5 Yoga Poses for People Who Sit Too Much
Whatever your reason is for sitting too much, it's important to find a solution. Sure, you can stand up and walk around every hour as recommended by most doctors, but you'll still be sitting for a majority of the day.
To counteract your hours of sitting, try doing some yoga. These poses are perfect after a long day at work, school, traveling, or anything else that requires long periods of inactivity.
More: Sitting Disease By the Numbers (Infographic).
Downward Facing Dog1 of 6
It may be tough to get into this pose after sitting at a desk all day. Once you settle in, though, you'll feel a release in your upper back and a stretch in your legs, and you'll want to stay a while.
Start on your hands and knees with your hands shoulder-width apart. Your fingers should be spread and forward, and your thumbs and index fingers should make L-shapes.
Exhale and lift your hips back and up, making an inverted "V" with your body. Keep your arms pulling inward and roll your shoulders back.
Keep your belly pulled in using your core, and engage your quadriceps as you reach your heels toward the floor. Keep your gaze looking back to the middle of the mat, with no tension in your neck.
1. Bend one knee at a time and release the heel of the other foot to the ground for a calf stretch. Switch with each breath.
2. From regular down dog, move your hands to the edges and hold on to your mat. Pull your upper body down through your arms for an upper back stretch.
3. From regular down dog, pull your feet forward just a couple of inches. Keep your left arm firming to the ground, then take your right hand and twist your body so your hand reaches your left foot. Hold for a few breaths, then switch sides. This is the Revolved Downward Dog pose.
Cat and Cow2 of 6
After long periods of inactivity, it's important to get your back moving steadily again. These poses are great to try after work or first thing in the morning.
Start on all fours with a flat back. Keep your knees on the ground in line with your hips, and your hands under your shoulders.
Inhale as you drop your belly and raise the head. Exhale as you round your back. Repeat for multiple breaths.
Wide-Legged Forward Fold3 of 6
This is one of those poses that makes you say "ah" and let out a sigh of relief.
Begin in a standing position. Step or hop your feet apart (distance depends on your height, but should usually be between three and four feet wide). Put your hands on your hips, engage your quads and inhale.
Exhale and lower your torso to the ground, keeping your back straight. Slowly lower your hands to the ground beneath your shoulders and breathe. You can bend your elbows as you lower your head to the ground.
Don't force it if your head doesn't touch the floor—feel free to rest your head on the tall end of a block. Take it to where you can feel it, not to where it hurts.
1. While folding down, turn your fingers to point behind you, then "crawl" with them backward so you pull your upper body "through" your legs.
2. From forward fold, move your hands to the left with a slight twist of your torso and breathe. Inhale moving to center, exhale to the right.
Spinal Twist4 of 6
This pose can help stretch your IT bands while simultaneously releasing tension in your back.
Sit on the ground with your legs straight in front of you. Pull your right knee to your chest and rest your right foot on the ground. Inhale and raise your left arm to the sky while keeping your right arm directly behind you.
Exhale and bring the outside of your left elbow to the outside of your right knee; inhale. As you exhale, twist from the lower abs to the right. Your head should follow, looking behind you. Hold for a few breaths before switching sides.
Pigeon5 of 6
Depending on how sore or tight you are, this pose can be a bit uncomfortable. If you can push through the discomfort, though, it's a great release for your outer hips.
From a downward dog position, pull your body weight forward over your hands and lift your right knee to the center of your body. Work your core here and try to bring your knee up and forward enough so you can kiss it.
Exhale and lower your body to the ground with your right knee going to your right hand. Your knee and femur should be in line with your hip. Your back leg should be straight behind you with the top of your left foot flat on the ground. Your calf can be perpendicular to your femur. If that's too intense, let your foot fall farther behind your left hand.
You may feel this enough sitting upright. If not, let your torso come to the ground, taking your arms as far out in front of you as you can and resting your forehead on the ground. You can also rest your head on your forearms if needed.
Hold for 10 breaths. Return to downward dog before switching sides.