In an age in which our lives boil down to sitting at a computer desk during work hours, followed by sitting on a couch with a phone in our hands or a laptop on our laps, it’s safe to say that a sedentary lifestyle is the plague of modern-day society. While it’s true that job-related stress is one of the main culprits when it comes to your health and career, prolonged sitting poses an equal threat to our health and well-being. According to Wired, sitting has gained the title of the new smoking.
So, what is the best way to eradicate the damage this silent killer is inflicting upon us? The answer is simple – get moving. While there are numerous exercise regimens that are highly beneficial, yoga might just be the Holy Grail of exercise routines when it comes to undoing the harm a sedentary lifestyle has caused. Therefore, lay down your yoga mat, take a deep breath and let us guide you through the best yoga poses designed to repair our broken health.
The cat-cow pose
According to the lovely and talented yoga instructor Adriene, the cat-cow pose is amazing for, in her words, “a happy spine”. It also massages the internal organs, stretches the belly, builds muscles on the back and serves as a tremendous stress-reliever. There is nothing not to love about it. As the primary focus is on strengthening the muscles and bringing happiness to our spine, make sure to follow Yoga With Adriene and master this pose as soon as possible.
The spinal twist
The spinal twist does wonders for the mobility of your spine, stretches the hips, chest, shoulders and upper back, which is where all of the tension and stress tends to gather. The way to do this pose is quite simple actually. Begin by lying comfortably on your back. Bend your knees to your chest and extend your arms out alongside your body in a “T” formation, with your palms facing up toward the ceiling. Inhale while lengthening your tailbone toward the ground. As you exhale, drop both of your bent knees over to the right, and look to the left. Keep your knees and feet close together, and press the backs of your shoulder blades down towards the mat. Remain in the twist for 5-10 breaths, and then inhale to come back up to center. On your next exhale, drop your knees to the left, and look to the right. Inhale to come back up to center. Wrap your arms around your legs and gently rock from side to side to release the lower back, and extend both legs onto the mat.
The hero pose
For all those with their faces constantly glued to their phones, the hero pose is a true lifesaver. Thanks to our numerous electronic devices, our posture is nowhere as good as it was ten years ago, and who can say what will happen to generations born in a time when the Digital Age has reached its peak (or at least we think it has). Needless to say, we are all long overdue for the hero pose, daily, and even several times a day, and to help you become the master of this posture-fixing pose, a step by step tutorial, complete with photos and written instructions can be found.
The sun salutation pose
Aside from being one of yoga’s staple poses, this pose is a heaven-sent to all those who spend hours upon hours hunched over the keyboard. This is actually a series of poses designed to do their magic and wake up and shake up that sore and stiff spine. The aforementioned lovely Adriene had designed a 30-day yoga challenge as a part of her mission of getting everyone on the mat, even those who prefer to do so from the privacy of their own home. As sun salutation takes place on day 10, it would be advisable to master at least some of the poses from previous days, so you can master this one, with her guidance of course.
The locust pose
One of the ‘lovely’ side effects of day-long sitting is that it actually teaches the muscles in our back to hunch forward – a lesson we never intended our muscles to pick up . Luckily, there are postures such as the locust that serve to ‘unteach’ those lessons, by engaging the back muscles in a different way. It’s also amazing for the lower back, as well as that sore booty. It’s also meant to help you destress, decompress, so hit the mat and let the locust lift your spirits.