6 Yoga Poses That Feel Great After Sitting All Day

6 Yoga Poses That Feel Great After Sitting All Day

If you sit at a desk all day, you know the feeling of sore shoulders, stiff neck, and achy lower back. Like clockwork, the symptoms begin towards the end of your workday and go home with you. A 2018 research study found that one in four American adults sat for eight or more hours a day. Whether working, studying, surfing the web, scrolling through socials, or researching travel ideas, sitting for too long can wreck your hips, back, and neck. 

When you sit for a long time, the knees, hips, and spine remain in constant flexion. Over time, this can lead to serious body aches and poor posture. That said, there are yoga poses and stretches that target the hips, neck, shoulders, and back, helping you counteract the negative effects of sitting all day. Not only are the following yoga poses beginner-friendly, but they also bring awareness to daily posture. You don’t have to do the following yoga poses all at once; rather, do them as needed throughout your day, holding each pose for about five to 10 breaths. 

Downward-Facing Dog

This is a foundational pose that works to lengthen the hamstrings and calves, while also strengthening the upper body. Because of the semi-inverted nature of the pose, it also helps to improve your circulation. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, keeping your hands directly beneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Lift your hips up and back, draw your shoulder blades down away from your heart, and elongate the spine into the position. Make sure that you only go as far as your hamstrings allow, bending your knees if necessary. Remain here for five to 10 breaths before returning to the starting position.

Locust Pose

This pose is essential for establishing more stability along the backside of the body. It opposes the posture of sitting in a chair and helps to lengthen and strengthen the muscles that you neglect all day. From a tabletop position, step your feet back to arrive in a high plank position. Lower yourself down onto your stomach with your arms by your sides. Breathe in and raise your head, chest, hands, and feet off the ground. If you can, reach your hands behind your back and interlace your fingers. Feel the spaciousness in your back and hold this position for five to 10 deep breaths before releasing. 

Camel Pose

As a major chest-opening pose, Camel pose is excellent for increasing mobility in the shoulders and upper back. It also works to improve posture and strengthen the upper legs. Start in a kneeling position with your knees hip-distance apart and tops of your feet on the ground. Place your hands on your lower back, bending your elbows and facing your fingers toward your glutes. Lean your upper torso backward and open your chest, pushing forward with your hips. Exhale and drop back a little more, pushing your pelvis forward to elongate the spine. Lean to the right and reach your right hand toward your right heel and then do the same on the left side. If you cannot reach your heels, consider using yoga blocks. Drop your head back, relax your throat, and hold for five to 10 deep breaths. 

Cat/Cow Pose

Cat/Cow pose works to stretch and open the chest, shoulders, neck, and spine, making this a great pose after a long day in a seated position. Start in a tabletop position, keeping your hands directly beneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Take a big inhale and draw your navel toward your spine, rounding your back like a cat. Pause here before exhaling, while simultaneously arching your back from your tailbone to your neck. Aim to extend your gaze slightly upward. Continue to alternate between these positions for five to 10 deep breaths. 

Happy Baby Pose

If you have stiff hips, this is the pose you want to relax in at the end of the day. Happy Baby pose works to realign and stretch the spine, which may reduce lower back and hip pain. Lie on your back and bend your knees so that the soles of your feet face the ceiling. Reach your hands to grab the outsides of your feet and pull them down toward your armpits. Make sure that you are comfortable, aiming to keep your ankles directly above your knees so that your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Breathe slowly and deeply for five to 10 breaths. 

Garland Pose

Garland pose is another hip-opening posture, but it also offers shoulder retraction, which works to improve your posture. By drawing your shoulder blades back, you help to counteract the effects of sitting all day. Stand up straight and keep your feet hip-distance apart. Inhale deeply and place your hand on your hips as you drop your tailbone toward the floor and end up in a low squat. Keep your back straight, lean your torso forward, and press the weight of your body into your heels for balance. Bring your hands to prayer position and press your elbows on the insides of your knees. Hold this position for five to 10 deep breaths.

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