Yoga poses to counteract sitting
by Kate Pippos on Wednesday 15 February 2023
3 min read
You’ve been sitting all morning in meetings, and can’t wait to make it into the club for a lunchtime workout. Feeling refreshed after the sweat sesh, you then you go back to work and sit down for the rest of the day. By the time you leave, your hips feel tight, your back is sore and you notice a stiffness in your gait. Cue Yoga.
This simple routine can be done in as little as 5 minutes (you can do it during your morning tea break), or for as long as 30 minutes for a deep home time release (followed by a glass of wine).
Bring your feet hip width apart and turn your toes out to 45 degrees. Sink your tailbone between your heels and bring your hands together at your heart. Drag the heels of your hands down so that your thumbs align with your sternum. Lengthen your spine from the base to the crown. Breathe.
Malasana, the squat, is amazing for opening up and releasing the adductors (inner thigh muscles), straightening out the spine and encourages an engagement of core as you lift your ribs away from your hips.
From your squat, bring your hands to the earth, turn your toes forward and begin to straighten your legs. It really doesn’t matter how straight they become but offer them support. If you need more space, keep your knees bent, if you need less space, straighten them more. Let your head hang heavy and just breathe here.
One of the beauties of this pose isn’t just that we get to lengthen the hamstrings and compress the internal organs, but we also turn ourselves upside down which can offer a new perspective on life.
Pigeon - the all-time love to hate Yoga pose!! To get here, drop to all fours and place your right knee behind right wrist, right foot behind left wrist. The more parallel your shin is to the top of your mat, the stronger this will feel – so you can really determine where you need to be here. Walk your left foot back to lower hips and then begin to sink your heart towards the ground.
Pigeon does a little bit of everything for your hips – it stretches the external hip rotators and relaxes the piriformis and psoas muscles. We tend to store a lot of emotion in the hips, so make sure you breathe deep in here. Stay for at least 20 breaths before you swap sides.
From pigeon, roll over onto your back and align your feet hip width apart with toes slightly turned in. You should be able to tickle your heels with your fingertips as you lay your arms by your sides. Now, press firm through hands and feet and lift your hips as high as you can. Squeeze your inner thighs towards one another but not together to switch on your adductors.
This pose will give you an all over stretch through your chest, neck and spine. Breathe deep for at least 10 rounds.
To get you up and going again, come back up to your feet. Bring your big toes together and separate your heels slightly. Zip up from your knees to your upper inner thighs, lengthen your arms to the sky and bend your knees. This is the ultimate Yogic chair – and will build all the muscles you need to successfully sit while firing up your core and giving a good stretch to your shoulders. Be sure to spread your sternum wide and turn your tailbone to point between your heels to make the most of this pose.
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