24/09/2010 11:17 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Desk Yoga - Easy Poses For Destressing At Work

Long days in the office, glued to a computer, inevitably put pressure on the neck, shoulders and back.

When you don't have the time - or energy – to go the gym, try this three-step yoga sequence at your desk. It can help make you feel less stiff, prevent RSI, and revitalise you, ready to whizz through the afternoon on a productivity high.


1. Breathing deep
"We often breathe much too shallow. By practicing deep and slow breathing, you calm the nervous system and the body and mind relax in response" explains London-based yoga teacher, Isabella Nietzche.

Start and finish your desk yoga sequence with a few moments focusing on your breath.

Roll your chair away from the desk so that you have space in front of you. Sit upright, both feet in the floor, hands relaxed on your belly.

Close your eyes and keep your focus on the rhythm of your breath. Inhale through the nose and allow your abdomen to expand fully.

Exhale through the mouth and feel the abdomen contract. Repeat ten to 20 times.

2. Neck stretches and shoulder rolls

"These movements lengthen and stretch the neck; relieving tension that comes when we unconsciously draw up our shoulders when typing" says Isabella.

Sit upright. Exhale and drop your right ear to the right shoulder (avoid lifting the shoulder up). Gaze straight ahead or slightly down. Hold for five to ten breaths and then change sides.

Having done both sides, inhale, and lift your right shoulder to your ear. Exhale, and slowly roll your shoulder around and back, dropping it away from your ear.

Do the other side. Then repeat a few times.

3. Seated back and forward bend
"These postures help ease tensions in the upper and lower back which can develop from regular sitting and slouching" says Isabella.

Sit up straight. Inhale and bring hands above the arms above your head, palms facing each other. Exhale and gently lean back and allow the spine to arch slightly. Look up. Hold for a few breaths, and come back gently on an exhale.

Interlace your fingers behind your back. Straighten the arms. Fold forward from the waist, bringing your interlaced hands over your back. Rest your chest on your thighs and release your neck.

Stay for a few breaths and come up with a straight back - avoid rounding too much at any time.

4. Go back to the beginning
At the end of your session repeat the first breathing exercise and keep your awareness centred for a few moments. When you're done, drink some water, and mentally give yourself a pat on the back. We reckon you deserve one.

Do you do any DIY exercise to destress at work?