Most of us spend at least half of our waking hours sitting —in the car, at work, while resting at home—and this amount of sedentary behaviour has been linked to poor posture, and a range of other more serious health risks such as higher blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer.
While quitting your desk job might not be an option, getting more physical activity into your daily life around those seated hours can make a big impact.
One great way to do this is to jumpstart your day with a light session of morning stretches! Here are five easy yoga stretches you can do in the comfort of your own bedroom to stretch out your stiff muscles and counteract the periods of inactivity your day might bring.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
From kneeling, bring your chest down onto your thighs and your forehead to the floor. Let your arms lengthen by your side with your hands next to your feet, or if you prefer, stack your hands underneath your forehead. Take a slow, full breath in through your nose and as you exhale through the nose, see if you can sink your butt back down toward your heels, feeling your spine gently curving over your thighs. Stay here for 5-10 breaths.
Cat/Cow Pose (Bidalasana)
Move into a tabletop position with your wrists directly beneath your shoulders, and knees beneath your hips. Press your palms into the mat to ensure your shoulder blades are broad. As you inhale, look forward, or up towards the ceiling if it’s comfortable for your neck, and stretch your tailbone towards the ceiling. As you exhale, tuck the chin to the chest and reach your tailbone back towards the floor. Continue to move with each breath, feeling your spine being massaged. Breathe through 5 rounds.
Downward Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Take the palms a little wider than your shoulders, tuck your toes and lift your hips into the air. Bring your chest back towards your thighs, with your head relaxed and arms straight. Roll your shoulders away from your ears, and – with your knees slightly bent – start to walk your heels down towards the floor. Remember: it’s more important to keep the hips high than to get the soles of the feet to the ground. Take another 5 -10 breaths here.
Standing Forward Bend Pose (Uttanasana)
Walk your feet toward your hands, and let your upper body hang with your neck and head are relaxed, and knees bent to start with. If there’s no tension in your lower back, start to straighten your legs. As you inhale, let your spine lengthen. As you exhale, move your head slowly closer to your feet. Take 10 slow breaths here.
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
From a standing position, widen your leg stance to about a leg-length. Turn your right foot out to the side, making sure your heel lines up with the centre arch of your left foot. Take your arms parallel to the ground and reach out to the right side, keeping both legs straight. When you can’t reach any further, pivot the arms so they are in one line, moving in opposite directions, with your chest remains open and torso lengthening. Take 5 breaths here, and repeat on the other side.