You are only as young as your spine
We live in a sedentary culture. With the abundance of email, social media, iPads, and computer work that many of us do on a daily basis, our bodies pay a price. Wired Magazine wrote, “Sitting is the new smoking.” The series of 12 asanas from this post will counter the effects of hours sitting at a desk. They are standard poses that form a nice core sequence that can be done without going to a yoga class
For many years, my yoga practice depended on DVDs I did at home every morning. If I didn’t get to my asana practice first thing in the morning, I didn’t do it at all that day. One thing I have learned since those days is that doing yoga throughout the day is advantageous for both emotional and physical health. This sequence is a great way to take a break during your work day. You can do each pose for 30-45 seconds so the whole sequence takes about ten minutes. Unlike the cigarette breaks of days past, this series of yoga poses will truly give your body and mind a break. And, by doing it regularly you will protect your health from future diseases. Research has shown that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to heart disease, muscle pain, diabetes, and a shorter life span.
As a psychologist, I sit all day. Many years ago I developed a herniated disk at L-4, L-5 level in my lower back. My back pain was directly related to sitting for more than eight hours a day, five days a week. The surgeon who performed a microdiscectomy told me that for every client I see, I should stand up after 45 minutes. Even a few seconds of movement will help prevent compression of the lumbar discs in the spine.
There are many yoga poses you can do while sitting inn your office, or even during a meeting. The key is to remember to do them. In the photo at right, Warrior I is being done. Even without using your arms, you can still take the leg position from a chair. If people are observing, make it look like a stretch. Most people won’t even notice. When sitting at a computer screen for more than an hour, get up and do Eagle Arms, stretching your upper back to counter the slouch that occurs while working on a keyboard. Then clasp your hands behind you and pull your arms down your back to stretch your upper chest. Once you know the core yoga asana, let your body tell you what it needs. Listening to your body is mindfulness.
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