normally.   4. Inhale and slowly roll up the spine coming back to your starting position. Repeat one to two times more.  5. As a counter pose you can do a simple seated backwards bend (see seated backbend above).

SEATED CHEST OPENER

Try this pose if you have tension in your shoulders and upper back or experience breathing problems. This pose releases tension and opens the chest. It also provides a forward bend to help stretch the spine and back muscles. 

1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed. Clasp your hands together behind you at the base of your spine. 

2. Exhale and begin to fold forward allowing your head to move closer to your knees. If it feels appropriate begin to raise your clasped hands up towards the ceiling. Keep your arms straight with a slight micro bend in your elbows.

3. Bend only as far as it feels comfortable for you. Hold the pose for up to 5 seconds and breath normally. 

4. Inhale and slowly roll up the spine coming back to your starting position. Repeat one to two times more.

5. As a counter pose you can do a simple seated backwards bend (see seated backbend above).

 EYE EXERCISE  Try this eye exercise if you've been staring at a screen for an extended period of time or if your eyes feel tired.  1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed.  2. Begin by rubbing your hands together until you feel heat build up.  3. Place hands gently over your eyes. Your nose should not be covered. Make sure your fingers are close together not to let any light in. Do not press on your eyeballs.  4. Leave hands here until the heat fades and then continue repeating for 3 or more minutes.

EYE EXERCISE

Try this eye exercise if you've been staring at a screen for an extended period of time or if your eyes feel tired.

1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed.

2. Begin by rubbing your hands together until you feel heat build up.

3. Place hands gently over your eyes. Your nose should not be covered. Make sure your fingers are close together not to let any light in. Do not press on your eyeballs.

4. Leave hands here until the heat fades and then continue repeating for 3 or more minutes.

 SEATED SIDE BEND  Try this if your torso experiences general stiffness or have a backache. This can help increase flexibility of the spine and stretches the muscles in your side body.   1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed.  2. Extend your arms out to your sides so that they are shoulder height and parallel to the floor. Engage your core by drawing your naval to spine.   3. Take a deep inhale in and on your exhale side bend to one side keeping one hand reaching down to the floor, and the top hand reaching up towards the ceiling. Only side bend as far as it is comfortable for you and keep both sitting bones connected to the chair. Your gaze can look down towards the floor, or up towards the ceiling. Hold for up to 5 seconds.  4. Inhale back to center and repeat on the opposite side. Do several rounds on each side.

SEATED SIDE BEND

Try this if your torso experiences general stiffness or have a backache. This can help increase flexibility of the spine and stretches the muscles in your side body. 

1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed.

2. Extend your arms out to your sides so that they are shoulder height and parallel to the floor. Engage your core by drawing your naval to spine. 

3. Take a deep inhale in and on your exhale side bend to one side keeping one hand reaching down to the floor, and the top hand reaching up towards the ceiling. Only side bend as far as it is comfortable for you and keep both sitting bones connected to the chair. Your gaze can look down towards the floor, or up towards the ceiling. Hold for up to 5 seconds.

4. Inhale back to center and repeat on the opposite side. Do several rounds on each side.

 SEATED TRIANGLE  Try this pose if you have stiffness in your back. This pose can open the chest to help improve your posture. You will experience a gentle twist of the spine along with a nice side stretch.   1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed.  2. Extend your arms out to your sides so that they are shoulder height and parallel to the floor. Engage your core by drawing your naval to spine.   3. Take a deep breath in and on your exhale twist to the right. Your left hand will reach down to towards your right food and your right arm will extend up towards the ceiling. Keep your head in alignment with your chest or take your gaze up towards the top arm. Begin to draw your shoulders together on your back to feel your chest opening. Only twist as far as it feels comfortable. Hold for up to 5 seconds.  4. Inhale to unwind and come back to the starting point and repeat on the opposite side. Do 2-3 sets on each side.

SEATED TRIANGLE

Try this pose if you have stiffness in your back. This pose can open the chest to help improve your posture. You will experience a gentle twist of the spine along with a nice side stretch. 

1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed.

2. Extend your arms out to your sides so that they are shoulder height and parallel to the floor. Engage your core by drawing your naval to spine. 

