It’s not unusual to spend most of the day sitting down. When working in an office, many of us spend the day hunched in front of a computer. When it’s time to head home, we get in the car and then spend the evening in front of the TV. Although we can make a conscious effort to get up and move, the options are limited during work hours. If your workplace allows it, you could request a standing desk. Alternatively, you could replace your desk chair with a yoga ball.
Another way to minimise the damage caused by sitting is to practice yoga. Certain postures can help your back, neck and legs to recover after a long day at the office. Better still, they are super simple to practice! All you need to get started is a comfortable pair of yoga leggings. In this article, we explore the best yoga poses for people who sit all day.
The first posture in the sequence is Cat-Cow Pose, which is actually two different poses that you flow between. Stretching the back, this posture helps to combat the stiffness associated with sitting at a desk.
To practice the asana, begin on all fours with your shoulders above your wrists and your hips above your knees. Next, inhale deeply, arching your back towards the ground as you do so. You are now in Cow Pose. Hold the position for around 5 breaths before exhaling. As you breathe out, tuck your chin into your chest and arch your back towards the ceiling. You are in Cat Pose. Alternate between the two stretches for around 2 minutes.
In yoga, there are many different spinal twists. This version is designed specifically for those sitting at a desk. Simple to practice, this asana can be used during the working day to undo some of the damage. Better still, you don’t even need to leave your chair!
To practice the asana, begin by sitting in a chair. Next, lengthen your spine and sit up straight. When you’re ready, move your right arm across your chest and place your hand on your left shoulder. Next, move your right hand back to grab the back of the chair. Allow your body to twist around as you gaze over your left shoulder. You are in Spinal Twist. Hold the position for around 30 seconds before returning to an upright position and repeating the twist on the other side.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend is another great posture for people who spend the day sitting. As well as tightness in the back, you may experience tight legs from sitting. This asana stretches the hamstrings and calves to soothe tight leg muscles.
To practice Wide-Legged Forward Fold, sit down on the mat with your legs apart. Keeping your knees straight and toes pointing towards the ceiling, place your hands out in front of you. Next, slowly lower your torso towards the mat. If necessary, rest your hands on the floor for support. Finally, ensure that your back is straight. You are now in Wide-Legged Forward Fold. Hold the asana for around 30 seconds before releasing the stretch.
A firm favourite of many yogis, Downward Dog stretches the entire body. Specifically, the posture stretches the feet and legs whilst strengthening the back. While the pose may look simple, it’s important to use proper alignment to avoid injury.
To practice the asana, stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the waist and slowly lower your upper body forward until your body forms a triangle. Your hands and feet should now be securely on the ground. If your shoulders or hamstrings feel too tight for the pose, try bending your knees slightly to make the posture easier. Spreading your fingers for additional balance, move your head forward until it’s in-between your upper arms. You are in Downward Dog. Hold the asana for around 30 seconds whilst concentrating on your breathing.
Tree Pose is designed to improve your balance by strengthening the legs and spine. Although it may seem tricky at first, your balance during this posture will improve with time. To keep steady, focus on a stationary object throughout the pose.
To practice the asana, begin by standing tall with your feet together. Touch your big toes together, leaving half an inch of space between your heels. Next, bring your palms together in front of your chest and engage your abdominal muscles. Slowly shift your weight onto your right foot, rooting it down by pressing firmly through the ball of your heel and big toe. Gently lift your left foot off the ground, bending the knee as you do so. When you’ve established a sense of balance, place your left foot on the inside of your right thigh. You are in Tree Pose. Hold the posture for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Whether you spend the day hunched over a desk or stuck in the car, practice yoga to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with sitting. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to attend a yoga class before practising independently. There, an instructor can advise you on the best way to perform each posture. Not only will correct form improve the benefits of the pose, but it will also minimise the chances of injury. Before your first class, pick up some good-quality yoga clothes. If you’re heading to the studio straight from work, use a spacious yoga bag to transport your gear back and forth.