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Stretch At Your Desk: 6-Minute Chair Yoga

Updated: May 28

Did you know staying active and incorporating movement into your day is just as important as working out?

According to the CDC, living a sedentary life can put you at risk of becoming obese, developing diabetes, cancer, high blood cholesterol, heart disease, and other health problems.

Physical activity benefits nearly every organ in our bodies, including the heart and lungs.

chair yoga
Stretch At Your Desk: 6-Minute Chair Yoga

As a health coach, I believe staying active is essential to good health. Being physically active doesn't always mean going to the gym or running outdoors.

If you can't find time to work out or can't afford a personal trainer, there are some great exercises you can do that only require the chair you're sitting on.

Chair yoga is a practice focused on flexibility and strength training using only your body weight and a chair.

In just six minutes every day, you'll be able to improve posture and increase circulation while seated in your chair at the office or home.

Table of Contents

6-Minute Chair Yoga

Follow along and do some chair yoga with me:

Below are step-by-step instructions on how to do three chair yoga stretches.

Forward Fold

How to do a seated forward fold:

  • Inhale.

  • Lengthen up, nice and tall.

  • As you exhale, let your chest rest on your thighs as you forward fold

  • Folding at your hips with a nice flat back.

  • Release your head and your neck over your legs.

  • Take 3-5 breaths (inhale and exhale through your nose) in the folded position.

  • As you exhale, once you've finished, slowly roll up one vertebra at a time.

  • Release your neck and your head last.

Spinal Twist

How to do a spinal twist in your chair:

  • Bring your right hand to the arm of your chair if you have an arm. If not, you can bring it to the outside of your chair or thigh

  • Put your left hand on the front part of your chair or your knee

  • Inhale and lengthen up.

  • Exhale open towards the right side.

  • Take 2-3 breaths here.

  • On your next exhale, gently come back through the center.

  • Repeat on the other side.

Back Bend/ Back Stretch

How to do a backbend/ stretch your back:

  • Keep your hands either on your thighs

  • Inhale and lengthen up.

  • As you exhale, gently look up towards the ceiling or the back corner of your room.

  • Take 2-3 breaths here.

  • Gently shift your gaze back to the center/ looking forward.

What to do next?

Now that you know how to practice some chair yoga, the next thing to do is add it to your schedule more regularly.

If you can't find time for an entire workout, take some of the stretches from this guide and incorporate them into your daily routine. You can also try experimenting with different combinations of stretches at your desk.

Since chair yoga has so many benefits, we encourage everyone—not just those sitting at a desk all day—to try it!

If you want to know more exercises you can do at your desk, check out this Stretch at Your Desk article.

Chair Yoga FAQs:

What is chair yoga exercise?

Chair yoga exercise is a way to stretch, strengthen and relax your body while sitting in a chair. It's perfect for people who don't have the time or energy to get out of their seats but want to stay active.

What is chair yoga good for?

Chair yoga can improve posture, flexibility, proprioception, and strength [1]. It can also help with circulation and mental health, but it's primarily focused on physical health.

The stretching in chair yoga reduces pain and increases the range of motion in those who practice it regularly. It can improve sleep quality and digestion as well as reduce stress levels.

Is chair yoga as good as yoga?

Yes, chair yoga is as good as yoga. If you are starting to practice yoga, chair yoga is a great option. It allows you to reap the physical and mental benefits of traditional yoga [2] while making your experience more accessible and convenient.

How does chair yoga improve posture?

Chair yoga improves your posture because it helps strengthen and stretch the muscles that support your spine. As a result, you can sit up straighter for extended periods without pain.

The upper back and neck are often used as support structures in poor posture—for example, leaning on your elbows when reading or working at a computer. Chair yoga strengthens these areas so they won't tire out so quickly while doing everyday tasks like typing or reading emails.

Is chair yoga safe?

Chair yoga is safe for people of all ages. However, it's not a complete substitute for regular yoga. If you want to incorporate more than just stretching at your desk, you can add chair yoga into your daily routine and then move on to traditional yoga for more advanced forms. As with all physical activity, ask your doctor or physical therapist before beginning a new routine.

Who can practice chair yoga?

You can practice chair yoga regardless of age, fitness level, or condition. As with all physical activity, ask your doctor or physical therapist before beginning a new routine.

Chair yoga is especially good for people who want to start a yoga practice but have physical limitations that prevent them from doing traditional floor poses. It is a great way to reduce stress, improve posture and relieve back pain.


Alexa Hanshaw

About the Author

Alexa Hanshaw

Co-Author: Irish Doton

Alexa Hanshaw is a health and stress management coach who helps women be the CEO of their stress. She empowers her clients to push past the confusion of the health and wellness industry to create lifestyle habits that bring them energy and work with their bodies instead of against it.

Join her free Facebook group, Be the CEO of Your Stress and follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube for quick, easy & healthy tips on stress, health, fitness, nutrition, sleep, and how to stay mindful!

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