3. Take a deep breath in and on your exhale twist to the right. Your left hand will reach down to towards your right food and your right arm will extend up towards the ceiling. Keep your head in alignment with your chest or take your gaze up towards the top arm. Begin to draw your shoulders together on your back to feel your chest opening. Only twist as far as it feels comfortable. Hold for up to 5 seconds.

4. Inhale to unwind and come back to the starting point and repeat on the opposite side. Do 2-3 sets on each side.

 SEATED NECK STRETCH & ROLL  Try this pose if you have tightness or tension in your neck and shoulders. These neck stretches will help ease tension and increase mobility of the neck. If you have cervical spine issues listen to your body on how far to take the stretches.  1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed.  2. Drop your left ear to left shoulder. Hands can rest on your thighs or you can take your left hand to the top of your head for a little extra weight to deepen the stretch. Make sure your shoulders are drawing away from your ears down your back. Hold for a few breaths then release your hand and gently bring your head back to center.  3. Gently drop your chin to your chest. If you need a deeper stretch clasp your hands and place them behind your head allowing your elbows to drop down towards the floor. Keep your shoulder blades drawing together and down your back for a deeper stretch. Hold for a few breaths then release your hands and gently bring your head back to center.  4. Drop your right ear to right shoulder. Hands can rest on your thighs or you can take your right hand to the top of your head for a little extra weight to deepen the stretch. Make sure your shoulders are drawing away from your ears down your back. Hold for a few breaths then release your hand and gently bring your head back to center.  5. Gently tilt your head back feeling the stretch along the front of your neck. Only tilt back as far as it feels okay for you. If you have any cervical spine issues I would recommend skipping this step. Hold for a few breaths then release your hand and gently bring your head back to center.  6. From here you can gently begin to roll your neck from side to center to opposite side. If you have neck issues I would suggest only doing half neck rolls. Only do full neck rolls if it feels good to you. Do 2-3 neck rolls in each direction. Try this a couple of times a day.

SEATED NECK STRETCH & ROLL

Try this pose if you have tightness or tension in your neck and shoulders. These neck stretches will help ease tension and increase mobility of the neck. If you have cervical spine issues listen to your body on how far to take the stretches.

1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed.

2. Drop your left ear to left shoulder. Hands can rest on your thighs or you can take your left hand to the top of your head for a little extra weight to deepen the stretch. Make sure your shoulders are drawing away from your ears down your back. Hold for a few breaths then release your hand and gently bring your head back to center.

3. Gently drop your chin to your chest. If you need a deeper stretch clasp your hands and place them behind your head allowing your elbows to drop down towards the floor. Keep your shoulder blades drawing together and down your back for a deeper stretch. Hold for a few breaths then release your hands and gently bring your head back to center.

4. Drop your right ear to right shoulder. Hands can rest on your thighs or you can take your right hand to the top of your head for a little extra weight to deepen the stretch. Make sure your shoulders are drawing away from your ears down your back. Hold for a few breaths then release your hand and gently bring your head back to center.

5. Gently tilt your head back feeling the stretch along the front of your neck. Only tilt back as far as it feels okay for you. If you have any cervical spine issues I would recommend skipping this step. Hold for a few breaths then release your hand and gently bring your head back to center.

6. From here you can gently begin to roll your neck from side to center to opposite side. If you have neck issues I would suggest only doing half neck rolls. Only do full neck rolls if it feels good to you. Do 2-3 neck rolls in each direction. Try this a couple of times a day.

 STANDING QUADRICEPS STRETCH  Try this pose if you experience low back discomfort. This pose will help to increase flexibility and strength in the legs and assist in alleviated low back pain. If you are prone to knee joint injuries please practice this pose gently and slowly and back out of the pose completely if you experience sharp shooting pain.  1. Start by standing behind your chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Use the back of the chair for balance if needed.   2. Shift your weight into your right foot while keeping your right knee soft and not locked. Take your left hand to your left foot or ankle and draw your heel as close to your left buttocks to where you begin to feel a stretch along the front of your left leg. Feel your core engage by drawing your naval to your spine and your chest lift up while shoulders relax down.   3. You can stay here using the chair for balance or you can extend your left arm up towards the ceiling. Hold the pose for 10-30 seconds.   4. Gently release left hand from left foot and repeat on opposite side. 

