Yoga at the desk

Upper Body 

Wrist stretch

  Stretches front and back of wrist. Raise right hand, palm facing body. Place left fingers on right fingers and gently pull right fingers backward toward floor. Keep right heel of hand facing ceiling, right elbow toward floor. Breathe. Release fingers, turn right hand over, palm facing down. Slowly pull right fingers down toward floor with left hand. Keep top of right hand facing ceiling with right elbow toward floor. Breathe. Change sides. 

Side neck stretch 1 & 2

  Sit with feet planted firmly on floor, sitting bones pressing into chair. Lift sternum to lengthen spine. 1. Exhale, keep eyes and nose forward as you tilt left ear to left shoulder. Keep right shoulder down and left waist long. Inhale up and change sides. 2. Exhale and turn head to look over left shoulder, keeping right shoulder in position. Inhale to center and change sides. 

Front & back neck stretch

  Sit with feet planted firmly on floor, sitting bones pressing into chair. Inhale, lift sternum to lift head. Imagine a tennis ball behind neck as you take eyes to ceiling. Exhale, keep sternum lifted and drop chin and head forward as far as you can go. Breathe.

Shoulder lifts I

  Through contraction of tight shoulder and neck muscles, these muscles learn to release. Sit with feet planted firmly on floor, sitting bones pressing into chair. Lift sternum to lengthen spine. Inhale, lift shoulders as high as you can, decreasing distance between shoulder and ear. On next exhalation, keep sternum lifted and press shoulders down.

Shoulder lift II

  Releases shoulder and neck stress. Sitting on chair, press sitting bones down and lift sternum. Interlace fingers in front of body. Inhale, lift arms overhead, straighten arms and raise shoulders up toward ears. Exhale, press shoulders back down. Repeat. Exhale to release and change interlace of fingers to change sides. Alternative: If you cannot straighten arms, hold a belt or tie between hands.

Front shoulder stretch

  Sit with feet planted firmly on floor, sitting bones pressing into chair. Interlace hands behind back. Inhale, lift sternum, exhale, move tops of arms back, straighten and lift arms. Breathe. Inhale to release, change interlace of fingers to change sides. 

Garudasana, or eagle pose

  Stretches triceps, opens scapulae. Sit with feet planted firmly on floor. Lift sternum to lengthen spine. Bring right arm across body using left hand to pull elbow across midline. Work until right hand touches left scapula. Reach left hand across body to grasp right shoulder, elbows crossing. Turn hands up toward ceiling.Place right hand in left hand, exhale and turn thumbs toward nose. Breathe. Other side

Gomukhasana part I, or cow-face pose

  Loosens shoulders and releases neck tension. With feet on floor and sitting bones pressing into a chair, lift sternum to lengthen your spine. Bring right arm overhead and bend elbow to move hand down back. Place left hand on right elbow, inhale and push elbow up into hand to open armpit. Exhale, use your left hand to pull right elbow toward center. Breathe. Inhale to release, change sides. 

Gomukhasana part II, or cow-face pose

  Loosens shoulders, releases neck tension. Sit with feet on floor. Lift sternum to lengthen spine. Lift right arm, inwardly rotate and reach hand behind back. Use left hand to grasp right to pull arm over. Turn right arm up back as far as you can. Then add Gomuknasana Part I. Breathe. Inhale to release, change sides. Alternative: If hands do not meet, you can use a tie or belt between hands.

Chaturanga Dandasana, or staff pose

  Creates strength in shoulders, arms and belly. Lie face down, hands placed by rib cage. Press shoulder blades down toward buttocks. Contract buttocks lightly and imagine spine in one long line. Exhale, contract abdominal region to support spine and press hands into floor to lift body off floor. Breathe. Exhale to release.

Lower Body

Chair squat

  Opens hips and releases lower back. Sit on edge of chair and take legs wide. Turn feet out so there is no strain in knees. Inhale, lift sternum to lengthen spine. Exhale, pivot through hips keeping front of spine lengthened as long as possible as you reach to floor. Breathe. Inhale to come up. Alternative: You may wish to place elbows on knees instead of hands on the floor.

Bharadvajasana I

  Relieves low and mid back tension, promotes elasticity of spine. Sit with right shoulder facing back of chair. Place both hands on chair back. Press sitting bones into chair, inhale and lift sternum to open chest. Exhale, pull with left hand and push with right to twist to right. Breathe. Inhale to come out and change sides. Tip: On each inhalation lift sternum, each exhalation twist further. 

