6 Yoga Poses to Combat Sitting All Day at Work
Get up and get out! Sitting around is worse for you than you might have ever thought! But, with some regular practice of yoga poses to combat sitting all day, you may be able to stop the damage in its tracks and maybe even reverse it.
What’s So Bad About Sitting All Day?
You hear it over and over again—how bad it is to sit at your desk or computer all day, every day. But you feel fine, so what’s the problem? How bad can it really be?
It turns out that being sedentary all day can be quite detrimental to your health. So much so that sitting is being called the “new smoking.” In 2018, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that sitting for long periods increased your chances of early death “by any cause.” Among the ailments listed as culprits of prolonged sitting: diabetes, obesity, tight legs and hips, weak glutes, rounded shoulders and neck issues, lower back pain, poor posture, cancers, heart problems, circulatory issues, imbalances, and even depression.
Benefits of Yoga Poses
There are more benefits to yoga besides the obvious mind-body connection you develop and the sense of peace and control. Some other great positives include:
- Strengthening weak core muscles
- Improving posture
- Reducing stress and depression
- Improving health markers across the board
- Increasing flexibility, mobility, and stability
- Improving your breathing
- Releasing tension from your body
- Combating the effects of sitting and a sedentary lifestyle
Do These Yoga Poses to Combat Sitting All Day
Even if you get up every 20 – 30 minutes, check and correct your posture frequently, workout outside of work, and generally otherwise live a healthy lifestyle, sitting is still horrible for you! How can you combat this type of damage to your body? Try including these yoga poses as part of your daily routine.
1. Forearm Plank
This is one of the best poses you can do to strengthen your entire middle. Start on your knees and put your hands, palms down on the ground, in line with your shoulders. Come down onto your forearms as you kick your legs straight out behind you, coming up onto your toes. Keep your body in a straight line and hold this position for 20 – 30 seconds at a time. Repeat. This will work your entire core as well as your posterior chain.
2. Low Lunge Pose with Locust Arms
This will help open up the hips and stretch out your shoulders and chest area. Start by standing with your feet together. With your right foot, take a giant step forward, allowing your left leg (the trailing leg) to fully straighten until the top of your left foot is on the ground behind you. Next, bring your arms behind your body and clasp your hands together to open up your chest and shoulders. Let your head float back and hold this pose for a count of ten. Return to the start and then repeat with the opposite leg forward.
3. Thread the Needle
This might look a little weird, but it’s mighty effective at combating the dangers of sitting and releasing the tension typically held in the neck and shoulders. Start on your hands and knees. Bring your right arm under your chest and “thread” it between your left hand and hip, placing your right shoulder and cheek on the ground. Feel a great stretch through your upper body, shoulders, and neck. Pull your arm back through to the start and then repeat the stretch on the opposite side.
4. Fish Pose
This may seem a little strange at first… until you try it. Then you’ll love the way it feels. Start by sitting on the ground and stretch your legs out straight in front of you with the toes pointed. Next, bring your hands to the sides of your body and slide them underneath your hips, together, with the palms down. Resting on your lower arms, lean back, arching your back toward the ceiling, until your head rests on the ground (or a block or firm pillow if the stretch feels too intense). Feel the tension leave your body as you breathe for a count of ten before returning to the seated position.
5. Cat-Cow with Reverse Wrist Stretch
Since your hands and wrists are probably doing the bulk of your work each day, why not treat them to the same great stretches as the rest of your body? Start on your hands and knees with your hands palms down, lined up under your shoulders. Next, lift your hands enough to twist them around so your fingers point toward your body with your wrists pointing away from your body. Resume the pose with cat/cow movements: breathe in, drop your head and arch your back upward; breathe out, lift your head up and back and press your stomach toward the floor, arching your back in the opposite direction than before. Do ten repetitions.
6. Yoga Squat
Also called “malasana,” this deep squat will open up stiff hips and help loosen up a cranky lower back, tight knees and hamstrings, and inflexible ankles. Start by getting into a wide stance with your feet and knees pointing outward. Press your palms together in front of you and slowly sink down into a squat. While in the squatting position, you can push your elbows against your inner knees to help widen your stance. Hold this pose for 20 seconds and then push back up through your heels to standing.
While you may view sitting as “relaxing,” think again. It’s more damaging than it seems and doing some easy yoga poses is the perfect solution. Take charge of your health and well-being by making these poses a regular part of your routine.