Nowadays, the average person sits for over 12 hours each day, according to the Annals of Internal Medicine. In other words, over half of the typical American’s day is spent sitting at a desk at work, sitting in a car on the way to and from work, or sitting on the couch watching TV or scrolling through social media. It’s no secret that these long hours of sitting aren’t healthy for you, as sitting too much is positively correlated with heart disease, muscle degeneration, increased risk of cancer, weak bones, obesity, neck, back and shoulder pain, and so much more.
Fortunately, these detrimental effects can be combatted with some simple yoga poses. So, even if you are required to work at a desk for long hours each day, you can still keep your body healthy by bringing movement to your spine, lubricating your vertebral disks, loosening stiff and sore muscles, and strengthening them with a little yoga after work. Here are 6 yoga poses for people who sit at a desk all day.
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Begin in a tabletop position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart. Then, tuck your toes under and slowly straighten your legs and arms, reaching your hips to the sky while pressing your heels towards the floor. Make sure that your spine remains in a neutral, straight position. At this point, you should be making an inverted “V” shape. Try to press your chest towards your thighs and plant your heels on the ground for a more intense stretch. Hold for at least a minute.
The downward-facing dog pose
- Reduces tension in the shoulders
- Relaxes the neck
- Stretches the muscles along back of the legs and shoulders
- Lengthens the spine
- Strengthens back muscles
- Increases blood flow to the brain
Supine Abdominal Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)
Begin this pose by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet planted on the floor. Outstretch your arms on both sides of you to form a “T” shape. Lift your feet off the ground and draw your knees towards your chest, then, slowly let your knees fall to your left side. For a deeper stretch, turn your head towards your right side, keeping your neck relaxed and eyes towards the sky. Hold for at least a minute and then repeat on the other side.
The Supine Abdominal Twist
- Eases neck and back tension
- Stretches hips and spine
- Rotates the spine
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Child’s Pose is a common favorite for its relaxing and restorative effects. For this pose, sit down with your legs folded underneath you. Keep your toes touching, but spread your knees apart and rest your chest between your thighs. If this is too uncomfortable, place a pillow between your thighs and rest your chest on the pillow instead. Extend your arms out in front of you and breathe deeply. Rest in the pose for at least a minute.
Holding a Child’s Pose can
- Ease the mind and release stress
- Stretch the back, hips, thighs, ankles, and shoulders
- Reduce fatigue and relax the muscles on the front of the body
Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitiasana)
Similar to the Downward-facing Dog pose, begin this pose in a tabletop position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart. Make sure your shoulders are directly over your wrists and that your hips are directly over your knees. Slowly exhale and draw your navel towards your spine, while tucking your chin to your chest and rounding your back. When you inhale, untuck your chin and look forward, while moving your stomach downwards and lifting your chest, creating a small arch in your back. Continue to sync these motions with your breathing and alternate positions several times.
The Cat-Cow Pose
- Moves the spine through its full range of motion
- Engages and stretches back and abdomen muscles
- Helps to decompress spinal discs
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
This pose is perfect for counteracting a long day of hunching over a desk and computer. For this pose, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bring your hands over your head with your palms facing each other and gently lean backwards while breathing deeply. Tilt your head slightly backwards to look at your hands.
- Improves posture
- Steadies breathing
- Increases strength in feet, legs, and hips
- Strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles
- Expands chest muscles
Sitali Breathing is a perfect way to close out your day, destress, and relax. To perform this exercise, start by sitting either on the floor in a crossed-legged position or in a chair with your eyes closed. Make sure you have good posture by sitting up straight. Stick your tongue out of your mouth and curl the outer edges to form a “straw.” Deeply breathe in through the mouth, drawing the air across your tongue; bring the tongue back into your mouth; close it, and exhale through your nose. Continue this rhythmic pattern for at least three minutes, keeping your eyes closed the entire time.
Sitali Breathing helps to
- Relieve tension in the body and mind
- Relieve stress and anger
- Balances and clears the mind
- Calms anxiety
Destress After Work with Our Fun, Relaxing Yoga Classes!
Not only is yoga exceptionally helpful in combatting the negative effects of constant sitting at a desk job, but it is also the perfect, fun way to destress as well. Our yoga classes in Smithfield, NC are designed to specifically target the muscles affected by continuous sitting, alleviate pain, strengthen your muscles, and leave you feeling relaxed and at ease. Contact us today to sign up for your yoga classes; we would love to see you there.