Cross-legged hip stretch

  Stretches gluteus and outer rotators. Can help relieve sciatica and lower backache. Sit upright in chair. Bring right ankle over left leg crossing just above left knee. Inhale. Lift sternum, exhale lean forward and place elbows on right leg. To deepen stretch, reach hands to floor.

Hasta Padangusthasana, or hamstring stretch

  Opens hamstrings, often a cause of lower back stress. Sit on edge of chair, feet planted on floor. Straighten left leg forward, heel on ground while keeping right leg bent. Inhale, press sitting bones into chair, lengthen spine up and open chest. Exhale, lean forward placing hands on left leg above knee. To deepen stretch, walk hands down leg towards foot. Inhale to come up and change sides. 

Uttanasana, or standing forward bend

  Opens hips and hamstrings, relieves low back compression. Lean against a wall, feet approximately 2 feet away, feet hip-width apart. Inhale, lift sternum, exhale, lift sitting bones and pivot through hips to come forward, reaching hands to floor. Alternative: Place hands on a chair instead of floor. 

Cat/Cow to child's pose

  This sequence creates elasticity in spine, relieves lower backache. Come to all fours, knees directly below hips, hands directly below shoulders. Inhale while lifting sitting bones and head to arch back. Exhale, contract abdominal muscles, round back and push hips back to heels. Inhale, lift hips from heels and come into back bend. Repeat as desired. 

Setu Bandhasana, or bridge pose

  Strengthens buttocks and promotes spinal flexibility. Begin on back with feet close to buttocks about hip-width apart. Exhale, press feet into floor to lift hips. Interlace fingers, roll shoulders under, straighten arms and press them into floor to open the chest. Breathe. Exhale, release hips to floor and pull knees to chest. Breathe. Alternative: If you have knee pain, turn toes out slightly. 

Bhujangasana, or cobra pose

  Creates strength and flexibility in back, strengthens triceps. Lie face down, hands under shoulders. Press shoulder blades down toward buttocks. Contract buttocks to lengthen spine. Inhale, press hands into floor, keep shoulders down and come into back bend as far as is comfortable. Exhale to come out. Tip: If there is discomfort in lumbar, make sure buttocks are strongly contracted, and do not bend as deeply. 

Lying Floor Twist

  Relieves low back stress and creates mobility in spine. Lie on floor, legs together. Bend right knee, place foot on floor and shift hips to right. Replace right foot on left knee, exhale and twist to left. Breathe. Inhale to come up and change sides.

Whole Body 

Adho Mukha Svanasana, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

  Opens hamstrings and creates mobility of spine and shoulders. Place hands on desk, step back a few feet and lean forward. Exhale, release chest down toward floor and lift sitting bones until back is parallel to floor. Breathe. Inhale to come up, flip over toes and contract buttocks as hips come toward desk. Press hands down to lift sternum forward. If neck is comfortable, look up towards ceiling. 

Trikonasana, Dandayamana Janu- Sirsasana, Parivrtta Trikonasana

  Place right heel on desk. Place right hand on right thigh, exhale, keep right waist long and begin to slide hand to foot. Breathe. Inhale, pivot left foot to square hips. Place hands on right thigh. Inhale, lift sternum, exhale and slide hands toward foot. Breathe. Inhale up. Place left hand on right leg. Inhale, lengthen spine, exhale, twist by pressing hand against leg. Change sides. 

Adho Mukha Svanasana

  Creates strength and flexibility in shoulders, opens hamstrings and calves. Lie face down, hands placed under shoulders. Tuck toes under, lift hips up with knees bent. Exhale, press hands into floor, straighten arms and draw chest back toward legs. Breathe. Lift sitting bones towards ceiling and straighten legs. Breathe. Inhale to come out. Alternative: Keep heels off floor in beginning. 

Salabasana, or locust pose

  Strengthens back, buttocks and hamstrings. Lie face down on floor, arms by side, palms down. Contract buttocks to lengthen lumbar spine. Lift arms from floor and press scapulea down toward buttocks to create length in neck. Inhale; lift head, chest and legs simultaneously. Breathe. Exhale to come out.

Source from WebMD