We’ve all heard how too much sitting can take a toll on your health and well-being. Even sitting for twenty minutes at a time can really do a lot of damage. As someone who spends a lot of time on the computer, I’ve learned to work smarter and take frequent breaks to stretch and move around, while still getting tasks done. It’s the only way to get around the long work days that we all endure.
Below I’ve outlined a few of my favorite heart-opening yoga poses to help improve posture, circulation, and flexibility. Note: These pictures were taken on my iPhone, and are not the best quality, they are simply my unique expressions of the various poses. I’ve listed out the name of the yoga poses in Sanskirt and tips to help you get into the pose and prevent injury.
Five Best Stretches for Desk Sitters, Bike Riders and Everyone in Between:
If you do these poses everyday, you will experience less back pain, improved posture and strength as an added bonus. Take it from someone who knows and loves all of the benefits of yoga!
1. High plank (Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana) – This pose strengthens and increases stability in your wrists (after all that typing on the computer!) arms, shoulders, back, legs and core. Basically, it is a full body pose that will improve your overall posture.
Tips to help you get into this pose: Check to make sure your palms are directly under your shoulders, your belly is tight, your arms are straight, and all of your fingers are spread wide like a starfish. Keep your legs straight and pushing back, this will help keep your spine and neck in line and your bottom down.
2. Downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana) – This pose is a great relief to stretch out the back, neck, arms, legs (especially the hamstrings.) There is not a day that goes by that I don’t have two minutes to push back into downward dog. It can really undo a lot of the stress and damage in the neck from sitting hunched over all day.
Tips to help you get into this pose: Start with your wrists shoulder distance apart, and press into the base of each finger, straighten the arms and hug the outer arms towards each other. To warm up, bend the knees and alternate pressing one floor towards the floor at a time. Breathe.
3. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I) – It looks simple, but it requires a lot of strength in your legs and core to properly achieve this pose. It is a lengthening stretch in the legs and arms, and you’ll feel extra powerful and composed in this pose.
Tips to help you get into this pose: Reach strongly through your arms, open up your heart and make sure your back foot is grounded down. Learn how to get into this pose here: Warrior 1.
4. Reverse warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana) – This pose is a gentle backbend that will open up the chest and shoulders, as well as strengthen the legs and improve flexibility of the spin. Also, I can’t help but put a smile on my face when I practice this pose.
Tips to help you get into this pose: Stretch your body as long as possible before reaching all the way back. Breathe deeply and enjoy the benefits of this great side opener stretch.
5. Dancer’s pose (Natarajasana) – This is one of my favorites. It is a deep stretch for the lower back, legs and ligaments. It will also make you feel taller, leaner and more focused instantly.
Tips to help you get into this pose: Focus on a nonmoving object in front of you, stand on one leg, lift your other leg up and hold the top of your foot. Push your leg up into your foot as you focus on the nonmoving object in front of you, and think about lifting higher! In the photo above, I have reached out the opposite hand for balance and stability.
I hope you enjoyed these quick yoga poses to help ease any back pain or pressure from sitting all day long. Please remember to practice safely, and if your body is not feeling a certain pose today, don’t force it. Always be kind to your body and rest in child’s pose if needed.
What are your favorite stretches or yoga poses? How do you de-stress after a long day? I’d love to view your answer in the poll below and in the comments section!