When it comes to relieving stress, both physically and mentally, there is no exercise that quite matches up to Yoga. Unlike many other exercises, the focus of Yoga is not so much on tightening some muscles as it is on loosening them. In a day, most people spend around 8 hours sitting at a desk. But, humans are not made for sitting.This is an activity that puts considerable pressure on the spine and causes backaches and hunching over time.
Sitting is an activity that puts considerable pressure on the spine and causes backaches and hunching over time. To counteract the adverse effects of this static posture, your body needs to exercise. To get you started, here are some stretches in Yoga that can reduce the pains of sitting all day and make you fit.
1. Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)
The pigeon pose gives a good stretch to the back as well as the high and hamstring muscles. The pose also relieves sciatica-related pain, numbness, and weakness.
- Go on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart, into the downward dog pose.
- Lift your right leg, and move your knee forward (as if you’re about to do a lunge).
- Place your right knee on the floor just outside of your right hand. While doing this, your left knee would have lowered to the mat. Lift it up, and straighten it behind you.
- Bring your hips down to the mat, while laying the top of your left foot down. Straighten your back, and lift your chest up.
- Lift yourself back up with your arms. Straighten your leg behind you.
- Repeat the move with your left leg.
2. Full Body Stretch
The full body stretch is excellent for relieving tension in all the muscles of the body. It especially targets the back muscles.
- Lie down in Shavasana.
- Raise both your arms up and behind.
- Stretch one side of the body first, completely, up until the fingers and toes.
- Release and repeat on the other side.
3. Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)
The cat pose is perfect for those who can feel a knot in their back after a long day of sitting.
- Start on all fours, with your arms and knees on the mat.
- Gently curve your spine to make a C shape – like a cat that is getting a good stretch.
- Release and repeat.
4. Spinal Twist (Vakrasana)
This spinal twist will relieve any tension in the back muscles.
- Begin in a seated posture on the mat with your legs outstretched.
- Bend one leg and bring that foot closer to the knee.
- Cross the opposite arm over the bent leg and catch hold of the ankle.
- Place the other arm behind you for support.
- Release and repeat on the other side.1
- A modification of this can be done by sitting on a chair and placing the arm on the opposite knee to help you twist.
5. Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)
Most people know that the tree pose is ideal for building concentration. However, the act of joining the palms with hands raised also gives the back a good stretch. It also removes any stress that may have accumulated in the upper back and shoulders over the day.
- Stand straight and erect and let your arms drop to the sides of your body.
- Bend your right knee slightly.
- Lift your right foot high up and place it on your left thigh. Ensure that the sole of your foot is placed flat, firmly against the root of your thigh.
- Keep your left leg absolutely erect. Once you have placed yourself comfortably in this position, breathe slowly, and find your balance.
- Inhale, and gently stretch your arms upwards, raising them over your head. Bring your palms together to form the “namaste” mudra.
- Look straight ahead at a distant object and keep your gaze firmly on it. This will help you maintain your balance.
- Ensure that you keep your spine perfectly straight. Remember that your body needs to be taut, yet elastic. Inhale deeply, and relax your body a little more with each time exhalation.
- Gently bring your hands down from either side of your head, and let your right leg come back to the ground so that you’re back to your original position of standing straight and tall.
- Repeat this pose with your left leg.
Try out these five asanas every day, post work. Soon, you will spot the difference in both physical and mental health. These Yoga asanas can treat those with a chronic backache, be it due to injury, pregnancy, or even age.
|↑1||Ireene, Carmine. Yoga for Backache. Jaico Publishing House, 2005.|