Fix the damage your desk job is doing to your body with this yoga sequence.
You’ve probably heard that sitting is the new smoking, according to health experts. Long periods of sitting have been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and even brain damage. This is bad news if you, like many Americans, have an office job that requires you to sit at a desk for 8 or more hours each day. Unfortunately there’s no way to avoid these prolonged hours at your desk, but there are ways to counter the effects through the practice of yoga.
Try the yoga poses below after a day at the office to effectively undo a day of sitting.
Standing Forward Fold
From the mountain pose, exhale forward hinging at the hips. Bend your knees enough to bring your palms flat to the floor and your head pressed against your knees. Feel your spine stretch in the opposite direction as you pull your head down and in and press your hips upward. Work on straightening your legs in order to deepen your stretch in the backs of your legs. Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths as you concentrate on pressing your belly into your thighs as you inhale.
If you spend a lot of time hunched over while sitting, this is a great pose to stretch your lower back and relieve any back pain. Start by lying on your stomach with your toes flat on the floor and your forehead resting on the ground. Make sure to keep your legs close together, with your feet and heels touching. Next, place palms on the floor straight under your shoulders while keeping your elbows parallel and close to your torso. Pull a long, deep breath in and slowly lift your head, chest and abdomen as you essentially try to keep your belly-button on the floor. Pull your torso back and off the floor with the support of your hands. Try to hold the pose 15 to 30 seconds as you breathe easily. As you exhale, release the pose and go back down to the floor.
Start out on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders (your fingers stretched apart and pointing toward the top of the mat) and your knees directly under your hips. Firm your hands down, pressing through the outer edges of your palm and your fingertips. Tuck your toes under keeping your feet hip distance apart. As you exhale, draw your belly-button back toward your spine, pressing the floor away from you as you lift your hips back and up to push yourself back into an upside-down V pose. At first, you can keep your knees bent slightly, but as you progress, you will need to straighten your legs. Press your upper arms toward each other with your shoulder blades down along your spine. Align your ears with your upper arms. Relax your head—don’t dangle it, however. Look between your legs or toward your belly-button and hold for 5-100 breaths.
This is a wonderful pose for your neck. It relaxes your neck muscles and improves postures, although it can be a hard pose for at first. Start by lying on your stomach and then grab your feet from behind to lift your legs and chest to form a “bow.” Stay in this position for as long as you can and then return to the starting position.
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All images courtesy of DailyHealthPost.com.