There’s no denying it: we sit in front of screens too much, and it’s killing us. Sitting, like, smoking, drinking soda, or sleep deprivation, is awful for our health. However, unlike these other harmful habits, we can’t simply ‘quit’ or ‘give up’ sitting (although perhaps we can do it less). What we can do, however, is teach our bodies to sit in a way that doesn’t cause us pain and destroy the integrity of our spine and discs.
That’s where yoga comes in! Yoga emphasizes building optimal posture, so using yogic principles of alignment to check in with our posture throughout the day is a great way to avoid the tension and pain that often comes along with desk jobs.
Here are 5 yogic ways to check in with and correct your sitting posture throughout the day.
1. Check your feet and knees
Keep your feet hips’ distance apart, with your weight spread evenly throughout the four corners of your feet. Your knees should also be about hip distance apart, and parallel to one another. Avoid crossing your legs, especially at the thighs, as this can cut off blood circulation and also take your body out of balance.
2. Notice your hips
Your weight should be evenly distributed throughout your butt cheeks. Check that your sitting bones, or those bones you can feel toward the base of your rear, are both resting firmly on your chair. Our hips navigate between our upper and lower body, so keeping them balanced and steady is crucial.
3. Let your back keep its natural curves
We actually don’t want to completely straighten our backs, as we’d lose its natural curvature. The lower back naturally curves inward, while the middle back naturally curves outward, and then our neck naturally curves inward again. Sit tall without losing these natural curves.
4. Open your chest, relax your shoulders
Keep your chest and shoulders open, with your shoulders at equal heights. Move your shoulder blades slightly down your back and away from your neck.
5. Keep your head held high
As mentioned earlier, our neck naturally curves inward. When we hunch over our phones or laptops, we reverse that natural curve, which can create a lot of pain and tension in our shoulders and neck. For optimal posture, your neck should keep its natural curve inward, and the back of your head should be in line with the top of your back.
Remember, just as our bad posture took time to develop, so will correcting it with good posture habits. Take the time to check in with your posture frequently throughout the day and re-adjust yourself, and eventually you will naturally hold yourself in this new, healthy way!
One more thing: while sitting smarter takes a lot of strain off your spine, it’s still important to get up and move around. Try taking a stretching – or better yet, walking – break every half hour, or every hour at least. Even five minutes of movement can go far to break up all that sitting.
-The Alternative Daily