How To Do Yoga In Your Office Chair

You don’t really have the time to look at the expiry date on your milk, so how on earth are you going to find the time for a workout which loosens your joints, tones your muscles, helps you breathe better and clears your mind? Well here’s the workout you (mostly) don’t even need to leave your chair to do.



Exercise 1: Kapalbhati pranayama

That’s fancy Sanskrit for short, exhalations through the nose. Imagine you are blowing out candles, but use your nose instead of your mouth. Let the inhalation happen naturally, and keep the tempo up without hyperventilating. Do three rounds of fifty strokes, and see what happens to your breathing afterwards – you should breathe more freely and evenly.


Exercise 2: Anuloma Viloma pranayama

Literally, ‘alternate nostril breathing.’ Block your left nostril and inhale through your right. Then block the right nostril and exhale through the left. Inhale through the left, and exhale through the right. Repeat ten times, breathing softly and deeply through the abdomen, not the chest. Alternate nostril breathing unifies the two hemispheres of the brain and produces a feeling of calm.


Exercise 3: Pawanmuktasana Exercises (slightly adapted for the office chair)

These are a series of joint manipulation exercises that will release aches and pains and promote blood flow.

(i)            Inhaling, tilt the head back and look at the ceiling. As you exhale, slowly drop your chin to your chest. Repeat. You can also turn the head to look over both shoulders and roll the head across the shoulders and chest.

(ii)          As you exhale, twist around in your chair, trying to look as far as you can over your shoulder. Grip the chair to hold you at the point you reach and breath gently and deeply there. Twist a little further. Repeat on the other side.

(iii)        Stretching the arms out in front of you, hold the thumbs on the inside of the fists and slowly roll the wrists, rotating both ways while breathing evenly.

(iv)          Bend the elbows and bring the hands to the shoulders, and then stretch the arms out again, repeating five times.

(v)            With your fingers touching your shoulders, lift the elbows and roll the shoulders backwards and forwards.

(vi)          Cross one leg over the other so that your ankle is resting on your upper thigh. First, gently crank the ankle clockwise and anti-clockwise a few times, before gently bouncing your crossed knee. This opens the ankle and hip joints. Repeat with other leg.

(vii)        Holding under your thigh, extend your leg, and then lift the straight leg until you feel a good stretch in the hamstring. Bend the knee, pulling the leg as far as you can towards yourself. This opens the knee joint. Repeat five times, and then change legs.


Exercise 4: Yogic Food

Leaving your chair, assume the plank pose (push-up position with arms fully extended). Gently push back with your arms while simultaneously lifting your hips, so that the body forms a roughly triangular position with the floor (this is the famous Downward-facing Dog yoga pose). Now drop the hips and return to plank pose. Gently drop first you knees, then your chest and chin to the floor, before sliding forward and arching your back (clench your bum to avoid lower back issues). Now push yourself backwards and lever through your hips, so that you return to the triangular position (Downward-facing Dog) you were in before. Repeat five times, holding the final down-dog as long as you can each time.


Viola! You’re an office yogi!

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