If Your Posture Is Despicable, Try These Stretches You Can Do at Your Desk

Photo: Getty Images/Fizkes
Spending eight hours hunched over a computer screen each day would render even a prima ballerina's posture imperfect, so it's no wonder we office workers deal with back pain like its our job. For many, desk life is an unfortunate and unavoidable part of one's career. Fortunately, there are a number of yoga teacher-approved stretches so easy you can do them sitting down. So long, aching shoulders and spine!

If you're looking for something quick and easy, 300-hour certified yoga teacher (and Well+Good's director of marketing) Jessica Pickens recommends clasping opposite elbows behind your back to alleviate some discomfort while training your body to recognize an optimal seated position. "The simple movement open up your chest, broadens your collar bone, and gives you more space on your front body," she says.

Should you have a little more time on your hands, add a few extra poses to the lineup. When you do head back to your desk to plow through your inbox, you'll do so with a spine that feels fresh out of savasana.

Make your back feel like new again with these desk-friendly yoga poses

1. Figure four: "This will help to relieve outer hip and low back tightness from sitting all day," says Lindsay Pirozzi, a New York City-based yoga instructor at Y7 Studio. "To accomplish this seated on a chair be sure to sit close to the edge of the chair so you can sit with a tall spine. Place your right ankle mindfully in top of your left thigh and let the outer hips relax. To add more sensation feel free to gently press in your right inner thigh to guide the hip open even more."

Hold for 8-10 breaths each and complete on other side.

2. Side bend: "Side bending will lengthen the spine, releasing the psoas [muscles that connect the lumbar vertebrae to the femur] and shoulders simultaneously and helping to improve posture and improve breathing throughout the day," says Pirozzi. To begin, sit up tall, interlace your fingers, and stretch them overhead so that your palms face the ceiling. Keep your tailbone heavy and alternate leaning to one side.

Hold for about 5 breaths and switch sides.

3. Forward fold: While intentionally rounding forward may seem counterintuitive, Sarrah Strimel, a 650-hour certified yoga teacher and co-founder of Montauk's BYoga, says it feels straight-up amazing if you suffer from poor posture. "Widen your feet hip-width and bow your chest down—and if it's accessible—between your legs," she instructs, releasing your lumbar spine, or lower back, which will be none-too-happy after a day spent sitting in a subpar office chair.

Hold for about 10 breaths. 

Here are a bunch of other methods for improving posture. Plus, learn how to make time spent at your desk more productive

Loading More Posts...