Blog Mental Health Yoga Chair Yoga What Is Office Chair Yoga? 5 Yoga Exercises to Do from the Comfort of Your Desk

What Is Office Chair Yoga? 5 Yoga Exercises to Do from the Comfort of Your Desk

Office chair yoga involves a variety of yoga postures and breathing exercises that you can do from the comfort of your desk. It’s well known that sitting for prolonged periods of time can be detrimental to your posture and general health. However, due to our busy modern lives, it can be difficult to avoid long days spent hunched over a desk. By introducing some simple office chair yoga poses into your daily routine, it may be possible to counteract some of the negative effects of sedentary office culture. Read on to learn more about office chair yoga, its benefits, and instructions for 5 simple exercises to start implementing into your workday routine today.

What Are the Benefits of Chair Yoga for Office Workers?

While it may not provide the full benefits of a regular yoga session, office chair yoga can provide a variety of benefits, including:

    • Improved posture – simple seated yoga postures may help you improve your posture by strengthening your abdominal muscles and increasing awareness of your alignment
    • Reduced stress – taking some time to focus on your breath and perform gentle stretches can help promote mindfulness and relaxation
    • Relief from pain and tension – studies have shown that chair yoga can improve existing pain (1) and help prevent pain and tension from developing 
    • Improved focus – office chair yoga provides the opportunity to take short breaks throughout the day, which can help to improve focus and productivity
    • Increased mobility and flexibility – a regular yoga practice promotes mobility of the spine (2) and improved flexibility
See also
Chair Yoga Routines For Every Age And Ability: A Comprehensive Guide

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Is Yoga Good for Desk Workers?

Office chair yoga poses can be beneficial for everyone. If you’re experiencing health issues, chair yoga is a simple way to add movement and mindfulness to your working day. In addition, practicing office chair yoga poses is an excellent way to help you avoid developing health issues related to a sedentary lifestyle such as back pain, fatigue, and weight gain.

How Can I Do Yoga in My Office?

If you’re unable to fit a morning or lunchtime yoga class into your schedule, it’s easy to add yoga into your day by practicing it in your office chair. A five-minute break is the perfect time to practice some office chair yoga and you’ll feel the benefits straight away. Your employer may also be pleased to know that mindfulness practices such as yoga have been found to improve productivity in the workplace and reduce incidences of sickness and burnout (3).

How Many Times per Week Should You Do Chair Yoga?

Office chair yoga poses can be practiced daily as a mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon pick-me-up. The simple sequence detailed below takes just 10 minutes and will help you experience some of the benefits of yoga, including stress relief, improved posture, and preventing aches and pains.

Read more: 21 Day Chair Yoga: Reasons To Add This Challenge To Your Routine

See also
Chair Yoga For Core Strength: The Ultimate Guide

5 Yoga Exercises You Can Do from Your Desk

For a 5-minute office chair yoga sequence, practice the following postures for just 1 minute each. You may find it beneficial to practice this sequence a couple of times per day.

The exercises below can be practiced using any standard office chair and don’t require any additional equipment. They are simple to follow and can be practiced wearing ordinary work clothing.

By following this sequence of 5 yoga postures, you’ll be able to counteract the negative effects of sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time. The yoga postures listed below will help 

open your chest, allowing you to breathe deeply, stretch your spine to support healthy posture, reduce back pain, increase circulation, and gently build strength in your upper body and abdomen.

office chair yoga  

1. Cat-Cow – Bitilasana Marjaryasana

Cat-cow is normally practiced from a table-top position on the floor. This posture can help increase energy, promote circulation, and is beneficial for the spine. Here’s how to adapt it to practice from your office chair:

  • Sit on your chair with your feet flat on the floor approximately hip-width distance apart
  • Place your hands on your knees and lengthen your spine
  • As you inhale deeply through your nose, press your stomach and chest forward into a slight backbend and lift your chin up, keeping your arms straight
  • As you exhale through your nose, squeeze your stomach in, curving your spine, and bringing your chin down to your chest
  • Repeat for up to 2 minutes at a speed that’s comfortable for you – you may like to try counting to 4 for each breath
See also
Chair Yoga For Stress Relief

2. Spinal Twist – Bharadvajasana

There are many different types of spinal twists in yoga. For good health and posture, it’s essential to take great care of your spine. This will naturally support efficient breathing, leading to a boosted mood, prolonged energy, and good circulation.

