Have you heard that sitting is the new smoking? Not nearly as stinky yet thought to be the new big concern in overall health.
According to the Washington Post, American adults sit an average of 6-½ hours a day.
For many of us, our work life centers around computers and we tend to stay in the same position far longer than we should. If you feel your shoulders rounding, heaviness in your head, pressure in your lower back, or a general feeling of rounded-down and hunched forward try these ten poses.
Some may be difficult to do in the middle of your office, but at least keep them in mind for when you get home!
1. Rag Doll with Chest Expansion
This pose allows for a release of tension in your lower back and also lengthens your spine. When you practice this pose, try to keep your weight forward in your toes.
When practicing cobra, bring your shoulders back and down, visualizing bringing your heart closer to the ceiling. Cobra is an energizing backbend and helps to reduce stress and fatigue in your shoulders and across the back of your neck. It also firms and tones the shoulders, abdomen, and buttocks, and helps to ease the pain of sciatica.
3. Child’s Pose
Stretches the lower back, opens the hips, ankles, side body, neck, and arms. Arm variations also help to release tension in your lower back. Try this pose with your arms stretched out in front of you — reaching forward with your fingers as you sink deeper with your hips. You can also try it on the pads of your fingertips — drop your head between your extended arms and rest your forehead on the ground.
Stretches your chest, neck, spine, and hips. It also strengthens your back, booty, hamstrings and improves blood circulation. Use a block for supported bridge, rest your arms over your head and bring your heart toward the ceiling. If you have another block, put it under your shoulders for more of a heart opener.
A deep stretch for the hamstrings, groins, and hips, Trikonasana also opens the chest and shoulders and helps relieve lower back pain. The cue to hear in your mind is turning your heart toward the ceiling as you reach one hand toward the floor and the other toward the sky. Visualize your feet ripping your mat apart as you ground your feet down into the earth.
Stretches the front of the body, particularly the throat, chest, abdomen, hip flexors, and the muscles between your ribs. Fish strengthens your upper back muscles and the back of your neck, which improves spinal flexibility and posture. Fish may give you some discomfort in your hips — if that happens, try a leg variation: Legs can be straight, in lotus, crossed in easy seat, or supported with props.
7. Extended Side Angle
Relieves stiffness in the shoulders and back. You can rest your one hand on the floor, your knee, or on a block as you reach your other arm toward the front of the house. Visualize getting your armpit as close to your nose as possible — you’re working on opening up your heart — the stretch that naturally occurs in your thighs, groin, and hips is just an added bonus!
Increases the flexibility of your neck, shoulders, and spine. The movement also stretches the muscles of the hips, back, abdomen, chest, and lungs. When held at its peak, cat releases tension of the upper back and neck. Push the floor away as you pull your hands closer to your knees. Really arch your back. Be dramatic — cats are!
Opens up the hips and stretches deep into your hip flexors. Be careful — camel isn’t everyone’s cup of tea… It’s easy to get dizzy or come up to fast. Camel stretches and strengthens your shoulders and back, expands the abdominal region, improves digestion, strengthens posture, opens your chest, improves respiration. It loosens up your vertebrae and relieves lower back pain. It’s probably worth being a little dizzy for!
10. Wild Thing
This pose offers a stretch for the chest, shoulders, and throat as well as the hip flexors and front legs. It also builds strength in the arms, shoulders, and upper back, and has an invigorating effect that can combat fatigue and mild depression. Wild thing… should make your heart sing. There is really no wrong way to do — get in there and give it a try!