Sitting is the new Smoking

“Sitting has become the new smoking.” At least that’s what one of my fellow yoga teachers says. Many of us sit at desks 8-10 hours a day, our commutes to work are becoming longer, and we spend hours watching tv and surfing the internet. We have become a society of sitters. According to Healthline.com, sitting can have short-term and long-term effects on the body including tight hips leading to back pain, anxiety and depression, heart disease, diabetes risk, varicose veins and stiff neck and shoulders.

Here are some simple solutions to incorporate in your day through everyday yoga.

1.  Stand up . . . every 20 minutes. New science shows that standing up about every 20 minutes, even for only a minute or two, reduces your risks of developing diabetes and heart disease. Setting an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to stand up can also be beneficial.

2.  Standing Hip Circles. Stand with your feet 2 feet apart with a slight bend in the knees and your hands on your hips. Begin making circular motions with your hips and reverse after several breaths. The movement aids in circulating synovial fluid through the body to lubricate the joints while stretching the hip flexors and outer hips.

3.  Empty Coat Sleeves. Stand with your feet 2 feet apart and twist your body from right to left allowing your arms to swing from side to side. As you twist to the left, lift your right heel off the ground. Continue twisting for 10 breaths. This is a great movement for your spine that also moves energy through the body which can relieve tiredness and spark creativity.

4. Seated Cat/Cow. Start by sitting near the front of the chair seat, with your feet hip-distance apart and planted firmly under your knees. Place your hands on your knees. Inhale rock your pelvis towards the back of your chair, lifting your gaze and chest towards the ceiling. Exhale rock your pelvis back pulling your hands against your knees rounding your spine while bringing your chin to your chest. Repeat for 10 breaths. This movement improves spinal mobility.

5. Seated neck rolls. Inhale sit up tall, exhale bring your chin to your chest keeping the spine long. Inhale roll your head to the right, exhale roll your head to the left. Continue for 10 breaths. Avoid rolling the head back if there is a history of cervical spine injuries. This pose can relieve tension in the neck.