The spine is designed to support the weight of the body. If you slouch when sitting for prolonged periods or lean your head forward to look at a computer screen, mobile device, or while driving, you stress the muscles along the spine and affect its natural curvature. This can weaken the spinal muscles and can lead to back pain over time.
Here are two exercises you can do at your desk to stretch and strengthen the muscles along the full length of your spine. The first is gentler and can be done while sitting. The second is done standing up. Listen to your back and choose the one that feels best to your body.
- Sit upright towards the front of your chair with your feet on the floor and your right hand on the outside of your left knee.
- As you inhale, pull your navel in and up and bring your shoulder blades in towards your spine and down towards your kidneys.
- Keeping this erect posture, twist to the left. Move slowly and pay attention to the sensations in your lower back. If you experience any pain, come out of the twist until the pain disappears. As is true of any yoga pose, the idea is to find the point at which you feel challenged, feel resistance, fell a stretch, but don’t feel pain. This point is often referred to as “the edge,” and you want to stay on the pain-free side of the edge.
- Hold, slowly unwind, and repeat on the other side.
- Stand with your feet, knees, and legs together. Bend your knees and lower your hips until they are at least below your heart.
- Place your right hand on the outside of your left knee and your left palm on your sacrum (the large, triangular bone at the base of your spine), with your fingers pointing toward your tailbone.
- Pull your navel in and up, bring your shoulder blades in towards your spine and down towards your kidneys.
- Keeping this length in your spine, gently twist to the left. As with Seated Twist, move slowly, pay attention to your back, and come out of the twist if you experience any pain.
- Hold, slowly unwind, and repeat on other the side.
Other Articles in this Issue
Balance At Work News & Events – Summer 2015
The Perfect Complement (Article)
Take 5 – Make Time for this Quick Stretch: Crescent Moon
Philosophy Byte: Asteya
Health Tip: Breathe it Out
Eat Well: Fast & Easy Tahini Dressing