In a perfect world, we'd all have super active lifestyles that keep us on our feet all day.
But the reality is, many of sit for over eight hours per day! And not only that, but sitting too long can actually change the shape of your heart.
With so many of us working jobs that require us to sit at a desk for much of the day, there's one yoga pose you can easily incorporate into your workday to help mitigate the effects of sitting: bridge pose!
Here's how to do it.
Find a place you can comfortably lie on your back. (If there's nowhere you can do this in your office, you can always wait until you get home.)
Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor about hip-width apart and your fingertips can slightly graze the backs of your heels. From there, keeping your chin slightly tucked, press your feet into the floor and send your hips up to the ceiling on an inhale.
Bringing awareness to the point where your glutes meet your hamstrings; the motion of squeezing the backs of the legs will allow you to push your hips higher. Imagine there's a string pulling them both up! Remember to keep your core stable and your knees in line with your hips so everything stays in alignment.
Hold for about 15 seconds, then on an exhale, lower back down slowly. We recommend doing three sets of bridge for 15 seconds each.
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Make it yours.
Doing bridge exactly as it was just explained may be perfectly enough for you. But one of the best parts about a yoga practice is making it your own.
So if it feels good, try interlacing your fingers underneath you and pulling slightly, to help open up your chest and shoulders.
If your body desires extra support, you can use a yoga block on its tallest height under your lower back. Avoid collapsing onto the block and rather feel it underneath you, offering light assistance. You can also squeeze a block between your thighs to help keep knees in line and work your legs a bit more.
And lastly, if you're feeling ambitious, you can do full wheel pose on your third round if it's within your practice.
Why it helps.
If you sit a lot at work, you're likely no stranger to tight hips and back pain (lower and upper). When we sit all day, our hips are always flexing forward and up, which shortens the psoas, or the muscle that connects your lower back to your upper thigh. Not to mention the slouching that's all too common when we sit.
So it's really no wonder we can often feel achy by the end of the day.
But in bridge pose, our hips are extending as opposed to flexing, allowing for opening along the front of the body. If done correctly, your chest, shoulders, and hips should feel much looser after a round or two.
Now, this doesn't mean we can get away with sitting all day by doing a minute of stretching. Of course, we could all use more ways to improve our posture and get moving throughout the day. But for a quick pose to do when you're feeling tight, bridge is a perfect choice.
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