Do you know this feeling, when you come home after a long day sitting up to nine hours in front of your desk and you can’t barely move because you have this tension in your neck, your shoulders feel stiff and your lower back hurts?
You are not alone! Back pain is one of the most common reasons for people seeing a doctor these days.
Sitting all day can be very exhausting even if your body is not actually moving. Imagine how much energy it costs your back to keep the upper body in a straight sitting position for hours.
That’s why during the day you might tend to sink from an upward to a more devious
following exercises will vitalize your entire upper body so that your spine can get into its natural shape again.
The best thing about it: You can do them easily a couple of times a day – directly at your desk!
#1 Neck Stretches
With a few little movements you can release tension from your neck, headache and mobilize your cervicals.
How to do neck stretches
Inhale: Straighten your spine by pulling the crown of your head towards the ceiling.
Exhale: Let your chin sink onto your chest.
Inhale: Slowly move your chin towards your right shoulder.
Stay here and deeply breath into the lenght of your neck.
Exhale: Slowly release the stretch and bring your chin back to the chest. Repeat to the other side.
After repeating this draw a few circles with the tip of your nose by mobilizing all of your cervicals.
#2 Spine Stretches
Stretch your upper body to keep the spine flexible and strong.
How to do spine streches
Inhale: Lift your arms up and stretch the palms of your hands towards the ceiling.
Exhale: Bend your arms in front of your chest and push the palms of your hands forward while resting the chin on your chest and rounding the whole spine.
Repeat 3 to 5 times.
#3 Crescent Moon
This variation of Crescent Moon Pose opens and stretches each side of the body. Also it supports your core stability.
How to do this variation of crescent moon pose
Inhale: Lift your arms overhead while crossing your fingers and straighten the whole spine. Pull your belly in to activate your core muscles.
Exhale: Keep your core strong by pulling the navel in and lean your upper body to the right side. Keep the pelvis straight!
Inhale: Slowly come back to an upright position and straighten the spine some more.
Exhale: Lean your upper body to the left side. Repeat this 3 to 5 times each side.
You can stay at one side for one more deep breath, try to lenghten you spine while inhaling.
#4 Eagle Arms
This small exercise improves upper body posture and releases tension from neck and shoulders.
Cross your arms in front of your chest so your right ellbow rests above the crook of your left arm.
Exhale: Bend both ellbows and place either the palms or the backs of your hands onto each other.
Inhale: Lenghten your spine and push the right ellbow firmly into the left arm so your shoulders can sink a bit deeper.
Exhale: Push both arms further away from your upper body.
Stay here for 5 to 10 deep breaths. Then repeat with the left arm above the right.
#5 Prayer Hands
This chest opening pose supports a better posture and a deeper breath.
Exhale: Bring your arms onto the back and let the palms of your hands meet each other near the shouder blades. If your breast muscles are too tight or your arms too short simply grab your ellbows.
Inhale: Straighten your spine and open your chest further.
Stay here for 10 to 15 breaths while enjoying the opening of your chest.
3 Afterwork Poses to release your back from tension and stifness
After getting back home at night your back will be thankful if you let it finish the day with some gentle asanas. This last small yin sequence releases your lower back from tension and calms the brain down.
Breathing deeply while holding the asanas makes your spine stronger and more flexible. Make sure that you have a calm surrounding without any electronic devices that might disturb your practice.
#6 Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
This pose stretches hip flexors, groins and thighs. All the areas that might be shortened by a distinctive sitting routine.
Step your right foot forward and lower your left knee to the ground. Your right knee should be in one line with your ancle, the left foot turned to the floor.
Your hands can rest on your right thigh without putting too much weight on it.
Inhale: Lift your torso up and raise your chest.
Exhale: Slide the pelvis firmly ahead until you feel a comfortable stretch in your groins. Keep your hip joints in one line!
Stay in this pose for 10 to 15 breaths feeling the lenght from your hip flexor up to the crown of your head.
#7 Eka Padarajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose)
This asana supports hip flexibility and stretches deep hip muscles which might cause low back pain by putting pressure on the sciatica.
From Low Lunge slowly get your pelvis back into an upward position. Place the palm of your hands on the ground and straighten your left leg until your knee lifts off the floor.
Bend your right leg and place your right heel underneath your left groin or slightly forward.
Inhale: Lift your upper body up, create lenght in your spine.
Exhale: Slowly let your hands walk their way down to the floor.
Stay in this asana for at least 15 breaths and let your body sink deeper into it with every exhalation. If the forward bend feels uncomfortable for you bend your ellbows and let your forehead sink into the palms of your hands.
Repeat Low Lunge & Pigeon Pose on the other side!
#8 Sethu Bandasana (Shoulder Bridge)
This backbend strenghtens thighs and buttocks. It also stretches neck, chest, shoulders, spine and groins and aleviates stress symptoms.
Release from Pigeon pose and let your upper body roll down onto your back. Bend your knees hipwidth apart grounding the soles of your feet deeply into the mat.
Exhale: Roll your back off the floor one virtabra after another.
Inhale: Bend your ellbows and place your hands on the lower back, pushing your pelvis higher by walking the feet closer to pelvis.
Stay here for 5 to 10 deep breaths. If you feel strong enough you can release the hands from your upper back and straigthen the arms down on the floor while crossing the fingers into fists.
#9 Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby)
Happy Baby Pose is a good way to calm yourself down at the end of an asanasequence. It opens the hips and takes pressure from your lower back.
From Shoulder Bridge slowly roll your back down virtabra by virtabra.
Exhale: Bend your knees into your belly.
Inhale: Grab the outer edges of your feet and slightly open your knees wider than your torso.
Exhale: Bring the knees up to your armpits, pushing your feet firmly into your hands and your lower back into the floor.
Stay in Happy Baby for 10 to 15 breaths.
You can give your lower back a little massage by firmly rocking yourself from left to right.
Integrating these asanas in your daily working routine will prevent your back from an unhealthy posture and chronical pain.
Always keep in mind that a healthy posture is the key to a happy life - and efficient work at the office!
Another very important aspect to keep the upper body in an upright position is the core stability. If the deep core muscles are too weak they cannot support the spine in order to keep a straight and healthy posture.
The following exercises may help to relieve some body weight from your back. And here comes the best: You can do them everywhere without anyone noticing it. T
he only thing your collegues may recognize is the improved posture you will gain in a few weeks after repeating them constantly.
# Acitvate Mula Bandha
Mula Bandha can be activated through the pelvic floor. At the beginning you should try to imagine the feeling of repressing the desire to urinate. Pull the pelvic floor up high and the tailbone down and to the front.
This nonvisible but sensible action creates lenght in your lower back and prevents an unhealthy posture.
# Acitvate Uddiyana Bandha
Take a deep breath in. With an exhalation pull the lower part of your belly in while pulling your navel up. Imagine you would like to suck the diaphragm and the inner organs of your belly towards your spine.
Activating Uddiyana Bandha stabilizes the middle and the upper part of the back and prevents bad postures in the upper part of the body.