STANDING QUADRICEPS STRETCH

Try this pose if you experience low back discomfort. This pose will help to increase flexibility and strength in the legs and assist in alleviated low back pain. If you are prone to knee joint injuries please practice this pose gently and slowly and back out of the pose completely if you experience sharp shooting pain.

1. Start by standing behind your chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Use the back of the chair for balance if needed. 

2. Shift your weight into your right foot while keeping your right knee soft and not locked. Take your left hand to your left foot or ankle and draw your heel as close to your left buttocks to where you begin to feel a stretch along the front of your left leg. Feel your core engage by drawing your naval to your spine and your chest lift up while shoulders relax down. 

3. You can stay here using the chair for balance or you can extend your left arm up towards the ceiling. Hold the pose for 10-30 seconds. 

4. Gently release left hand from left foot and repeat on opposite side. 

 THE SQUAT  Try this pose if you have stiff joints, experiencing low energy, or have poor circulation. This pose will help strengthen the legs, create more flexibility in the knees and ankles, and increases the energy and circulation throughout the whole body. Squatting is very beneficial after sitting for an extended period of time.  1. Start by standing behind your chair with your feet hip width distance and toes turned slightly out. Use the back of the chair for balance if needed.   2. Begin to bend your knees squatting down towards the floor. Your heels will lift up off of the floor and your weight will be balanced on the balls of your feet. Keep your chin lifted and shoulders relaxing down your back.   3. Engaging your core, bring yourself back up to a standing position.   4. Repeat 5-8 times. 

THE SQUAT

Try this pose if you have stiff joints, experiencing low energy, or have poor circulation. This pose will help strengthen the legs, create more flexibility in the knees and ankles, and increases the energy and circulation throughout the whole body. Squatting is very beneficial after sitting for an extended period of time.

1. Start by standing behind your chair with your feet hip width distance and toes turned slightly out. Use the back of the chair for balance if needed. 

2. Begin to bend your knees squatting down towards the floor. Your heels will lift up off of the floor and your weight will be balanced on the balls of your feet. Keep your chin lifted and shoulders relaxing down your back. 

3. Engaging your core, bring yourself back up to a standing position. 

4. Repeat 5-8 times. 

 ARM & SHOULDER ROTATION  Try this pose if you have upper back and shoulder tension. This will warm up the rotator cuff muscles and release tension held in the upper back and shoulders.  1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed.  2. Extend your arms out next to you so that they are parallel to the floor with the palms facing up.  3. Bend at your elbows bringing fingertips to shoulders. Keep your head facing forward with your chin parallel to the floor.   4. Begin to rotate your elbows in a circular motion while keeping your fingers on your shoulders. Draw elbows in together in front of you, take them up towards the ceiling, rotate them back behind you, and continue in this circular motion for 3-5 rounds. Be sure to take the circular motions in the opposite direction for 3-5 rounds. Please only take the circles as big or as little as it feels appropriate on your shoulders. (This step is not pictured)  5. Release the arms down to your sides and shake your arms and shoulders out. Please only take the circles as big or as little as it feels appropriate on your shoulders. (This step is not pictured)

ARM & SHOULDER ROTATION

Try this pose if you have upper back and shoulder tension. This will warm up the rotator cuff muscles and release tension held in the upper back and shoulders.

1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet hip width distance and parallel to each other. Sit up tall with your back, neck and head in a straight line and shoulders relaxed.

2. Extend your arms out next to you so that they are parallel to the floor with the palms facing up.

3. Bend at your elbows bringing fingertips to shoulders. Keep your head facing forward with your chin parallel to the floor. 

4. Begin to rotate your elbows in a circular motion while keeping your fingers on your shoulders. Draw elbows in together in front of you, take them up towards the ceiling, rotate them back behind you, and continue in this circular motion for 3-5 rounds. Be sure to take the circular motions in the opposite direction for 3-5 rounds. Please only take the circles as big or as little as it feels appropriate on your shoulders. (This step is not pictured)

5. Release the arms down to your sides and shake your arms and shoulders out. Please only take the circles as big or as little as it feels appropriate on your shoulders. (This step is not pictured)

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