You may think that your desk is an unlikely prop for inner peace, but a chair is a fantastic tool to help you find work-life balance while in the office. Try these simple stress-busting office yoga moves you can do at your desk!
Start by balancing on your right foot. Step your left foot on your chair, foot facing to your left, so the left knee is also pointing to the left. Feel your left hip open. Press your palms against one another at your heart center. For more of a challenge, raise your arms in the air. This one looks easy enough, but trying to stay balanced with your eyes closed (or if you're using a swivel chair) makes the pose a lot harder. Do both sides.
Traditional eagle pose is a great cleanser for your body and mind. Chair eagle has very similar benefits, brought from winding and twisting your arms and legs. Start by bringing your right elbow under your left. From here, see if you can bring your palms to touch by rotating your right wrist and twisting your arms further. Next, cross your left leg over your right so your inner thighs are squeezing. Maybe bring the left ankle behind the right--but don't do this if it feels uncomfortable. For more intensity in this pose, inhale and lift the elbows high in a gentle back bend, then exhale and bring the elbows to the belly button as you round the spine. Do the other side.
Dancer's Pose can be a challenge for any yogi. Bringing a chair into the mix for extra stability helps make this pose office friendly. Balance on your right foot, and gently hold the back of a chair (or desk or wall) with your right hand. Bend your left knee and grab the big toe side of your left foot or ankle. Gently kick the foot into the hand as you lean slightly forward, getting a good quad stretch. Do the other side.
Seated ankle to knee pose is an easy way to stretch your hips with little effort. Flex your right foot as you place your right ankle on your left knee. Breathe. Keep the foot flexed to protect the knee joint and prevent injury. Try the other side.
If you love doing yoga at your desk, learn more moves here.
Lauren Coles is the Founder and Lead Teacher of Daisy Office Yoga in New York City, where she brings yoga to people at work. She also teaches for youth programs at Lighthouse Guild for the Blind and Mentoring USA.
Art by Yael Palmon