I recently have been doing more computer work than usual and my body is telling me that I need to break up my work with stretches. Do you sit long hours at a computer? Is pain or discomfort in your body telling you that there is something out of alignment?
It is easy to blame our modern lifestyle, but I like to remember that our orientation to our front body allows us to create more beauty in the world. We can use our hands to write an inspiring book, create a beautiful painting, or develop a program that creates a more just world. Front body orientation also connects us to our ancestors. Can you imagine your 4th great-grandmother weaving a basket or dandling a baby? Her posture might be pretty similar to you writing a text message on your phone…
This orientation to the front body isn’t bad…it just needs to be broken up with complimentary actions that create more balance in your body and connect you to the universality of your back body. The alignment principles of Anusara Yoga can help relieve tension in the neck, shoulders and hips.
Here are a few of my favorite chair stretches that can be incorporated into your day. Just spend a few breathes in each pose and this 3 minute break will leave you feeling refreshed and more at ease in your body.
SHOULDER OPENER WITH OPTIONAL LUNGE – The perfect antidote to neck and shoulder tension! Bring the back of your right hand to your sacrum (the bony area at the back of your pelvis). Press your hand into your sacrum and mover your right shoulder back. Now straighten your left hand above your head. Palm faces inward and draw the upper arm back towards your ear. Keep on drawing both shoulders together on your back body as you raise your face, heart, and upper lungs towards the sky. Release both arms to pause and feel. Do the other side.
This can also be practiced with a lunge. Sit on the edge of your chair facing to the side. Sit on the left buttock and bend that knee. Stretch the right leg behind you and hug both legs together strongly and follow the above directions for the arms. You might be surprised how challenging this chair pose can be! Hold for a few breaths and then do the other side.
BACK BODY OPENER – AKA a forward fold. Sit at the edge of your chair and take your feel wide. Press them firmly into the ground as you drape your upper body on your thighs. Let your arms dangle towards the floor. Let your breath find the sensation in your legs, hips, or back.
SEATED TWIST – This pose is helpful for relieving lower back tension and balancing your nervous system. Sit at the edge of your chair and firmly connect your feet to the ground. Keeping your hips stable and facing forward as you twist your upper body to one side. Press your hands into your chair to get taller and glide your shoulders back. Breathe.
FRONT BODY OPENER – AKA a back bend. Lay your body over the back of your chair. Spread your legs out and let your arms drape down. Breathe into the expansiveness of your front body. This can also double as a mini-savasana.
Thanks for reading! I hope these are helpful. Be in touch if you have any questions about the poses! Pictures were taken at the Well-Being Healing Center.