Technologies, such as smart phones, not to mention a more sedentary lifestyle where desk jobs increasingly predominate, are all affecting our health. We’ve engineered movement from our lives and this explains rising obesity levels. Can you also believe that about 60 pounds of weight is the pressure your upper body is enduring bent over whilst sitting? When this becomes extreme, abnormal spinal curvature or “kyphosis” can lead to shoulder and back ailments including low mood, poor breathing (affecting our stress levels), and headaches.
Good posture is about awareness and alignment of ears over shoulders and hips. However, Yoga poses can help to counteract sitting by encouraging spinal lengthening and through gentle back-bends, side-bends, and twists. Take regular seated stretch breaks with neck and shoulder rolls (timed with your breath), cat cow stretches (with hands on thighs, inhale, arch back and look up; exhale, round the spine, head drop forward), seated spinal twists (inhale lengthen; exhale twist taking opposite hand to knee and other hand to back of chair), modified eagle (cross arms and hug hands around the upper body; inhale to lift elbows up), a chest opener (inhale, lifting interlaced hands away from lower back, elevating up through chest so upper spine arches), and side-bends (inhale, reach arm up; exhale, reach to side, hips grounded. Repeat opposite side). Hold each pose for five to ten deep breaths and as you release each stretch, sense their physical effects mindfully. More importantly, humans are meant to move so factor more walking steps into your day!
Tristessa Moore is a registered Yoga Therapist (CNHC) who also teaches well-being in schools: www.yogatherapyhull.co.uk / www.yoyogasoul.co.uk