I am on the computer constantly- both my job and being a blogger require it. So I know the slouched over, uncomfortable chair, lower back pain ‘uck’ that comes along with sitting in front of a screen all day. But just a short yoga session can ease some of that discomfort and allow your body to recoup from a day of sitting in a rather unnatural position.
The basics are also incredibly helpful for loosening the body after a day of sitting (especially downward dog!) so, I am going to teach these poses as they stem from the Five Foundational Yoga Poses. If you are new to yoga or haven’t yet taken a peek at what my alignment philosophy is you might want to pop over to that post and do a quick catch up! And don’t forget to use the foundational poses as a wonderful warm up!
Reverse Warrior II (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
After sitting in a chair all day I know my legs seem to feel non-existent, my thighs are tight, and my sides seem shorter after (most likely) slouching all day. Reverse Warrior II gives you the same stretch and fire in your legs as the standard Warrior II, but adds the great element of a side body stretch.
Start in Warrior II. With your arms wide and parallel with the floor, reach forward, moving from your hips and rotate your front wrist so your palm opens to the ceiling. Then gently tilt your upper body backward over your back leg so that your back hand reaches down your back thigh and your front arm reaches over your head towards the back wall. Breathe deeply and hold this pose, focusing on grounding your feet and letting your back hand have a light touch on your thigh. Windmill your arms back up into Warrior II and switch sides.
Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
Extended Triangle Pose is an asana that looks relatively simple but has so many benefits. It is a great stretch for the entire leg, hamstrings, quads, calves, knees, and ankles, and also works its magic on your shoulders and spine.
Start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) facing the long side of your mat. Step your feet apart into a comfortable long stance (about 3-4 feet apart depending on your body) while keeping your hips squared forward and the mounds of your second toes in line with your ankles. Turn the foot nearest to the back of your mat slightly in towards your body and your front foot to point towards the short, top edge of your mat. The heel of your front foot should be in line with the arch of your back foot. Bring your arms up to Warrior II arms, extending from your sides and parallel to the ground. Moving from your torso, reach forward over your front foot as far as you can go, and then keeping your hips steady, tilt your arms so your front arm comes to rest on your shin, ankle, or the floor so that your arms form a straight line perpendicular to the floor. As you determine where to place your front hand make sure that you are aware of how your side body reacts. I like to keep my hand on my shin as to not squish the length of my side body. Switch sides.
Wide Legged Forward Fold With Bind (Prasarita Padottanasana with Bind)
This variation on a typical forward fold provides relief for tight hamstrings that come from sitting for extended amounts of time and tight shoulders that arise from typing on a computer!
Starting in Tadasana facing the wide edge of your mat, spread your legs wide (3-5 feet depending on your height), and clasp your hands behind your back (if this is inaccessible hold a strap between your hands, it provides the same benefit). Slowly hinging from your hips, keeping length in your torso, fold forward and allow your arms to float off of your back, allowing for a deeper shoulder stretch. Slowly come back to standing and repeat.
Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
Eagle pose looks gorgeously complicated, but has many variations that are suitable for any body type! This asana is great for working on focus as it pulls all of your energy inward to the midline, but also provides a great stretch for tight shoulders, your outer hips that may be tight from sitting, and helps to relieve low back pain.
Start in Tadasana with your hands placed together, palms facing in and your forearms parallel to the floor. Bring your feet together and take a few breaths, focusing on grounding, giving yourself a good foundation for this challenging balancing pose. Bend your knees slightly and cross your right thigh over your left. Point your toes to the floor, keeping the entire foot engaged. You may leave your right foot here or attempt to hook it behind your left calf. Both variations are beneficial. Now, bring your fore arms to touch, and lift your elbows so your upper arms become parallel with the floor. Bring your right arm underneath your left so that the elbows are stacked and the tops of your fore arms touch each other. You may leave your arms here or bring your right hand around your left wrist and let your palms touch. Breathe deeply and bend your knees more deeply, sinking lower. Then straighten your legs and reverse sides, letting your left leg cross over your right and left arms cross under your right arm.
Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
Happy Baby (sometimes called dead bug, which is just weird) is a great hip opening stretch that also relieves tension in your back and if you rock from side to side can give a massage-like sensation. It also is an asana known for relieving stress, perfect after a long day at work.
Start in Staff Pose. Lower down so you are lying on your back and bend your knees, bringing your legs to your belly. Grasp each foot with your same-side hand (if this is inaccessible you can use a strap draped over each foot for extra length). Open your legs just wider than your torso with your ankles and knees stacked so they form a line perpendicular to the floor, and gently rock back and forth, massaging your spine. Bring your knees and legs together, hug your knees to your chest, giving them a squeeze, and let them float back to the floor.
One of the great things about yoga is that so many of the poses are so multi-dimensional and can provide relief for a wide variety of stresses. Two of the poses in my Yoga Poses for Runners post jump out at me for bring great for office workers as well. Make sure to check it out and open your hips and stretch your hams and quads with Double Pigeon and One Legged Pigeon!
Do you have a request for a future yoga post? Let me know in the comments below or reach out on social media!