If you sit at a desk all day, your body is going to suffer. You probably notice it already in the form of stiffness and pain. Eventually, it could end up affecting your whole posture.
We can combat this in the form of awareness and, of course, exercise. Start with these five yoga poses for desk workers.
1. Mountain (hands clasped)
Stand tall and feel your weight evenly distributed throughout both feet. Reach your arms behind your back, palms facing each other. If you can clasp your hands together, do it; otherwise, just keep reaching, stretching the arms up and back. Hold for several deep breaths.
Get on your hands and knees, with your knees directly below your hips, your wrists below your shoulders, and your fingers spread wide. On an inhale, arch your back, lifting your tailbone and the crown of your head. As you exhale, round the back and lift your belly button up toward your spine. Repeat several times, following your breath.
3. Spinal Balance
On your hands and knees, find a neutral spine, abs strong to support your back. On an inhale, lift your right arm and your left leg to the level of your back. Stretch them forward and backward, imagining a line running from your fingertips down your spine and through your foot, keeping the back neutral and the hips level. Return your limbs to the floor as you exhale, and repeat on the other side. Continue alternating for several breaths.
4. Downward Dog
This classic yoga pose opens the hamstrings and calves, lengthens the spine, and strengthens the arms and shoulders. From your hands and knees, curl your toes into the floor and press your hips up and back, so you're creating an upside-down V with your body. You might find you need to move your feet slightly forward or back, but you should have weight on both your hands and feet. Keep the fingers spread wide and the hands pressing down and forward. The heels are moving toward the floor, but it's okay if they don't touch. The head is between the arms, so you have two straight lines: one from hips to feet (it's okay to bend your knees a bit) and one from hips to hands.
5. Lying Twist
Lie on your back and bring your knees together, feet off the floor. Gently lower both legs down to one side, keeping the top knee directly on top of the bottom knee. Rest them on the floor (or a pillow if they don't reach the floor comfortably). Spread your arms out to each side, and turn your head to look back at the ceiling or the opposite hand, allowing gravity to gently take the opposite shoulder toward the floor. Hold for several breaths, then repeat on the other side.
What else do you do to protect your body from the negative effects of sitting for most of the day?