Videos: Seated Yoga Poses

Try these moves on holiday car trips, at your desk, or on the couch.

Road trips can be a drag. After listening to your prepared playlist a few times and exhausting any car games you know, you inevitably start to get antsy. These long car rides are also tough on the body. Prolonged periods of sitting—or sleeping in awkward positions—will likely have you feeling stiff and sore by the time you reach your destination.

While periodically stopping to stand and walk around is ideal, these seated yoga poses can be a great in-car way to reduce both physical stress and boredom. Each pose relieves tension in the neck and back, all while keeping your seat belt on. The sequence also stretches the hips and gets blood flowing through your legs. Practice these on the couch, or at your desk, before taking them to the car.

Rag doll side bends

Reach both arms overhead, bend at the elbows, and link opposite arm to opposite elbow. Inhale through your spine, then, on an exhale, bend over to the right. Keep your chest open and turn your gaze upward. On an inhale, come back up straight, then exhale and bend to the left. Keep the spine long to keep the low back uncompressed. Repeat two or three times.

Figure-four stretch

Sit up tall, with feet firmly planted on the ground. Place the outside of your right ankle on your left knee. Flex your right foot into your left hand and bring your right hand to the right knee. Hinge forward slightly from the hips, leading with your chest. Take five deep breaths, then take the same stretch on the other leg. Breathe for five counts.

Neck stretch

Bring your hands to the base of your skull and interlace the fingers. Drop your chin to your chest and let your elbows fall by your ears. Don’t push; let the weight of your head and arms facilitate the neck stretch with no extra force from your muscles. Take five deep breaths.

Seated eagle

Sit up tall with feet planted. Start by bringing your left elbow underneath your right elbow; link. Raise the elbows to shoulder height and move the hands away from your face. Next, cross your left leg over your right. Come up onto the ball of your right foot, so that you can hook the left foot behind the right. If that is not accessible, just cross your legs. Breathe into your upper back for five breaths. Take the same pose on the other side. 

Seated twist

Start by sitting up straight, with each vertebrae stacked one over the other. Keep this alignment as your cross your left leg over your right. Bring your left arm straight overhead, with palm facing right, then start to twist to the right. Bring the top of the right hand to the inside of the left knee. Take five breaths. Take the same pose on the other side, by crossing the right leg over left. Bring the right arm straight overhead, with palm facing left. Twist to the left and bring the top of the right hand to the inside of the right knee. Hold for five breaths.