Do you find yourself hunched over a desk all day and experiencing a sore back and little energy as a result? Maybe your job involves a lot of driving or you spend a lot of time in a wheelchair. If so, this week's Dru Yoga tips for life is all about stretching your upper body. . . while sitting in a chair.
When we sit a lot our posture can get out of alignment very quickly. The results can be; reduced lung capacity, squashed internal organs, lower, middle and upper back problems, neck issues and headaches, fatigue, reduced creativity, grumpiness and sluggish digestion. Sound familiar?
The good news is the answer is quick and easy. Firstly, remind yourself about the first step - sitting position (see Dru Yoga tips for life #6). When you re-adjust your position, concentrate on lifting the breastbone - this will automatically correct the upper spine and open the chest. Next try out this section of the foundation Energy Block Release sequence.
Foundation Energy Block Release sequence
This step will stretch your upper body with three movements from the foundation Energy Block Release. Practice it regularly to gain maximum benefit.
- Sit in an alert, erect sitting position with your core stability gently engaged.
- Place your left hand in front of your navel, palm up. Elongate your spine and raise your right arm sideways and overhead. The palm faces down as though you are holding a large beach ball between your hands. Lift and stretch from the right elbow.
- Bend over to the left, stretching from the right hip through to your shoulder and into your right hand.
- Engage your core stability muscles, breathe in and straighten up, lifting from the right elbow. Your arms reverse positions symmetrically as you rise up, as if you are rolling the beach ball between your hands.
- Repeat two more times to each side.
- With your arms a little distance away from your sides, rotate them forwards. The movement flows from the shoulders, into the elbows and wrists.
- Rotate your arms backwards, beginning the movement from the shoulders. Feel your chest opening.
- Continue the rotations, gradually raising the arms to shoulder height.
- Rotate the arms in alternate directions so that one arm rolls forwards at the same time as the other one rolls backwards. Your head turns in the direction of the upturned hand. Extend your arms on the out breath and release and twist on the in-breath and then reverse. Lower your arms to your side.
- Place your fingertips on your shoulders with your elbows in front.
- Keeping your fingers on your shoulders, draw your elbows upwards. Raise your head slightly as you lengthen your upper spine. Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed throughout.
- Take your elbows back and out to the sides as you lower them as though drawing circles with your elbows. Complete the circular movement, raising the elbows in front, and repeat the movements.
- Repeat two more times.
- Reverse the movements, breathing in as you raise your elbows behind you and out as you lower them in front.
- Repeat two more times, then lower your arms to your sides.
The quick fix is to breathe up through the spine, lift the breastbone and gently roll the shoulders. Once you start, it feels so good you will want to do all three stretches, so be prepared.