Feeling creaky and stuck after too many long hours hunched over at your desk?
Ease your body through this quick beginner-friendly sequence from studio BE faculty member Rachel Meyer. This chair yoga practice is designed to loosen tense shoulders and relieve an aching lower back.
You can practice via the pose descriptions below or via this 10-minute on-demand recording from our virtual studio.
Hold each pose for 5-10 full breaths. As always, feel free to modify anything that doesn’t feel safe in your body today. Most importantly, remember to be gentle with yourself — and don't take yourself (or your yoga practice) too seriously.
Sit upright on the edge of your chair with your feet on the floor about hip distance apart. Take a gentle twist to your right, placing one hand on the chair behind you and the other on the outside of your right thigh. Inhale to lengthen your spine, and exhale to deepen your twist. Grow tall through the crown of your head. Stay for 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Seated Forward Fold with Shoulder Opener
Sit upright on the edge of your chair with your feet on the floor about hip distance apart. Fold forward so your chest makes contact with your thighs. Reach back and interlace hands behind your back (or use a strap, towel, or sock to get this grip). Relax your jaw, breathe in and out through your nose, and stay here for 10 breaths.
Downward Dog, Desk-Variation
Stand next to your desk (about arms’ length away) with your feet hip distance apart. Reach your arms forward so your hands rest on the top edge of the desk, and lower your chest so it is parallel to the floor. Bring your ears in line with your biceps. Bend your knees as much as you need to to keep your hamstrings safe. Inhale to lengthen your spine, and exhale to deepen your fold. Stay for 10 breaths.
Sit upright on the edge of your chair with your feet on the floor about hip distance apart. Place your hands on your thighs so your elbows bend comfortably. As you inhale, take Cow Pose by expanding your chest forward and gently guiding your shoulders back, so your spine is curved in a gentle backbend. As you exhale, take Cat Pose by drawing your belly and chest inward, hunching your shoulders forward, and arching your back like a Halloween cat. Take 10 slow rounds.
Seated Figure 4
Sit upright on the edge of your chair with your feet on the floor about hip distance apart. Pick up your right ankle and place it on top of your left thigh, just above your knee, and let your right knee fall open to the right. When you look down, you might see a triangle between your legs. Flex your right foot. Place your hands on the desk or on your hips. Inhale to lengthen your spine, and exhale to fold forward. Hold for 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Seated Side Stretches
Sit upright on the edge of your chair with your feet on the floor about hip distance apart. Widen your stance and turn your toes outward a bit, heels in. Lean your left forearm onto your left thigh, and reach your right arm at a diagonal over your head for side stretch. Stay here for 10 breaths. Use an inhale to come back to center. Repeat on the other side.
Guest post by studio BE Vice President Rachel Meyer
Rachel Meyer is an American writer and yoga teacher based in Switzerland. She draws from her roots in musical theater, theology, and the arts to teach a wholehearted, vigorous vinyasa. Rachel teaches at B.Yoga Basel and the Braswell Arts Center and serves as Vice President of Business Development (Europe) for studio BE. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, On Being, Yoga Journal, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Yoga International, Parents, HuffPost, and more. Prior to moving to Basel, Rachel taught for a decade in premier studios in San Francisco, CA; Portland, OR; and Boston, MA.
Learn more at www.rachelmeyeryoga.com or on social media @rachelmeyeryoga.
Feature photo by fizkes/Adobe Stock