Sitting has been called the ‘new smoking’ with its detrimental effects on our health. Yet for many of us, sitting is an inevitable part of our daily routine. Whether its sitting at a desk working all day long or driving children from one activity to the next… it seems that sitting is almost unavoidable. Here is my favorite go-to yoga sequence for breaking up the long days sitting…
Seated Cat Pose:
Good For: Stretching the posterior neck, shoulders and postural muscles down either side of the spine. Gentle movement of the spine is helpful for the health of the spine and hydration to the intervertebral discs.
Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet on the ground, hip width apart. Hold onto the front of both knees with your hands. Tilt your pelvis back and draw the belly in as you curve the lower back, mid-spine and take your gaze to look towards your naval. Hold for 5 breaths, directing your inhalation to the back of your rib cage, to the space in between the shoulder blades.
Seated Cow Pose:
Good For: A gentle stretch for the abdominal muscles, the front of the chest and shoulders. Gentle movement of the spine is helpful for the health of the spine and hydration to the intervertebral discs.
Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet on the ground, hip width apart and hands on your knees. Tilt your pelvis forward, draw the belly and chest forward too. Glide your shoulder blades towards one another and take your gaze to look up. Hold for 5 deep breaths, breathing each inhalation deeply into the front of the chest. Feel your rib cage rise up and expand as your breath in. See if you can maintain some of that lightness even as you exhale.
Seated Side Stretch:
Good For: Stretching for the side waist and lower back muscles. Releasing tension in the muscles connecting one rib to the other and the shoulders.
Raise one arm above your head, bend at the elbow and bring your hand to the back of the neck/ upper back. With the other arm, bend the elbow and reach your hand up towards the top hand. Maybe interlace your fingers or hold onto your top. Lean to the side (away from the raised top arm). Take 5 breaths into your side body and repeat for the other side.
Good For: Releasing tension and stretching the muscles of the back and core as well as bringing gentle movement to the spine and hydration to the intervertebral discs.
Find a comfortable seat, with both feet on the ground and hip width apart. Bring one hand to the opposite knee and place the other hand behind you. Inhale as your lengthen through the spine. Exhale as you twist your upper body away from the hand resting on the knee. Take 5 deep breaths. Release and repeat for the other side.
This whole sequence only needs to take a a minute or two so it’s a really quick and easy way to break up the long hours sitting all day. Consistency is key to seeing and feeling change, so practice the sequence each day to feel the benefits to both your body and your mind.