As a yoga instructor, I help people stretch out their hip flexors, chests and lower backs every day. Since many of us sit for the majority of our time working, keeping your hips in flexion and back hunched, it’s so important to stretch them out in order to avoid tightness and other issues down the road. Here are a few of my favorite poses to provide much-needed relief to your body after sitting whether you’re working at home or in the office.
A staple in most restorative and many power yoga classes, runner’s lunge is simply a lunge with your back knee lowered to the ground. From here, you can heel-toe your foot outside of your hands and breathe as you lengthen your hip flexor on the extended leg. Bringing blood and space into this area of the body, runner’s lunge can help undo large amounts of time spent sitting. If you would like to release a little more tension, you can roll onto the outside edge of your front foot for an extra stretch through your inner thigh.
Come down onto your stomach with your hands underneath your shoulders. Press the tops of your feet into the earth beneath you and slowly lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Gaze down slightly to protect your neck and breathe. This pose stretches the front side body and helps counteract forward motion of your shoulders after sitting hunched over a computer or a desk.
An extension of cobra, sphinx pose begins with you laying on your stomach. Hold your elbows underneath your shoulders with forearms out long in front of you like a number 11. Lifting your torso and chest off the ground, just breathe as you gaze out in front of you. This pose helps calm the central nervous system, stretch the abdominal region and strengthen your back muscles.
Forward Fold with Shoulder Release
Bend at the waist with a slight bend in the knees to warm up your hamstrings. Let your head hang heavy with no tension through the neck. From here, interlace your fingers behind your back and gently lift towards the ceiling. If this is too much for your shoulders, grab a towel and hold behind your back instead. This pose takes pressure off of your internal organs while stretching out the shoulders and upper back. Breathe deeply into your belly and give your digestive system a break as you gently wring out tension from the chest and shoulders. After sitting all day, our shoulders can take the brunt of the pressure; this pose helps give them the restoration they need.