Lauren Coles, Contributor, Huffpost
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who sits for 6 hours or more during the workday, chances are, you suffer from back pain. Unfortunately, back pain is a common side effect of being a sedentary worker. As an office yoga company founder, my aim is to bring yoga into the workplace and help combat symptoms associated with sitting all day. I’m a bit of an academic, and as the creator of the first research-based Office Yoga Teacher Training program, my goal is to share best practices with people who work in offices, and other yoga professionals in the industry.
As an educator, I’m a huge fan of Yoga with Jake. Known for his easy to follow alignment-focused Instagram posts, the educational yoga resources created by Jake Panasevich are incredibly easy to follow. This Philadelphia-based yoga teacher works with specialized populations, including athletes, men, and people who work at offices. During a conversation about best practices with office yoga, Jake had some amazing advice for ways the sedentary worker can clear back pain. Watch the video, read Jake’s detailed alignment instructions, and clear back pain!
Standing Cat Cow Flow
How to do it: Stand with your feet hips-width apart and straight forward. Point your knees the same direction as your feet and bend them deeply. Place your hands on your thighs while you shift your weight down and back. Inhale, arch your back and look forward. Exhale, round your spine and look towards your navel. Repeat for five to ten breaths.
Benefit: If you work at a desk, you most likely have a tight low back. Whether you are on your computer or talking on your cell phone, it is very common to slouch in your chair and flatten your back. Over time, your pelvis tucks under and your back gets locked into this painful position. This simple movement helps to regain a healthy range of motion in your pelvis and low back. Practice it several times throughout your workday to avoid strain and stiffness from sitting at your desk.
How to do it: Stand with your feet together and pointing straight forward. Inhale, lift your arms overhead and hold your right wrist with your left hand. Root down through your feet to create a lift all the way up through your chest. Maintain a straight back as you lean to the left and sway your hips to the right. Only stretch as far as you can maintain square hips and shoulders. Align your neck so that your chin is parallel with the floor. Hold for three to five breaths and switch sides.
Benefit: This pose helps create a lift out of your pelvis in your back and all the way up to your shoulders and neck. It helps you sit tall at your desk.
Standing Thigh Stretch How to do it: Stand with your feet pointing straight forward and hips-width apart. Reach your right hand for the outer edge of your right foot. Draw your right knee towards your left so that your hips are level. Inhale, lengthen your back and pull your heel towards your outer-hip. Hold for five breaths and repeat on the second side. You can place your free hand on your desk or against the wall to stay balanced.
Benefit: This pose opens your quads and alleviates back pain. If you sit for long periods of time, your feet most likely turn out. This turns your thigh bones out in their hip-sockets and chokes out your low-back. When you stretch your thighs, it helps to set your femur bones back into a healthy position. This promotes more freedom in your low-back. Pyramid How to do it: From standing, step your left foot back about three and a half feet and widen your stance hips-width apart. Anchor your back heel and point both feet to the front. Square your hips and straighten your legs. Lengthen your spine and bow over your front leg. Either place your hands on your desk, on a chair or against a wall. As your hamstrings open, you can touch the floor on either side of your front foot. Keep your back heel rooted and your legs strong. Hold for five breaths and switch sides.
Benefit: If your legs get tired or numb from being stationary, this pose helps to improve circulation and wakes up your legs while clearing pain in your lower body. Pyramid pose stretches your hamstrings and helps to align your thighs in their hip-sockets to improve back pain.