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16th Jul 2014

Office Yoga: Five Moves You Can Do From Your Desk

Simple moves you can do from the comfort of your own desk.


As the lunch hour slowly beckons, are you hunched over your desk and already feeling the strain of the day? We’ve called on the help of Orla Crosse of Performance Yoga Ireland to outline some simple moves you can do on a daily basis to benefit your posture and wellbeing. Nothing here will have you sticking your bum in the air in the direction of the accounts department – it’s all subtle stretching! if you’re still concerned, either rope the office in to joining you, find a quiet boardroom for five minutes – or just ignore the strange looks for the good of your body and mind! 


Orla writes: 

Let’s face it, we’re a laptop and tablet generation! I’m using a laptop to write this piece and know my ‘posture’ isn’t great – but I don’t sit like this 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I know I’d have neck and shoulder pain if I did. As a Chartered Physiotherapist and Yoga Instructor, neck and low back pain is without a doubt the most common symptom I treat.  The reason is often too much time spent at a desk.

Even if you have the best set up at work, the body isn’t built for sitting! Every muscle and joint in your body craves movement. When we are desk bound, the body has to hold a fixed movement for long periods of time. Where there’s little movement, stiffness can become an issue and eventually pain. Fear not! There is a lot you can do reduce any current pain you have and also to prevent problems arising in future.

Performance Yoga Ireland is all about movement and learning to move correctly to reduce pain and stiffness. It can benefit office workers not only physically but the calming effects of integrating breath with movement go a long way to de-stressing during the office day and focus for the tasks ahead.

Her are my Top Five Physiotherapy & Performance Yoga Ireland ‘Moves’ to help minimise the risk of desk related pain and stiffness.


     1 Seated Side Bend

Inhale and lift your arms overhead, taking hold of your left wrist with your right hand. On an exhalation, bend to the right. Stay there for three breaths. Come back up to vertical and change wrists. Exhale, and bend to the left. Stay there for three breaths. Inhale back up to a tall spine. Exhale, release your arms.

Office Yoga 1 Seated Side Bend

     2 Seated Hip Stretch

Sit tall, place your right ankle on your left knee. Inhale, as you exhale slowly move your chest forward and feel a good stretch in the outside of your right hip. Hold for 4-6 breaths and repeat on the opposite side.

Office Yoga 2 Seated Hip Stretch

     3 Seated Shoulder Opener and Back Extension

Circle your shoulders backwards a few times, rolling them up, back and down. On the fourth roll, interlace your fingers behind your back with your arms as straight as you are able to make them. On an inhalation, lift your chest, making a high backbend. Stay here and draw three full breaths into your body.

Office Yoga 3 Seated Shoulder Opener and Back Extension

     4 Standing Chair Twist

Place your right foot on the seat of a chair. Press the inside of your knee against the back of the chair. Firm your legs and belly to stabilize your lower back. Twist to the right and hold the back of the seat with your left hand. Place your right hand on your right hip. Inhale; lengthen the spine. Exhale; slowly turn the shoulders to the right, looking over your right shoulder. Progressively deepen the twist over 6 breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Office Yoga 4 Standing Chair Twist

     5 Seated Shoulder Blade Stretch

Stretch both arms out in front of you. Cross your right elbow over your left elbow then attempt to bring your palms together. (Yes it’s an unusual one!). Lift your elbows up away from your chest and slowly straighten your elbows away from your forehead. Feel the delicious stretch across the back of your shoulder blades and hold for 4-6 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.

Office Yoga 5 Seated Shoulder Blade Stretch

Orla Crosse is a Chartered Physiotherapist and Qualified Yoga Instructor. She is the founder of and lead instructor at Performance Yoga Ireland. Performance Yoga Ireland is the first of its kind in Ireland, merging scientific evidence based practice with traditional yoga. Based in Clonmel, Tipperary, Orla offers classes and workshops in Limerick, Cork and Dublin. If you would like Orla to come to your office to demonstrate a Performance Yoga Ireland Class please get in touch.