As we start a new semester and settle into new schedules, it is the perfect time to incorporate more variety into your routine. Yoga provides a way to de-stress in between classes, reconnect with your body and mind and keep yourself grounded throughout the semester. As a yoga instructor, I find a great deal of peace and joy in regular yoga practice. I have compiled several suggestions of poses that are particularly great during study breaks. These poses are intended to provide relief to students who tend to spend a great deal of time seated at a desk.

Sun Salutation

Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit, is the most common flow sequence. It involves moving from a Standing Pose (Mountain Pose/Tadasana) to a Downward-Facing Dog and Upward-Facing Dog. In traditional yoga practices, Sun Salutations are dedicated to the Hindu sun deity, Surya. This flow can be repeated as many times as you’d like and incorporated as transitions in between other poses and flows as well. Sun Salutations are a great way to stretch out the whole body, explore your range of movement and get your blood pumping. It can provide a welcome break from the monotony and stillness of working at your desk or sitting in a classroom.

Upward-Facing Dog

Upward-Facing Dog can be practiced as a stand-alone pose or as part of a Sun Salutations sequence. For this pose, you lay down in a prone position and lift your upper body off the floor, pushing through your arms, without lifting your legs off the floor. You can lift your upper body as far as feels comfortable for you. This is pose provides a deep stretch all along the back and reverses the direction in which we tend to hunch over, providing relief.

Supported Fish

This pose requires you to lay down on your back, with a block lined up underneath and parallel to your spine. Allow your body several minutes to melt around the block and fully accept the pose. It is highly relieving and relaxing and can even be done with a pillow and/or textbooks in place of a yoga block. This pose is great before going to bed for the night.

Wide-Legged Forward Bend

A Wide-Legged Forward Bend has you standing in a straddle position, folding your upper body toward the floor. This pose offers numerous variations including hinging at your hips and twisting one arm toward the sky, opening your shoulder and chest sideways or swaying back and forth in your forward fold. This stretch activates your legs and thighs which can often feel dormant after sitting in a chair for extended periods of time.

Other suggestions:


Warrior III

Camel Pose

Standing Side Bend

Seated Spinal Twist

We hope you enjoy these poses and your yoga practice!