Office Yoga: 5 Easy Practices To Add To Your Working Day

Today’s fast-paced lifestyle involves a lot of sitting and being inactive in our physical bodies while keeping our minds continuously overstimulated.

Many people have a long commute to work, spending a lot of time sitting behind the wheel of a car or taking public transportation. Others spend their day standing behind a service desk for several hours straight interacting with customers.

Learning to practice office yoga is a great way to incorporate mindful moments and habits throughout the day that can truly impact your well-being, whether or not you go to an in-person or online yoga class.

Taking care of yourself and practicing office yoga in small doses throughout the day can be more beneficial than going to the studio at random.

Practicing office yoga may not seem possible in certain environments and spaces yet we invite you to read on to learn a bit more about creative ways to practice office yoga:

  • Benefits of yoga for the workplace
  • What office yoga is
  • Office yoga before starting the workday
  • Office yoga to close out the workday
  • Office yoga breaks
  • 10 easy poses for office yoga
  • Tips to practice office yoga

Let’s dive right in!

people in an office doing yoga

Benefits of yoga for the workplace

Millions of people all over the planet spend most of their workday sitting in front of a computer in an office or at their home working remotely, engaging even more in a sedentary lifestyle.

People get home exhausted, and unable to unplug from the day, dive into watching whatever show everyone is currently binge-watching on Netflix, throw a frozen pizza in the oven, and forget to actually take time to decompress and create space.

None of this is ideal for our lifestyle and health, and office yoga may be able to help.

If you’re in the habit of creating a schedule or even time blocking your calendar, it may seem like a great idea to go to a yoga class at your local studio at 6:00 am before heading to the office or hitting the gym after class at 8:00 pm and taking a vinyasa yoga class.

And it could be.

But often, the reality may be that you’re just too tired, and end up skipping yoga class altogether.

Here are some of the benefits of practicing yoga that you can reap, whether you practice office yoga, as well as many other styles of yoga.

  • Increased focus and clarity
  • Improved posture
  • Enhanced breathing and oxygen flow
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Increased overall wellness
  • Increased confidence and resilience
  • Improved self-awareness
  • It can be quite accessible
people in a yoga class doing halfway lift

What is office yoga?

An increasing number of companies across the globe, large and small, have started investing in and incorporating wellness programs for employees and teams including office yoga, making it more accessible for their staff to lead a healthy lifestyle.

These wellness programs are often free to employees and provide them with high-quality activities to not only increase well-being, but often, as a side-effect, these companies see higher productivity, reduced sick leaves, and an overall healthier, happier staff body.

There is plenty of evidence of the benefits of yoga for the health of mind and body, and as more people intend to find better work-life balance, bringing yoga, meditation, and other wellness practices into corporations and workspaces is paramount.

Whether your company offers a wellness program or you choose to practice on your own in your home office or your cubicle, we invite you to get creative and find ways to move that feel good for you.

Office yoga before starting the workday

Before you do any activity that requires your focus and energy, it is helpful to practice a little bit of office yoga, whether that’s asana, meditation, or pranayama.

There are different ways in which to practice office yoga, and not all of them involve physical movement.

How you start your day will greatly impact how things go.

woman in her bedroom doing yoga on the floor

1# Setting your intention

Anything that we do with intentionality is proven to have better outcomes.

When we know why we choose to do what we do, what behaviors we engage in, and what habits we want to maintain, we are more likely to stick to it and reap the benefits.

Consider setting an intention for your workday, or even better, explore creating a Sankalpa for the week or month that can support you and help you get back to alignment throughout the day.

2# How to start your workday

Simply taking a few nasal breaths can be one of the easiest ways to bring yourself to the present moment.

The more you learn to use basic breathing and meditation techniques, the more able you’ll be to start your day grounded and calm.

You’ll find that you’re more focused an clear on what must take priority, what can wait, and how you’re planning to both keep yourself on track as well as give yourself space to reset between tasks and projects.

Here is a meditation for you to try:

Office yoga to close out the workday

In the same way that it matters how you start, how you end your workday matters.

1# Wrapping up the day

Take the last 15 minutes of your day to finish up any tasks that can be finished up, and set everything up for the next day mindfully.

2# Gratitude practice for the workplace

Gratitude is a mindful way to end the workday; gratitude for your ability to work, and for the positive things that the job brings into your life, including the financial aspect.

Be grateful for your coworkers, clients, patients, and those who lead in your organization.

3# Finding space after work

It is important to create a clear demarcation between our workday and when we choose to either rest, or reconnect with our family and friends.

Practicing a bit of yoga asana can be a great way to do that

Here is an after work practice for you to try, designed especially for those who spend lots of time during the day sedentary and sitting at a desk.

Office yoga breaks

  • When you feel overwhelmed or having a tough time

If you’ve been having a rough day, give yourself a few moments to practice Dirga Swasam Pranayama (three-part breath) or box breathing.

  • When you want to focus

A great breathing exercise to try when you find yourself distracted and unable to focus on the task in front of you is Bhramari pranayama.

  • When you’re feeling tired or fatigued

If you’re feeling tired (especially mentally) a great pranayama to explore is Bhastrika Pranayama.

Easy Office yoga Poses

Engaging in mindful, functional movement can be one of the easiest ways to take a pause at any point in your work day, check in with how you feel, and gently move your body and energy without having to leave your desk:

1# Neck stretches

2# Shoulder stretches

3# Wrist stretches

4# Seated cat and cow on a chair

5# Seated spinal twists on a chair

man meditating in a suit at work

6# Seated lateral stretches on a chair

7# Ankle rolls

8# Knee mobility

9# Seated figure 4 on a chair

10# Seated eagle pose

Tips to practice office yoga

Practicing office yoga can mean simply practicing at your desk, either on your own or with a guided video.

It can also mean that you attend a class on-site or online organized by your company or place of employment as a part of their wellness program.

Here are a few tips to practice office yoga if there is no program where you work and would like to start your own workplace practice:

1# Use a chair without wheels (or lock them)

If you’re practicing using a chair, make sure that it is a sturdy chair with either no wheels or lockable wheels so that you can practice safely

2# Schedule several small breaks throughout the day

When you practice office yoga, it can really work for you to take a 20 to 30 minute practice on your lunch break, but also consider ways to incorporate mindful practices throughout your work day

people meditating at their desk

3# Get an accountability partner

If you have a hard time committing to things, consider chatting with a coworker or another person you trust to either join you or to check in with you often to stay accountable to your new habit

4# Keep it simple

It can be tempting to make things grand (and complicated) right off the bat, especially if you’re excited to start incorporating these practices into your workday

We highly encourage you to start small and build from there.

Conclusion

Office yoga is a way to bring wellness practices into your life in a way that is sustainable and often more accessible.

Whether you practice with a company wide program, or choose to do it on your own, office yoga is most beneficial when practiced often and in different ways.

Physical practice, meditation, and breathwork are the main components to incorporate into your office yoga routine.

For more on poses to practice at your desk, check out this article.

Photo of author
Laia Bové (she/her) is an Afro-Catalan yoga and meditation teacher and freelance writer currently living in Tampa Bay, United States. She is a former professional figure skater and has been teaching movement, yoga and meditation for over 11 years. Laia is E-RYT 500 & YACEP registered with the Yoga Alliance and currently offers group classes, private sessions both in person and virtually and she also leads workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings with a strong focus on accessibility and inclusivity. Laia teaches yoga with the intent to create a space for people of all backgrounds, abilities, shapes, and identities where they can feel empowered and learn tools that will support them in their lives.

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