This post by Nike Master Trainer Leah Kim was originally published on sporteluxe.com.
We all know that our bodies are designed to move. We can literally feel it when we have not had the freedom to move – on a long flight, or perhaps when injured or unwell – we feel pain. Even in smaller instances, such as sitting in the same position for too long, we can feel our circulation being affected, and the natural, innate urge to move and stretch ourselves out.
Admittedly, I have been really lucky that the essence of my work is movement. But since having my little one my day to day reality has changed. I found myself sitting – a lot – and with truly terrible posture. No matter how much I try to be aware of it and keep my posture in check, inevitably I ended up rounding over my baby, nursing him, soothing him, changing him, and sometimes even adoring him.
Whether you have a baby or not, if you’re stuck sitting a lot, and feeling pain and discomfort in your body because of it – I get it.
The good news is, there are simple things you can do to counteract the negative impact sitting has on your body. The key with these simple things is to make them habits, so you’re doing them a lot, almost without needing to think about it. At first, you’ll have to be diligent, maybe even set timer reminders throughout your day, but once you get the movement patterns into your body, it will become second nature.
First things first, when you’re sitting in a chair, try to find ways to emulate sitting on the floor. The problem with chairs is that they unnaturally limit our range of motion. Our bodies are forced to fit into the structure of the chair, rather than moving freely to the extent of our mobility.
Instead of letting yourself be boxed in by your chair, try different positions:
1. Single Pigeon in your chair
Cross your right ankle over your left knee, flex your right toes to secure your knee joint. You should feel a release around your right hip / glute. Sit with a tall spine and try to hold the position for a good couple minutes. Switch sides.
2. Easy Pose in your chair
Sit in a simple cross legged position in your chair, as if you were sitting on the floor. Spend a couple minutes with your right shin in front, and then switch sides.
3. Shift your centre of gravity
Sometimes sit way back, legs at a 90 degree angle or so. Other times sit way forward and stretch your legs out as long as they’ll go.
4. Keep your spine moving
It’s important to keep your spine moving as well, so every now and then, take a twist in each direction. Hold for 5 really deep breaths, long spine, chest lifted, shoulders down and away from your ears.
5. Open up your shoulders
The shoulders are important to open up too, so interlace your fingers behind your back, broaden across your chest and collarbones, draw the shoulder blades down, and maybe even add some neck rolls.
For more desk yoga, check out Yoga with Adriene’s video: