Because you sit all day!
Does this scenario sound familiar?
It’s the end of another busy day and your back is in two. You’ve been tethered to your desk all day. You’ve eaten lunch at your desk instead of getting out for some fresh air and to stretch your legs …. again!
And now you’ve got that all-too-familiar nagging ache in your lower back. Tension spreads up to your shoulders and your neck feels stiff.
*Sigh*… The familiar effects of sitting all day!
We all sit together
There’s little wonder that most of us suffer some sort of back discomfort or pain during our lives. Our bodies are designed to move but the nature of so much work nowadays forces us to sit all day.
And despite our best intentions, demands of work keep us glued to our chairs…
The vast majority of back pain is muscular and is caused by bad posture and sitting for long periods.
Over time our posture goes out of alignment and our muscles become imbalanced leading to niggly aches, stiffness and soreness in our back.
I’ve long worked in universities, sitting at a desk all day, and I see so many of my colleagues suffering sore or painful backs through the effects of bad posture and lack of movement. And the majority of the lovely people coming to my yoga classes started yoga to counteract the bad posture and muscular tension sitting all day at a desk has led to.
Take back control of your back
But the good news is that you can do something about it!
Before the discomfort turns into chronic pain take some preventative action – through movement and relaxation. (And if it has become chronic pain, you still need to stretch, move and relax!)
Ideally, you need to bring more movement into your day – whether that’s walking instead of taking the lift; going for a stroll at lunchtime; or simply standing up and stretching at the side of your desk every hour. (More tips from me on beneficial movement in the weeks to come.)
Take control of your own health and wellbeing and start bringing a little yoga into your life everyday to counteract the effects sitting all day has on your body. You can do it!
But just for now …. simply rest your weary body
But with today’s post I’d like to share with you a simple yoga pose when you need to rest your tired and tense back.
It’s a pose which is perfect for when you’re feeling totally wiped out by your busy day; when your back is aching and your shoulders are tense and you don’t feel you have the energy for exercise.
It’s called Child Pose
This restful yoga pose frees tension in the area between the shoulder blades and along the whole length of your spine – lovely!
It’s also perfect if you’ve been sitting all day as it gently lengthens and releases your lower back thus counteracting the compression in your lumbar spine built up from sitting all day.
So, get yourself a couple of blankets ready and some blocks (or cushions) to support your head and get ready to make yourself comfortable.
There are three versions here: so try each one out and see which feels good for you and your body.
1. Extended Child
Sit back on your heels and stretch through your arms and along your spine.
If your forehead doesn’t quite reach the floor place a small cushion or block (even a book will do!) underneath to support it.
2. Relaxed Child
With this version we take our arms back to rest on the ground by our legs.
Again, do support your forehead with a small cushion if it doesn’t reach the floor comfortably. Or create a platform with your fists and rest your forehead on them.
3. Supported Child
Ah, the really restorative version. Get some cushions and relax your upper body down onto them.
A video guide to Child’s Pose:
Rest and relax
And as you rest in Child Pose, I invite you to withdraw your senses inwards.
Notice the sensations in your body – particularly along your spine and into your shoulders – as you rest on the ground.
Give your back muscles permission to relax.
Invite your mind to stop thinking – just for these few moments!
Allow yourself to rest on the earth and give your body and mind time to relax and release tension.
In giving yourself this space encourage your whole being to renew itself and restore your depleted reserves of energy.
Rest in this pose for at least two minutes – but the longer the better!
When you’re ready, slowly raise up and notice how you feel.
My invitation to you
Try resting in Child’s Pose for a few minutes every day for the next week and start the process of retraining your body and mind to relax!
Over to you
How does this sound? Can you give yourself 5 minutes to rest in Child’s Pose? How did it feel? If you tried this technique I’d love to hear how you got on. Please leave your comments in the box below.
Let me help you to help yourself
Weekly yoga classes: press pause in your busy week with tension-relieving, anxiety-easing mindful movement, breathing and relaxation with weekly Dru Yoga classes in Southampton, and Bishopstoke (near Eastleigh).
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Top photo credit: Ray_from_LA / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)