Reverse the Detrimental Effects of Sitting With These 5 Yoga Poses
With the average American sitting for about 8-12 hours each day, it’s no surprise that poor health has resulted. A study conducted by the American Heart Association revealed that sitting is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, and cancer. The research goes as far as to state that a sedentary lifestyle could be a contributing factor to higher mortality rates.
Besides killing us (less) slowly, sitting is also to blame for brain fog, neck issues, back/shoulder problems, muscle deterioration, joint immobility, and poor circulation. Since we aren’t always able to just get up and move due to constraints of life and work, below are a few yoga poses to help counteract some of the negative effects of sitting all day.
1. Reverse Tabletop
Reverse Tabletop Pose is an intense shoulder opener that also expands the chest. A typical sitting posture tends to close the body by curling inwards, and this pose reverses that direction by opening the entire front-body. In addition, Reverse Tabletop strengthens and stretches the often tense wrists (due to that desk-job) as well as the neck. The legs will benefit from this pose too as it challenges the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings— so no more dead butt syndrome.
2. High Lunge + Eagle Arms
To strengthen the legs while stretching the hips, try High Lunge (also known as Crescent Pose) with the addition of Eagle Arms. The placement of the arms in the double-twisted Eagle position will provide a deep stretch in the arm muscles and the shoulder joints. In addition, this posture will challenge and improve balance which is often impaired due to a sedentary lifestyle.
3. Forward Fold
Get the blood flowing in Forward Fold while carefully stretching the entire back side of the body (from ankles to hips to neck). This pose is my number 1 go-to during a busy day to release stress, crush brain fog, and refresh the system. And it only takes a few seconds to feel results! Try grasping opposite elbows to allow gravity to take over, let the neck remain in a neutral position, breathe deeply, and rock side to side to open deeper.
4. Goddess Pose
Goddess Pose is a powerful posture to incorporate into your day to repel the effects of prolonged sitting. Simply take a wide stance (with knees over ankles), bend legs to a 90-degree angle, and make sure to add Cactus arms (bending to a 90-degree angle with fingertips pointing skyward) for extra benefit. This posture will build heat quickly and tone the entire core.
5. Reclined + Supported Bound Angle Pose
Also known as Baddha Konasana or Butterfly Pose, this version of Bound Angle Pose is practiced in a supine and supported position. Extremely restorative, this pose will gently open tight hips and stretch the back. Specifically, by placing a block or a towel under the thoracic (upper) spine, you’ll experience a broadening effect. For extra expansion, bring the arms into Cactus position. Feel free to place blankets under the knees for extra support if the knees or hips feel uncomfortable.
For optimal benefits, remember to take breaks to move, get outside, and stretch multiple times throughout the day. These feel-good poses can be practiced anywhere at any time of day to expand and strengthen the body, increase circulation, and center the mind. Incorporating more poses to reverse the effects of hunching, sitting, and poor posture, the video below will guide you through a unique yoga flow for your at home or on-the-go practice.