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Try chair yoga: a gentle working from home workout

Physiotherapist at Bupa UK
27 March 2020

Across the country, millions of people are adjusting to working from home regularly due to the coronavirus. Many of us are also discovering that being at home doesn't have to mean being inactive, with home workout routines proving hugely popular.

Another fantastic way to fit exercise into your day – and one that you can even do while sat at your computer – is chair yoga. Why not take five minutes to give it a go? You can follow along to the video below or the written steps.


Yoga poses in this video

Part one – sat at your chair

To start, sit in your chair with your feet hip-width apart and your knees in line with your hips. Place your hands on your knees and practise some deep-breathing. This will help to activate your abdominal (tummy) muscles.

A photo of a female physiotherapist sat on a chair with her arms resting on her lap

Place your hands on either side of your head and then twist your upper body to face the side, but only go as far as feels comfortable. Hold for a few moments and then twist to face the other side.

A photo of a female physiotherapist sat down, with her hands behind her head and her torso turned to one side, alongside the caption 'position one, thoracic rotations'

Contract inwards from your tummy letting your chin drop down towards your chest. Hold and then sit up tall – eye line lifted and back slightly arched.

A photo of a female physiotherapist sat down and leaning forward, with the caption 'position two, cat and cow'

A photo of a female physiotherapist, sat on a chair with her arms resting and her chest lifted: the caption reads 'position two, cat and cow'

Move your feet apart, opening your legs as wide as possible.

A photo of a female physiotherapist, sat on a chair with her legs apart: the caption reads 'position three, rag doll' 

Slowly fold down through your spine until your head is suspended between your legs. As you do this, bring your arms into position. Then swing gently from one side to the other feeling the stretch in your lower back. Again, only go as far as is comfortable.

A photo of a female physiotherapist sat down, with her body leaning forward so her head is between her legs

When you're done, come back to the centre, roll up and relax your arms.

Slide your hand down the inside of your calf, lean to one side and bring your other arm up and over your head. Gently ease into the stretch and then come back to the centre and repeat on the other side.

A photo of a physiotherapist sat on a chair and leaning to one side. with the caption 'position four, side flexes'

Now circle your arms lifting them forward, up and round. You may want to start with smaller circles.

A photo of a female physiotherapist lifting her arms above her head in a circular motion, with the caption 'position five: circular arms'

A photo of a female physiotherapist squatting with her arms extended upwards from the elbow

Bring your feet back together, lift one foot up, and place it over the other thigh, rest it there and feel the stretch in your glutes (bottom muscles). If you want to, lean forward to deepen the stretch. Repeat on the other side.

A photo of a female physiotherapist, sat down with one leg raised and place on top of the other, with the caption 'position six, pidgeon pose'

Part two – standing next to your chair

For this next part, you'll need to stand by the side of your chair. Move any obstacles out of the way and adjust the position of your chair if you need to.

Draw your foot up along the inside of your calf and then open and close your leg.

Make sure that you're rotating your leg from your hip joint and not twisting your whole body. Use the chair for support if you need to. Repeat on the other side.

A photo of a female physiotherapist, balancing against a chair with one leg slightly raised against the other: the caption says 'position seven, tree pose'

Stand so that your fingertips are just in reach of your chair. Squat planting the pressure through your heels and pushing back up through your glutes.

A photo of a female physiotherapist squatting with her arms against a chair, and the caption 'position eight, squats'

Using the back of your chair for support, lean forward and stretch out your back.

As you stretch, gently transfer the weight through your left arm and then through your right to get a deeper stretch. Drop down to the floor and then slowly roll up through your spine.

A photo of a female physiotherapist leaning forward at a right angle against a chair

A photo of a female physiotherapist leaning forward to touch the floor, preparing to stand up

Want to learn more about yoga? Try these other yoga blogs


Finally, if you’re looking for more ways to do mini-exercise sessions at your desk, why not give these fantastic desk stretches a go?

Lucie O’Shaughnessy
Physiotherapist at Bupa UK

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