Yoga for Back Pain Relief at Your Desk: 3 Chair Poses to Ease Stiffness

4 Min Read


Yoga for Back Pain Relief at Your Desk: 3 Chair Poses to Ease Stiffness


Prolonged sitting can lead to significant back pain for many individuals. However, altering habitual postures overnight can be challenging, contributing to the persistence of back discomfort. Fortunately, certain yoga poses performed while seated in a chair can offer relief.

1. Forward Fold

Known as “Paschimottanasana,” the forward fold “lengthens the entire spine, from the lumbar to the cervical vertebrae,” explains yoga instructor Amelia Rodriguez. “It also provides a gentle inversion, where your head is below your heart, which can alleviate compression on the spine.”


  • Sit up straight in a chair or on a sofa, with both feet flat on the floor.
  • Exhale and fold forward at the hips.
  • Allow your head to hang heavy, with the crown pointing towards the floor.
  • Place your arms beside your legs or use them to gently massage your neck.
  • Relax and breathe deeply in the fold, holding for as long as comfortable before releasing (approximately one to two minutes).

2. Modified Lord of the Fishes

This yoga posture, also known as “Ardha Matsyendrasana,” involves a spinal twist. According to Rodriguez, in addition to decompressing the spine, twists “open up your shoulders and chest, benefit digestion, and are known to boost energy.”


  • Sit up and cross your left leg over your right, placing your left ankle on the outside of your right knee.
  • Bring your right hand to the outside of your left thigh and turn your head to the left.
  • As you exhale, press gently on your right hand to rotate your upper body towards the left.
  • You may also grab the armrest of the chair or sofa with your left hand for additional leverage.
  • This pose can provide near-instantaneous relief without even holding it. Aim to hold for five to fifteen seconds to fully relax the spine. Repeat on the opposite side.

3. Seated Cat-Cow

The seated cat-cow, also known as “Marjaryasana-Bitilasana,” involves flexing and extending the thoracic spine. “Many of us tend to round our thoracic spine when sitting at a desk,” Rodriguez explains. “This pose helps reverse that rounding.” While typically performed on the floor, the yoga instructor notes that it can be modified using a chair.


  • Sit with both feet flat on the floor and your buttocks towards the front edge of the seat.
  • As you inhale, move into Cow Pose by arching your back and pushing your heart forward.
  • As you exhale, round your spine into Cat Pose, drawing your chin to your chest and your heart towards your navel.
  • Repeat the inhale-exhale sequence slowly, five to ten times, and feel the tension in your back release.


By incorporating these three chair yoga poses into your routine, you can effectively alleviate back pain while seated for prolonged periods. Listen to your body and rest when necessary. Regular practice will help you maintain spinal health and reduce the discomfort associated with sitting.


Amelia Rodriguez, Certified Yoga Instructor

Credit and Rights:

OMG I Yoga


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