Most people sit for hours at a desk while working. Americans live a sedentary lifestyle. We sit in our cars or on the train during our commute, sit for 8 hours at the office, and sit on the couch when we get home. The posture in which we sit is rarely healthy. Even if you maintain a straight spine for a while, it becomes challenging at the end of the working day.
Pain may become the trigger that leads you to do yoga. And you’ve come to the right place. There are many asanas that are aimed at getting rid of unpleasant sensations and strengthening muscles. This is no coincidence because asanas prepare the body for meditation, which implies prolonged sitting with a straight back without discomfort.
Safety precautions for yoga beginners
It’s always better to start with simple asanas, 10 minutes a day. Gradually you may increase the time and practice additional asanas. If you have no possibility to indulge in training with professionals, use the mirror to see how you maintain the position.
The main rule is – there should be no discomfort or pain! If you feel unpleasant sensations in your body, try to make the asana easier to perform or don’t do it at all. Do everything slowly, with acute attention. Try to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Avoid practicing yoga 2-3 hours after a meal.
An effective way to warm up
The main aim when dealing with back pain is traction. All practice is aimed at increasing the distance between the vertebrae.
Start your yoga practice with a simple but very effective exercise. Lie on the floor, hug your knees and start rolling back and forth without leaning on the cervical vertebrae. This is a very good massage for your spine and it warms you up before your main practice.
The complex asanas for a healthy spine
Let’s start with the main complex. If you perform asanas regularly, your practice will reduce back pain and improve the flexibility of your spine, which will make it easier to maintain a long sitting position.
Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
Sit cross-legged on a mat, relax your sit bones and push your knees up from the floor. Don’t round your lower back. Inhale and stretch the spine upward with your hands above the head, palm to palm. Exhale and lower the shoulders down.
This posture strengthens the back muscles, makes the muscle corset stronger, evens out posture, and increases blood circulation in the back area, which helps relieve pain.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing dog pose)
Get down on your knees and place your pelvis on your heels. The arms are extended forward, shoulder-width apart. Push off the mat, push your pelvis up, bend your knees slightly to achieve a straight back position. As you inhale, push your sit bones upward, and as you exhale, push your ribcage downward.
Try to make your back straight, but relaxed. Remain in this position for several deep breaths, then take a short break, have a rest on the mat, and then repeat if necessary.
Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)
Bend your knees and take a wide step back as you exhale. Try to put your fingers in line with the toes. Push your pelvis down and you will feel a stretch in your hips. Hold this position for 3-4 breathing cycles.
The asana increases the mobility of the spinal column and hip joints, stretches the gluteus maximus and deep-lying pelvic muscles give stretch to the ligaments of the legs and increases their elasticity.
Marjariasana (Cat-Cow pose)
Get on all fours, knees under your pelvis, wrists under your shoulders, palms extended, middle finger pointing clearly forward (this will avoid injuring your wrists). As you inhale, start moving your tailbone up, subsequently bending in the lower back to the upper spine. On an exhalation, the tailbone moves down, and then each vertebra goes down one after another until the chin approaches the sternum.
Repeat these movements 15-20 times, each time pushing off the mat with your hands. Don’t allow your back to sag. Movements should be wavy and soft. This pose is the best massage for the spine, its mobility increases, tension is relieved, the back becomes more flexible.
Shalabhasana (Locust pose)
Lie on your stomach, stretch your arms forward, stretch your legs backward, lengthen the entire body. As you inhale, contract your back muscles and lift your arms and legs off the floor. Gaze directly without bending your neck. Breathe calmly (5-10 breathing cycles). Then lower your arms, relax on the rug, rest.
The locust pose strengthens the muscles of the back, makes the spine more flexible and mobile, warms up, and increases blood flow in the back.
If you suffer from back pain and underlying diseases, you must consult your doctor before doing yoga. For all the others, who are willing to reduce the harm of sedentary office work yoga is undoubtedly beneficial. Regular practice of asanas will relieve discomfort in the back it receives during the working day.