Many people work desk jobs, which typically equates to a sedentary lifestyle despite being super productive during your eight to 10-hour shift. Beyond being compared to smoking or cancer, sitting all day can lead to sore hips and a knotted back.
While there isn’t much to be done at work, aside from purchasing a better chair or a standing desk, you can improve your health and wellness outside of the office. Yoga is one activity that is surprisingly helpful when it comes to relieving sore muscles and stiff joints. The focus on breathing, stretching, and slow and controlled movements are the key to relaxing your body and finding relief. While all yoga is beneficial, several moves can help ease a rigid desk chair body.
1. Standing Forward Fold
The forward fold can help relieve compressed muscles by slowly stretching them. It is a simple move but quite effective when performed correctly. You want to stand with your feet slightly apart, about hips-width. With your hands on your hips, inhale deeply and stretch your arms straight out above you. As you exhale, you want to bend at the hips, folding forward and engaging your abs. Tuck your chin to your chest and relax your shoulders as you extend the top of your head toward the floor, stretching your spine. You want to keep your legs as straight as possible and shift your weight forward. You can either let your hands hang down toward the floor or grab the opposite elbow. Hold the pose for 30 seconds before slowly returning to an upright position.
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2. Downward Facing Dog
The downward-facing dog pose focuses on strengthening all those areas that are stiff or sore from sitting all day: shoulders, back, hamstrings, and calves. To perform the pose, start on your hands and knees, your hands should rest on the floor beneath the shoulders, and your knees aligned with your hips. Inhaling, tuck your toes under your heels, and exhaling, lift your hips into an upside-down V shape. Spreading your fingers wide, create a line from your elbow to your middle finger on each side. Relax your head. Hold for 30 seconds.
Try to improve your posture every time you perform this pose. Work on lowering your heels to the ground and straightening your legs for the best possible stretch.
3. Cat-Cow Pose
The shoulders, chest, and spine tend to be the most affected by sitting all day. The Cat-Cow pose is a way to open up these areas while mobilizing the spine. Start in the same position as the downward dog pose, on your hands and knees, each aligned under the shoulders and the hips, respectively. Inhale deeply, and on the exhale, you want to pull your belly button up toward the spine, curving your back toward the ceiling. Allowing your neck to relax, bring your chin toward your chest. You are now in the cat position.
As you inhale, let your belly drop toward the floor and arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone toward the ceiling without straining your neck. You are now in the cow position.
Cycle through each position 10 times, controlling your breathing and focusing on posture. Remember to limit tension on the neck. These poses are intended to focus on the back, shoulders, and chest.
While yoga has many benefits overall, these three positions offer significant benefits to those who sit at a desk all day. What are some poses you would suggest? Leave a comment.