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Jakarta Post

A simple guide to doing yoga at the office

  • Astrid Amalia

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Fri, December 19, 2014   /  11:56 am
A simple guide to doing yoga at the office

Discover simple ways to make the most of your office space for practicing yoga.

Nowadays, in hectic environments, many of us have no time for taking care of ourselves. Some of the sources of modern sickness are too much stress due to office work and traffic jams, the junk food we consume, and the lack of physical exercises. Hours of sitting at the office can also create poor posture and injuries.

Such a simple exercise as walking, for instance, becomes difficult to do in many communities in the Greater Jakarta area. The difficulty is often due to the impediments that arise in the form of food sellers and motorbikes that occupy the sidewalk, the pollution from the vehicles, and the dust in public places.   

What we can do now is maximize the office space we have. The office space is the new gym, a great place for doing exercises, especially since most of us have no time to go out to the fitness center.  

Looking at the modern office space full of cubicles, practicing simple yoga is the best exercise we can do. Yoga does not require a big space, as the space we need is only as big as the body. The office is also an ideal place for yoga as we can use the desk and the chair to support the practice.

Yoga can help reduce stress and heal stiffness in your neck, shoulders, back and legs. Yoga can improve concentration and heal aches and pains. It can also boost productivity, motivation, creativity and wellbeing.

Practicing can be a welcome break from deadlines and a time to focus on your own body, your breath and posture.

 This type of yoga is easy and simple and can be practiced by anyone. The things to remember when practicing this type of yoga are: make sure you loosen your clothes and remove the shoes so your body can move freely; don'€™t eat inside of an hour before the yoga practice. You also need to choose firm objects to support the exercises, such as a stable desk and a stable chair without wheels.

Here are practice steps you can try at the office using your chair:

Starter position: basic sitting posture to correct the spine  

Sit down halfway on your chair while lengthening your spine up without letting your back touch the seat backrest. Open your feet hip width apart. Press your feet firmly to the floor. Place your hands on your knees.

Pose 1: neck stretch to release neck tension

From your starter position, raise your left arm, grab your right ear and pull your head to your left shoulder. Relax both shoulders. Feel the stretch at the right side of your neck. After breathing for five to 10 rounds (one round is a full inhale and exhale), release your left hand and switch sides.

Pose 2: seated twist to stretch the back and the side of the body  

Back to your starter position. Turn your body to the left side. Grab the lower side of the backrest of your chair with your left hand and hold your left knee with your right hand. Lengthen your body each time you inhale and turn your body to the left side each time you exhale until you reach your maximum turn. Keep your chin in line with your heart. After 5 to 10 rounds of breathing, release the twist and switch sides.

Pose 3: seated backbend to stretch the shoulder and open the front side of body

Go back to the starter position. Grab the lower side of your seat backrest with both hands. Bend the elbows back, pull the shoulder back and push your chest and belly forward. Lean your head slightly back while keeping it not to drop back. Stay there for 5 to 10 rounds of breathing and release from the pose by returning your body to the center and releasing your hands from the backrest.

Pose 4: seated forward bend to open the chest and massage the belly

Return to your starter position. Interlace your hands behind your back. Pull your shoulder back and push your chest and belly forward. As you exhale, bend your body forward until your belly presses against your thighs and lift your hands up to the sky. Tilt your head down. Stay there for 5 to 10 breaths and release from the pose by lifting your head and your body and separating your hands.  

Pose 5: seated revolving side angle pose to open the shoulder and stretch the lower back

Back to your starter position. Bend your body forward, grab the inner side of your right ankle with your left hand and raise your right hand up in line with your right shoulder. Turn your head by looking at your right hand. After 5 to 10 rounds of breathing, release from the pose by lowering your right hand down, lift your body and switch side.  

Pose 6: seated hip opener to release the stiffness in the legs

Go back to your starter position. Grab your left ankle and place it on the top of your right knee. Place both of your hands at the lower side of the backrest of the chair. Pull the shoulders back and push the chest and belly forward. Press down your left knee toward the floor and arch the toes of your both feet facing to your shinbone. After 5 to 10 rounds of breathing, release from the pose by returning your body to the center, placing the left foot to the ground and switch side.   

After the session, your body will be thankful for the massage. You can go back to work feeling happy and with better concentration. If you practice office yoga regularly, you can feel the change of feeling in your body. Your officemates might also detect extra happiness in you, and you should encourage them to try it too. This can create a fun and pleasant work atmosphere. After all, yoga is simple, fun and interesting. Namaste.


The writer is a Certified Yoga Teacher and a Certified CranioSacral Therapist. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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