shoulders yoga Apr 03, 2023
Seated yoga for tense shoulders

If you spend any time sitting at a desk, working on a laptop, or hunched over your phone, I’m sure you’ll be familiar with that tight, achy, tense feeling that develops in your shoulders and neck by the end of the day.

So, in this blog post, I’m sharing a quick and easy seated yoga routine that can help you release that tension from your shoulders. The beauty of this routine is that it can be done while you’re sitting at your desk, so you can do it at any point during your working day.

The full sequence takes just four minutes too, so this is ideal for those days when you are just too busy to grab time for a full movement break.

Hopefully, doing these stretches will also help you to be more mindful of your posture while you work. When we’re on screens all day we tend to hunch forward, which creates strain in the shoulders, neck, and upper back. 

These exercises help to counteract that hunched posture and encourage us to find a more neutral position for our shoulders.

And, of course, releasing tension from your shoulders also helps your face. Tightness in the upper body can easily cause tension in the neck and jaw too – after all, everything is connected.

You don’t need any props for this routine. Just work to your own level with everything and make sure you listen to your body.

Let’s get started.


We’re going to begin with some shoulder rolls to start to release tension and get everything moving a bit more freely. Bring your shoulders up, back, down, and forward. Keep going with that motion for around 30 seconds.

As you circle your shoulders, focus on taking long, deep breaths through your nose. Let your abdomen rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale.

Then, reverse the circles, working back, up, forward, and down.


Next, take a big inhale through your nose as you bring your shoulders up towards your ears, as high as you can get them. Once you are all the way up at the top, let your shoulders drop quickly down as you sigh out forcefully through your mouth.

Imagine all that tension leaving your body with your breath. Repeat this five or six times. 


Bring your shoulders back into a neutral position then stretch your arms out diagonally behind you like two big wings. Interlace your fingers and squeeze your shoulder blades towards each other.

You should feel a delicious stretch across the front of your shoulders as this pose encourage your chest to open up. 

If your neck feels comfortable to do so, start to gently turn your head from side to side, keeping your arms in their stretched backward position.

This starts to release some of that tightness and tension from the neck area as well. 

Most of us spend so much time hunched over screens that it starts to feel natural to us. And then it can feel like hard work when we work with poses that counteract that forward, rounded posture. 

But the more we practice coming into chest openers like this, the easier it will feel and the better our posture will be too.

After around a minute, release your arms back down.


Next, take a deep inhale through your nose as you reach your arms up towards the ceiling. Bring your palms together into prayer at the top, then draw them down the centre line of your body as you exhale through your nose.

Continue to repeat this action for around a minute. As you do it, visualise gathering energy and bringing it down through your body, through all your chakras. 

Picture that energy filling your body with positivity and vitality, releasing tension and stress as it moves down through your chakras.


This is our final technique. Bring your right arm straight across your body. Then bend your left arm up and use your forearm to pull your right arm closer towards your torso.

You should feel a lovely stretch across your shoulder as you hold this pose. Remember to continue to breathe in and out through your nose, making sure to take long, deep inhales and exhales.

After around 30 seconds, release your arms and then repeat this pose on the other side. 


Release your arms back down and we are all done! Hopefully, your shoulders now feel looser and less tense.

This is a great practice to come back to throughout your working day whenever you start to feel that tension creeping back into your shoulders and upper body. If you’d like a video guide to this routine, you can find one over on my YouTube channel. 

Don’t forget to hit subscribe while you’re there!

Obviously, if you spend most of your working day sitting at a computer, this is a wonderful routine to have to hand to release tight shoulders. But it is also useful for those of us who are out and about a bit more.

Even if you spend a chunk of your day seeing clients, running workshops, or offering wellness therapies, you’ll probably be clocking a decent amount of screen time in between. You may not be spending long hours in front of a computer, but those few minutes on the laptop or replying to emails on your phone can add up too.

I know it’s the case for me – although my working days are varied, I still need to be in front of a screen regularly. And I’m dedicated to making self-care practices like yoga a regular part of my working day to make sure I’m still taking care of my physical and mental health even when I’m busy.

That’s one of the reasons I was inspired to offer the Soul Purpose Business course bundle, my comprehensive video course bundle for wellness entrepreneurs. Not only do I share all the tips and advice that I’ve learnt from over 17 years of building a highly successful wellness brand, but I also show you how you can do the same without compromising on your own health and wellness.

You can find out more about the course bundle and what is included over on the Soul Purpose Business website