Sitting hunched over a keyboard all day can contribute to tightness in the body, especially the shoulders and back. The spine supports our bodies all day long, so it’s important to realign your spine and bring balance back to your body.
These five poses will counteract compression from long-term sitting by creating length and space in the spine. Practice them everyday to improve your back health.
Cat and Cow Pose
Start in tabletop position with a neutral spine. As you inhale, arch your spine drawing your belly to the floor and your head and tailbone up to the ceiling. As you exhale, pull your belly in as you round your back upward, tucking your head and tailbone down and inward. Continue to move through these poses, gracefully transitioning in sync with your breath.
Lie face-down on your mat with the tops of your feet on the mat, hip-width apart. Place your palms flat on the ground alongside your chest and lift your body off the mat. The only things touching the mat should be the tops of your feet and the palms of your hands. Make sure your arms are fully extended with your wrists, elbows and shoulders aligned. Look straight ahead with a neutral neck, breathing deeply.
Standing hip-width apart, fold down at your hips and reach for your toes, keeping a micro bend in your knees. As you inhale, lift and lengthen your torso; and as you exhale, release further into the bend. Grab opposite elbows and let your head hang loose.
Seated Half Spinal Twist
Start in a seated position with your left leg extended and your right foot flat on the ground on the outside of your left knee. Place your left arm on the outside of your right leg to use as leverage as you exhale and twist to the right. Your right arm can reach behind you. As you inhale, lengthen your spine and as you exhale, twist a little deeper. Repeat on other side.
Start on your hands and knees in tabletop position. Separate your knees hip-width apart and exhale as you sit your glutes back toward your heels. Fold your torso over your thighs and reach your arms straight out in front of you or resting along the sides of your body. Allow your forehead to relax on the mat or a block as you rest in this pose.