4 easy yoga moves you can do at your desk

Note from the editor: We’re a diverse bunch here at One Legal, from a variety of backgrounds and with a wide range of talents. This year we’ll be sharing some of our employees insights via interviews and guest posts. Today, Lili Daniel — who in addition to being our training manager is a qualified yoga instructor — shares some simple yoga moves you can do at your desk.


The New Year is often a time for pledging to ourselves that we’re going to strive to lead a healthier lifestyle. It isn’t always easy to be more active, however. Many of us find that we end up sat behind our desks looking at computer screens for far too much of the day — and that can have a devastating effect on our bodies.

It’s important to take regular breaks from your desk to stand up and walk around. If you’re short on time though, there are a several quick and simple yoga moves that you can undertake that will help alleviate stress and stretch your neck and back during your quick office breaks.

A few helpful hints to get you started

First, trust and honor your body. If something doesn’t feel good or hurts, stop doing it or modify it. For example, if your neck doesn’t feel good looking up, look straight forward or look down.

Second, when doing poses on a chair or standing up, make sure your feet are flat on the ground. So try to kick those shoes off for a bit, especially if you’re wearing heels.

Finally, breathing is key. Some people tend to hold their breath sometimes when doing yoga poses. This isn’t actually necessary, so please try to take deep breaths in and out through your nose.

Let’s begin

Exercise one

Start at your seat, sitting up tall having a long spine with navel flexed to your spine and feet flat on the ground.

Now, take your gaze straight forward, so that you have a neutral neck position. Take your right hand reach over to the left ear and cup it. Then take your neck and tilt your head to the right side for a gentle neck stretch. Hold this pose for five deep breaths by inhaling in and out of your nose.

After your fifth breath, let go of your Left ear and then move you neck back to gazing straight forward to a neutral neck position. Now it’s time to repeat on the other side!

Take your left hand and reach over to the right ear and cup it. Then take your neck and tilt your head to the left side for a gentle neck stretch. Hold for another five deep breaths by inhaling in and out of your nose.

yoga moves you can do at your desk

Exercise two

Still sitting on your chair, sitting up tall having a long spine with navel flexed to your spine and feet flat on the ground.

Raise both hands to the ceiling with energetic finger tips with palms facing each other. Then interlace your fingertips having your palms facing straight up to the ceiling. Make sure your shoulders are away from your ears. Take five deep breathes in by inhaling and exhaling out of your nose.

Then pulse your interlaced hands up and down to the ceiling making sure you breathe in when pulsing up and exhale when pulsing down. Try to pulse 10 times at an accelerating pace. If your neck agrees with you after the 10th pulse, take your gaze up to the ceiling for three breaths and then take your gaze down for three breaths. Try to do two more sets of this.

Easy desk-based exercises

Exercise three

For this pose, take your hands straight up, grab your left wrist and pull your left arm to the right side. Now, with your gaze on the right bottom bicep, hold for three breaths. Repeat on the other side by taking your hands straight up, grabbing your right wrist and pulling your right arm to the side. Then, with your gaze on the left bottom bicep, hold for three breaths.

desk-based yoga moves

Exercise four

Now our final pose. Stand straight up, feet flat on the floor with your hips about two fists in distance apart. Raise your hands up to the ceiling and do a forward fold. First make sure your knees are slightly bent, you can touch your thighs, shins, and your toes take three breaths here. Now take your hands and grab opposite elbows for another 5 breaths. You can slightly swing side to side if that feels good to you. Your spine will love you for this.

healthy stretches at your desk

Roll back up to standing, one more deep breath in and now exhale out of your mouth.

Now you’re ready to tackle the world!

Namaste.

Want more practical advice on staying happy and healthy at work? Download our free wellness guide for legal professionals:

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About the Author

Lili Daniel leads the Customer Success team at One Legal. She has a decade of legal support service experience and is a member of a number of legal professional associations. She was a board member of the San Gabriel Valley Legal Secretaries Association from 2012 to 2014. When Lili isn’t running around in the legal community, she is teaching yoga to the masses as a yoga instructor in Pasadena.

5 Comments

  1. Kristi L. Edwards, CCLS Reply

    Lili – I love this! Are you planning on attending the LSI Annual Conference in May 2016? If so, please contact me about incorporating this into the schedule.

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