  • Start seated on your chair with your feet on the floor at a hip-width distance
  • Sitting up tall, hold the left side of your seat with your left hand
  • Squeeze in at your navel, without moving your feet or legs, twist your body to the left, and reach with your right hand to hold around the left side of the back of the chair
  • Turn your chin to look over your left shoulder
  • Hold the twist for up to 2 minutes while focusing on breathing steadily
  • As you release the spinal twist to the left, take a moment to reset and take a breath before you repeat this posture on the right

office chair yoga  

3. Downward-Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana

Downward-dog is one of the most well-known yoga postures and a foundational posture for your practice. It has many benefits, including strengthening the arms, shoulders, and upper body, stretching the spine and backs of the legs, and relieving stress and tension. This chair variation of downward-dog is a little more accessible when you’re not wearing workout clothes.

Please note, this posture is not suitable for a desk chair on wheels. Make sure to either use a chair that won’t slide or lean the back of the chair against a wall.

  • Stand and turn to face your chair
  • Place your hands just inside the edges of the seat of the chair 
  • Slightly bend your knees and press your hands down, allowing the chair to take your weight
  • Lift your hips and tailbone up toward the ceiling and step your feet back slightly to make a V-shape with your body
  • Aim to align your arms and back in one line and relax your neck, allowing your head to hang down
  • As you hold this position, bring your attention to your breath and focus on breathing steadily
See also
Advanced Chair Yoga Poses: Elevate Your Strength

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4. Reverse Plank – Purvottanasana

Reverse plank provides a gentle stretch down the front of your body, opening up your hips and chest. The posture improves strength in your wrists, arms, and shoulders, and will tone and strengthen your abdomen, glutes, and thighs.

Please note, this posture is not suitable for a desk chair on wheels. Make sure to either use a chair that won’t slide or lean the back of the chair against a wall.

  • Start seated on your chair, holding the sides of the chair seat with your hands
  • Carefully walk your feet forward, allow your hips to lift up off the chair seat, and create a straight line with your legs, hips, abdomen, and chest
  • Press your palms into the chair as you lift your chest, squeeze your thighs to keep your legs straight, and engage your core to hold you here for a few breaths
  • If comfortable, allow your head to come back so as to extend the stretch into your upper chest and neck
See also
7 Yoga Ball Chair Benefits That'll Make You Ditch Your Work Chair

5. Chair “Squat” – Malasana

This posture mimics the movement and stretch in the hips that are accessed in a squat. However, in this modified position, you can remain seated on your chair. This variation also brings more of the stretch into the lower back, which makes it highly beneficial for lower back pain.

  • Sit yourself as far back in the chair as possible while keeping your feet flat on the floor
  • Open your feet slightly wider than your shoulders
  • Fold your upper body forward, bringing your shoulders between your knees and placing your hands on the floor between your feet
  • Gently press your heels into the floor and keep your hips firmly seated on the chair
  • Allow your neck to relax so your head comfortably hangs between your legs
  • It’s optional here to hold onto the opposite elbow as you hold this posture – alternatively, you can keep your hands on the floor

Try these 5 postures daily for at least a week to notice the benefits of these office chair yoga poses.

Read more: Unlocking Relaxation: The Magic of Restorative Chair Yoga

office chair yoga  


  • Can chair yoga be used for weight loss?

Chair yoga won’t be as effective as a dynamic yoga practice for weight loss, but it can still burn calories and help as an additional step to a weight-loss program.

  • How can I lose belly fat with chair exercises?

A consistent yoga practice is required for weight loss. However, chair yoga exercises such as the Reverse Plank described above can contribute to sculpting and toning the abdomen. 

  • Is 30 minutes of yoga per day enough to lose weight?

Commitment to a regular practice is important to receive the benefits yoga has to offer, including weight loss. Even just 30 minutes of exercise per day will bring results over time. As well as strengthening and toning the body, studies have shown that yoga supports long-term weight loss by targeting psychological processes related to gaining weight (4).


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Chair Yoga on Pain and Physical Function (2023, PubMed.)
  2. Exploring the Therapeutic Effects of Yoga on Spine and Shoulder Mobility: A Systematic Review (2024, ScienceDirect.)
  3. A Workplace Mindfulness Intervention May Be Associated With Improved Psychological Well-Being and Productivity. A Preliminary Field Study in a Company Setting (2018, Frontiers.)
  4. A preliminary investigation of yoga as an intervention approach for improving long-term weight loss: A randomized trial (2022, PubMed.)