8 Moves to Undo All Those Office Hours
Yoga moves that fix your posture.
At this very moment, I’m hunched over my laptop trying to bust out this story before heading off to dinner. It’s going on hour 10 of sitting at this desk in this most definitely not ergonomic chair, and my posture has been slowly curling into a painful arch. Now times that by five days a week, 52 weeks for...well, forever. I’m sure you can relate. Which is why, more than ever, I’m looking for a way to undo even a tiny bit of damage I’m doing by sitting at a desk all day. To help me and you (all of us!), we had Claire Ewing of CorePower Yoga show us a few key moves to to unkink, stretch out, and strengthen the key muscles that keep us upright and without pain.
“This is a great arm balance for beginners. Start in downward-facing dog, keep your hips high, and walk your feet towards your hands. Your hands will stay shoulder-width distance apart as you begin to bend your elbows and create a shelf for your knees to land on the tops of your triceps. Shift your weight forward and trust your hands as a strong foundation. Gaze slightly forward and fire up your core. Try alternating lifts of your legs; eventually both feet will float off the ground.”
Target Muscle Groups: Upper arms, wrists, core.
“Wild Thing is a natural boost to help energize your body and mind. Start in a side plank, ground down through your left hand, and start to lift your right leg to float on top of your left leg. Bend your right knee and ground the ball of your lifted foot behind you. Press the ball mound of your right foot down, and elevate your hips. Rotate the grounded left hand and shoulder to allow your heart to open.”
Target Muscle Groups: Quads, shoulders, upper back.
“Begin in crescent lunge with your left foot forward and right foot back. Lift your right arm as you rotate your left shoulder and hand to your back right leg. Micro-bend your right knee to allow your chest to open; swivel your left hand to reach behind and touch your right leg. Lengthen through your side body, and gaze upwards to create a baby backbend.”
Target Muscle Groups: Low back, hips, chest, shoulders.
“Start in Warrior 2. Slowly begin to shift weight into your front foot by dragging your back right foot in towards the midline of your body. Lock your gaze a few inches in front of you to help your balance, then create a slight micro bend in your standing left leg as you begin to lift your right leg up. Stack your right hip on top of your left and engage through your obliques. To activate the pose further, lengthen the crown of your head forward and your heel back.”
Target Muscle Groups: Ankles, calves, obliques, shoulders.
Reverse Dancers Pose
“Starting in a forward fold, lift your right leg up. Transition to a Shiva squat by chambering your lifted right leg behind your bent left knee. Keep the fingers of your right palm grounded to the earth to help activate your core. Grasp your lifted right foot from the inner arch with your left hand. Set your gaze a few inches in front of you, power up through the quadricep of your standing leg, and extend your right arm above your head.”
Target Muscle Groups: Hips, Shoulders, chest, core.
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
“From standing in Figure 4 pose, bend your knees and cross your right foot over your left quad. Create a sturdy foundation on your left leg, place your left hand on your hip, then wrap your peace finger (yep, think about the fingers you would make a peace sign with) around your big right toe. Power up through your left quad, and then hug the right knee up towards your rib cage; breathe. Slowly begin to extend the right foot forward as you anchor your tailbone down. With ease and control, begin to open your foot up to the right side of your body.”
Target Muscle Groups: Hamstrings, hips, upper arms, upper back.
One-Legged Upward Bow
“Start by lying down on your back; bend your knees, and keep your feet parallel with your hips. Reach your arms overhead, and then flip the palms of your hands down so that your fingertips face towards your toes. Lift your hips upwards, and bring the crown of your head to your mat. Straighten your arms and lift your head off the ground as you drive energy into your heels. Shift your weight into your right foot, and slowly lift your left foot off the ground. Tap into your core as you pull your knee up, and then fully extend the left leg up to the sky.”
Target Muscle Groups: Spine, hips, shoulders, core.
“From a low lunge, press your palms into your mat and puff up through your shoulder blades to create space to squeeze your right knee in towards your nose. Extend the right foot back into a one-legged plank. With the leg still lifted, hinge your upper body slightly forward and bend your elbows to 90 degrees; lower the lifted foot down to the ground for up dog, thighs lift, heart pulls through, and push back to down dog.”
Target Muscle Groups: Triceps, core, quads.
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