By any stretch of the imagination
Since all of the holidays – and we mean all of them – have come and gone, we can bet that you’re back to your regularly scheduled programming. You’re probably stationed at a desk for upwards of eight hours a day, hunched over a computer screen. Even if you have a slightly less stationary, sedentary job, we wouldn’t be surprised if you spend your off hours sitting on the sofa bingeing Netflix. Hey, we do it too sometimes!
And while these long stretches of time sitting are often inevitable they wreak total havoc on our posture and, in turn, contribute to that niggling back pain so many of us suffer. Luckily, however, there are a few simple stretches you can do every day to ensure you say “doei” to an aching spine, neck and shoulders for good.
Ready for some woga? Ok, ok so we guess maybe woga (work yoga) won’t become a thing, but it should! Anyway, here are our favourite desk-friendly yoga poses to make you feel like your spine is brand spankin new.
Seated heart opener. Now this one is pretty simple, and you might even get away with doing it without your colleagues noticing. Whilst sitting in your chair, grab your opposite elbows behind your back. This will both train you to sit in an optimal position and ease some discomfort. It opens your chest and broadens your collarbone.
Side bend. It is very important to lengthen the spine to improve your posture, and side bending does just that. It also helps to release the muscles that connect your femur to your lumbar vertebrae, as well as your shoulders. Sit up straight in your chair and interlace your fingers. Raise them above your head with your palms stretching toward the ceiling. Lean from right to left, with your bum planted firmly in your chair and holding for about five breaths on each side.
Figure four. When you sit all day, your lower back and hips become incredibly tight. When you engage in the figure four pose, you will be able to release some of that tightness. When you are sitting in your desk chair, edge slightly forward as far as you can go, sitting with a straight spine. Rest your right ankle on your left thigh, allowing the outer hips to relax. If you want to deepen the stretch, gently press the inside of your right thigh. Hold this for ten breaths and then switch legs.
Forward fold. Wait what? We want you to round your spine…on purpose? That’s right! Though it may seem strange, doing a forward fold will actually provide immense relief to the back if you have bad posture. Plant your feet hip-width apart and slowly fold forward, at first keeping your back straight. When you reach your knees (or between your legs if you’re flexible), allow yourself to round down and release your lumbar spine. Stay in this pose for ten breaths and feel the release!