Working from home can be quite challenging—and even busier and more hectic than working at an office. If you don’t have time to step on your mat, try this chair yoga sequence that you can squeeze in during your work day. The best part? These chair yoga poses only take 5 minutes of your time.
1. Seated Twist
Sit upright on your chair. Ground your sitting bones down, lengthen your spine, and reach the crown of your head up to the ceiling. Roll your shoulders back and draw the belly in. When you’re ready, inhale and reach the arms up towards the sky. Exhale, take your right hand onto your left knee and take your left hand onto the lower left edge of your seat or onto the backrest of your chair.
Inhale, grow tall. Exhale, revolve your ribcage and your shoulders to the left. Take your gaze over your left shoulder or perhaps onto the backrest of your chair. Release, then repeat on the opposite side. Simple seated twists like this one help unwind any tight spots in your spine and promote better posture even if you spend much of your day on your desk.
2. Seated Hamstring Stretch
For this seated yoga pose, make sure that you have ample space between your chair and your desk. Take your right ankle onto the desk, then straighten your leg as much as you can. Feel the stretch at the back of your right leg, as you interlace your fingers behind your right thigh or calf.
Inhale, lengthen your spine and reach your heart towards your toes. Exhale, melt and fold forward. Bring your chest close to your thigh. Stay in this shape for a few breaths, then release and perform the posture on the opposite side.Sitting for long periods of time can leave the lower body stiff—this seated hamstring stretch should bring back circulation and mobility in your legs.
3. Seated Pigeon
To help release the glutes, try this seated pigeon or figure 4 stretch. Take your right ankle onto your left thigh. Press the right knee down, feeling the right outer hip release. You can hold onto the bottom of your chair seat to fold forward, or you can simply relax your forearms down onto your right calf. Hold for a few breaths, then release and repeat on the other side.
4. Downward Facing Dog
This variation of downward facing dog is also more accessible for those with limited mobility, but still provides the same benefits of strengthening the shoulders, lengthening the spine (particularly the lower back), and releasing the backs of the legs.
Stand a foot or two away from your chair. Take your hands on the chair and walk your feet back, until your hips stack over your ankles. Press your palms down, as you drive your chest towards your thighs and tilt the hips up towards the sky. Push the heels of your feet down towards the floor, and continue to press the hip bones up. Try to get your head in between your shoulders and gaze towards your thighs. Stay here for a few breaths, before exiting the pose.