Quick yoga poses to make any break count

At some point , we’ve probably all had that feeling; you’ve been sitting too long at your desk or running around like a mad person. Your shoulders are feeling heavy, your back is sore, and your wrists are achy.

Recent studies have confirmed that sitting for long periods while working can have potentially serious consequences. In one recent study, the research team concluded that “we know with very high confidence that more physically active people do better with regard to chronic disease than less physically active people… a lot of office jobs that require long periods of sitting may be hazardous to your health.”

While it’s important to get a good “dose” of exercise each day, it’s also equally important to avoid long periods of being sedentary during the day. We previously shared a series of easy yoga stretches you can perform during your lunch break. The key, though, is to be active at regular intervals throughout the day.

To help, here are some yoga poses you can do practically anywhere especially in the office during a 5-10 min break.

As always when I suggest yoga moves, there are a few ground rules:

  • If it does not feel good or you feel pain at any time, stop the pose immediately
  • Make sure your feet are flat on the ground, so take off any shoes
  • Breath, breath and breath some more. Take deep breaths in and out through your nose as you perform the exercises.

Let’s get started!

#1 The mountain pose

To begin, stand up with the edges of your feet firmly on the ground, with a slight bend in your knees.

Make sure you stand with your feet just a little apart — roughly two fists in distance.

Roll your shoulders down and away from your ears. Move your arms above your head, with your and palms either facing up to the sky, or palms facing each other. Look straight forward.

Holding this position, take five breaths and let everything go. Now reach your hand ever higher over your head, moving your finger tips energetically towards the sky, and take three more breaths.

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#2 Standing side stretch

Slide your left hand down your left leg, palm down. Meanwhile, reach your right hand up and slightly to the left. You can look down or, if this doesn’t strain your neck, try looking at your hand.  

Pause and take three breaths here before switching sides. A good modification is to use a chair, rather than sliding your hand on the side of your leg, to maintain stability.

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#3 Assisted dancer pose

Stand behind a chair and place your arms on its back. Make sure both feet are flat on the floor, with navel to spine, keeping your back long.

Keeping your left hand on the chair, slowly, lift your right calf while reaching your right hand back, ensuring you are able to grab your right foot or ankle. Pause and take three deep breaths. If this doesn’t feel good, you can keep both hands on the chair and bend your right leg in a 90-degree angle, making sure that foot is flexed, with toes pointing to the ground. Make sure to do the same with your left side.

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#4 Twisted seated position

Sit on the chair with feet flat on the ground, and knees in line with your ankles. Reach for your right knee with your left hand, making a twist. Take three breaths. Switch sides, and repeat.

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#5 Neck release position

Sit on the chair with feet flat on the ground, and knees in line with your ankles. Interlace your hand, and move it to the back of your head. Make sure your navel is in line with your spine, keeping your  back straight. Look down. Take three breaths, then look up, with your heart to the sky, and take another three breaths.

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#6 Wrist and Finger tips stretches

While sitting on the chair, reach your arms out so that they’re in equal level to your shoulders. Face your palms away from your face. Then, take your right hand and gently push back the fingertips on your left hand. Your palm should feel some resistance as well. Take a  few breaths. Now, face your face with your left palm, and push your hand toward your face with your right hand. Take a few breaths. Switch hands.

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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.