When you think about it, most of us – whether studying or working in an office – spend most of the day sitting down. We spend hours typing away, looking at a monitor and repeating these motions over and over without taking a break.

We can’t always do much to avoid this excess sitting, but we can add a little spice to our daily routines with some desk yoga. This helps to keep our joints and limbs nimble, and avoid excess tension and stiffness at work.

Wrist and finger stretch 

Sit on a chair extend you right arm in front of you – like you’re pushing something away with your palm.

Keeping your arm straight in front, spin you hand so your wrist faces up and your fingers point towards the floor.

Now take your left hand and gently pull your fingers back towards you, whilst keeping your arm straight.

You should feel a slight stretch in your wrist, palm and fingers.

Take five deep breathes then do the same on your other side.


Seated cat-cow stretch

Sit in your chair with your legs hip-width apart and your feet flat on the floor.

Place your hands on your knees

Inhale and slowly arch your back, rolling your shoulders back and down.

As you exhale, slowly reverse the position, rounding the spine, letting your head drop as your chin moves towards your chest.

Now repeat these two movements for another three to four breaths.


Seated spinal twist

Sit sideways in your chair, so the back of the chair is on your left side of your body.

Sit with your legs hip-width apart and your feet flat on the floor.

Inhale, and as your exhale slowly twist your upper body left towards the back of your chair. Pulling your right hip back gently and making sure your spine stays tall.

Only going so far as feels comfortable.

Inhale holding the pose, then exhale and slowly twist back to your seated position.

Turn yourself around so the back of the chair is on your right side and repeat these movements, turning to the right.


Hip Openers

Sit in your chair with your legs hip-width apart and your feet flat on the floor.

Bring your right ankle on your left knee and flex your right foot to keep everything safe.

The weight of your leg (mixed with gravity!) should softly pull right knee towards the floor. But if your shin is not parallel with the floor, no stress – this only means you’ve got some tightness in your hips, which happens to most of us that sit at a desk all day.

Make sure your hips are level and all of your bottom is touching the chair (don’t lift one side!)

If you’re feeling you want to go a little further, you can hinge at your hips and bring your back (make sure it’s straight!) towards your legs.

Hold this pose for five breaths then repeat on your left side.

You may find one side is tighter than the other – and that’s okay, generally your dominant side is more flexible.


Shoulder openers

Stand up facing your desk, feet hip-width apart and keep about a metre between you and the desk.

Inhale and raise your hands above your head, shoulder-width apart. With a straight back, slowly hinge from your hips and bend forward, lowering your back towards the desk as you exhale. Your hands should rest on the desk.

Legs can be straight with a slight bend in the knees or fully bent (if your hamstrings don’t like it).

You should feel like your legs and back are forming a right angle with the desk. With each exhale, see if you can reach your hands forward – ever so slightly- till you feel a nice stretch through your chest and upper back.

Hold this pose for five breaths and slowly come out it by standing up straight.


Related reading: The benefits of a digital detox

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