If you spend hours sitting at a computer, and who doesn’t these days, you may find yourself prone to stiffness, headaches, and that often so hard-to-resist 4 pm stupor. Instead of reaching for caffeine or sugar, try a few seated forward bends:
Start seated in a chair, hands resting on the tops of your thighs, feet hips’ width apart.
Feel your feet grounded on the floor and hips settled into the chair.
As you inhale, allow your ribcage to soften and feel the full length of your spine. Keep your shoulders relaxed.
On exhale, draw your belly gently toward the back of your spine, as you lean forward and slide your arms down your legs toward your feet.
Don’t force anything. Just allow. (If you have a tendency toward GERD—or if changing levels makes you dizzy—stop while your head is still above your heart.)
On your next inhale, start by extending your spine toward a flat back–feel your shoulder blades move toward your spine gently. As you lift your chest back toward upright, slide your hands back up your legs.
Exhale here, releasing any holding, including the squiggly lines in your forehead and your lower jaw.
After two or three repetitions like this, you may want to remain in the forward bending position for a breath or two. Enjoy the sensation of opening in your back. With every exhalation, send the word “release” to the places where you hold tension.
Done with an air of, “Oops, I’ve dropped my pen,” this is a perfect way to take a personal sanity break during long meetings, while everyone else is reaching for the stale pastries. Repeat at the first sign of PowerPoint.
would you suggest back bends, or are they too stressing on the sympathetic nervous system?
HI Pedro, Great question. Backbends reverse the curve of the spine, which would be a great antidote to hunching over a desk or computer screen. Done correctly, backbends can create circulation in tight back muscles and lift the sternum away from the spine, thereby creating space for deep breathing, which can be very energizing. But bear in mind that this particular exercise is performed from sitting–the most compressed position for the low back and sacrum. If not done mindfully, the risk would be to collapse the spine, creating unwanted compression. But you’ve pointed out the need for a counter pose… Read more »