Take a Workday Yoga Break


De-stress at your desk with this simple and effective office yoga routine.

Are your stress levels at work off the chart?

Practice yoga moves right at your desk to improve posture, health and mental outlook. Use any or all of the following poses to create your own at-work practice. Remember, breathing in a calm and steady way as you move through these poses is the glue that holds the practice together.

Use Your Breath to De-stress
Try this quick trick to de-stress anytime: Pause now to simply notice your breath. Take full inhales and long exhales, noticing the breath deep in the belly before it reaches the chest. We tend to take short inhales when stressed, so focusing on the out breath calms the mind as your attention shifts from thought to the breath.

Mountain Pose with Arm Circles: This simple standing pose will help energize and center you.Mountain Pose With Arm Circles
Stand next to your desk, feet as wide as your hips, arms at your sides. Feel the feet firmly on the floor as the legs become strong and energized. Pull your navel toward your spine, engaging the core and sending the tailbone down toward the floor. Now you’re in mountain pose. As you inhale, slowly lift the arms up, so that your palms touch on top of your inhale. Keep pressing the shoulders down as your arms circle up. As you exhale, slowly lower the arms back to your starting position. Repeat five times, coordinating with your breath to fully inhale and exhale.
Upward Salute: This pose challenges you to stretch upward and breathe deeply to regain your poise.Upward Salute
Standing in mountain pose, lift your arms up as you inhale, fingers spread wide. As your arms and fingers reach up, your shoulders press down the back and your feet press firmly into the floor. If it feels good, lift your head and look toward the ceiling. Feel your breath stretching the sides of your body. Stay in this position for five breaths.
Crescent Moon: Take a moment to gently stretch both sides of the body to regain a less-stressed perspective.Crescent Moon
Standing in mountain pose, lift your arms up as you inhale, coming into upward salute. With your right hand, hold your left wrist and bend to the right as you exhale. While in your side bend, be aware of your shoulders pressing away from your ears, and your feet grounding into the floor. After five breaths, inhale to come up and then switch sides.
Heart Opener: By gently rolling and opening the shoulder and chest area, you will feel renewed.Heart Opener
Standing in mountain pose with arms at your sides, roll your shoulders back five times. Bring your arms behind your back and interlace the fingers. If this is not possible, place your hands on your hips and draw the elbows toward each other. Keeping feet rooted into the floor, lower belly lifted and the tailbone lengthening down, squeeze your shoulder blades toward each other as much as it’s comfortable. Stay here for five breaths, feeling the chest open a little more with each breath.
Chair Hip Opener: Use your desk chair to go into a deep stretch that will loosen tight hips and reinvigorate you.Chair Hip Opener
Sitting in your chair with feet on the floor, lift your right leg up and cross the right ankle directly above the left knee. Keep the right foot flexed to protect the ankle and knee joints. For a deeper hip stretch, gently press your right knee down, aligning it with the left knee. Fold your torso forward for an even deeper stretch. After five breaths, release the right leg and switch sides.
Eagle Arms Upper Back Opener: Open and calm your upper back with this simple, seated stretch.Eagle Arms Upper Back Opener
Sitting in your chair, spread your arms wide parallel to the floor. With your shoulders down away from your ears, cross your elbows in front of the heart, keeping palms close to each other. Keep your elbows at heart level. After five breaths, release the arms and change the cross of the arms to stretch and open your upper back.

About the Author

Jelena Hardy is a Reno-based, certified yoga instructor. She teaches yoga as a dynamic and physically challenging flowing practice that allows the breath’s internal movement to carry the body’s external movement. Visit her website for a complete class listing.