ease back tension chair yoga

How to Ease Back Tension without Leaving Your Chair

Yesterday, as I was planning out my content for November, my Fitbit buzzed me to let me know it was time to get up and move around. It was the third time, I realized, and the last two I ignored. That’s when I felt it. My shoulders were up by my ears, I had a light tension headache, and my legs were stiff. And a twinge was starting to form in the middle of my back. Have you felt this while working? It’s pretty common for women who are building a business or work on their own to get lost in the work itself, and ignore the signs our bodies give us to step away and do what we were designed for: movement.

So I did this little sequence, then got up and refilled my water bottle. At the end of the day, I felt much better than I would have if I had continued to ignore the message my body was giving to me.

When you spend long hours at your desk, or at the coffee shop, on your laptop or computer, your posture suffers.

Your shoulders slump forward, your spine curves and your head leans in. All of this is a recipe for aches and pains, especially back pain and headaches. Taking regular breaks to get up and move around, or even just stretch a little in your chair will help to alleviate these issues and prevent future pain. Just five minutes every hour or half hour will keep your body from falling into office body syndrome of tension and stiffness.

Here is a short yoga sequence you can do right now as you sit and read this! So position your chair so that you have both feet on the ground with your knees in line with your hips.

seated cow pose

1. Seated Cat + Cow

Putting your hands on your knees, slowly and gently lift the chest up as you inhale, and then send the spine back as you exhale, tucking chin to chest. Don't collapse here, send the energy back rather than down. Cycling through these two with your breath a few times, inhaling the heart up and exhaling the spine back, and do this for about one minute.

seated twist pose

2. Seated Twist

Place your right hand on the outside of your left thigh. Alternatively, you can grasp the left arm rest, if you have one. Send your left hand back, over the back of the chair. Another modification is that you can place your left hand on the back of your neck and send the left elbow back. As you inhale, open the chest to the left. As you exhale, soften into the twist. Stay here, opening and softening with the breath for about 3-5 cycles of breath, then go to the next pose (below).

seated fold pose

3. Forward Bend with Arms Crossed

From the previous pose, release the left hand and inhale it up and over to rest on the right thigh or arm rest. Your arms are crossed over each other in front of you. Bowing chin to chest, breath here for 3-5 cycles of breath. When it feels good, inhale and lift the arms up overhead (like you are taking off a sweater), and exhale release the arms down. Repeat Pose #2 & #3 on the other side.

How does this help my spine?

Opening the front, back, and sides of the body in movement like this allows the muscles to lengthen then compress. This action helps send blood and oxygen to the fibers of your muscles, keeping them healthier, which in turn, helps them to support your spine so it doesn’t become misaligned. The more we take actions like this, the better we feel as work, which allows us to focus more on the project at hand. This results in faster completion, which means more time to do the other things you love.

This sequence was originally live streamed to a Facebook group for entrepreneurs.  If you want live streamed sequences like this one, you could join the Your Yoga Life Facebook Group. It’s a community of business-minded women and entrepreneurs who support their life and business with the practice of yoga.

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