Maximize your health
Reading time 7 minutes
Sitting for a prolonged period of time has an effect on the body. Its natural flexibility and overall health will decrease. As a result your muscles become more stiff, RSI complaints can pop-up and a slower metabolism can lurk around the corner just as frequent snack attacks. When adopting an inactive posture such as sitting, your body changes and with that your health. After sitting for one hour, the body needs at least 90 seconds of active movement before it can function optimally again. When taking an active break less often you will notice that your concentration level decreases, and / or that you get an incredible urge to eat chocolate or chips and in addition stiffness of muscles and joints. In this blog you will find 14 every effective yoga poses that will counter-act those negative effects and ensure you will regain your natural health and mobility.
The sitting effect
In the Netherlands we love to sit. In comparison with other European countries, we are even in the lead. On average we spend more than nine hours a day, as shown by research done by RIVM. But what happens inside the body when you sit? What makes you stiffer, gives you a snack attack and / or diminishes your concentration? This funny cartoon is made to illustrate what sitting does to us (3 minutes viewing time):
After seeing the cartoon video you are probably surprised about the effect that sitting actually has on us. With the result that the need to stay (more) fit has probably increased. Do you know how fit you are at this moment? The Brazilian doctor Claudio Gil Araujo made it possible to measure this in a very simple way. Claudio wanted to do more than just inform his patients about the importance of staying fit. He wanted to give them concrete information about where they had room to improve. Because he believes that existing clinical tests to assess flexibility, balance and muscle strength are too impractical or time-consuming, he came up with something very simple to measure the fitness of his patients.
Sit & Get up
Sit, stand and repeat. It seems simple, but the way you sit and stand without hands appears to be an excellent test for measuring your fitness. Claudio designs this test for extensive scientific research. That research was subsequently published in the European Journal of Cardiology. In addition to measuring fitness, this test can also predict who will live longer and whose life will be shortened. So are you curious about how your fitness is doing? Then do Claudio’s test via this link.
Give yourself a break. Your body needs it, you deserve it.
It is well known that doing yoga brings peace and relaxation. In addition, there are also many yoga poses that counteract the negative consequences of sitting. That is why you will find below 14 poses (also known as asanas) that are most effective for this. They bring back your natural fitness and flexibility in muscles and joints. With each pose I explain what the effect is and in the video you can see step by step how you do it. In addition to the advanced pose, I will also show you a beginners pose, so that you can determine the intensity of the pose yourself. Choose the version that appeals to you the most. Doing one asana every day for the next 14 days will certainly maximize your fitness. Go for it!
1. Parsvakonasana –
Side Angle Pose
This asana stimulates the inner side of the leg from groin to ankle and strengthens the thigh muscles.
2. Baddha Konasana –
Bound Angle Pose
This asana is one of the best hip openers around. Counteracts chair- and cardio-crunched hips and also give the back a nice stretch.
3. Virabhadrasana III –
This asana strengthens the leg and core muscles. And just like all balance poses this one will stimulate your level of concentration. So no more dozing off behind your desk.
4. Gomukhasana –
Is a pose to loosen and open up hips, legs and shoulders. Great for when you have been sitting a lot during the day. I show you 2 versions, pick that one that feels best for your body.
5. Utkasana –
This pose had a deep effect on the leg muscles, arms and stimulates the heart and diaphragm.
6. Malasana –
This pose stretches the ankles, groins and back. If your heels don’t reach the floor, rest them on a folded blanket or use a meditation cushion like I do in the video.
7. Parivrtta Trikonasana –
Revolved Triangle Pose
A asana which strengthens and stretches the legs, stretches the hips and relieves (mild) back pain.
8. Janu Sirsasana –
Head To Knee Pose
Next to stretching the back, shoulders, hips and hamstring, this asana has a calming effect on your brain. Give yourself a moment to unwind and de-stress!
9. Prasarita Padottanasana – Wide Legged Standing Forward Bend
This asana strengthens your hamstrings, calves, feet and spine. It also calms your mind and relieves headaches.
10. Balasana –
A comforting pose that restores the balance and harmony of the body. When resting the head on hands (see video) it relieves back and neck pain.
11. Uttanasana –
Standing Forward Bend
By bending from the hips the hamstrings and lower back get a full stretch. This pose calms the mind and refreshes the brain. In every video of this challenge I show you two ways of doing the pose. Choose that option that makes your body feel good as that is what yoga is all about.
12. Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Dog
One of yoga’s most widely recognized yoga poses. It offers the ultimate all-over rejuvenating stretch.
13. Natarajasana – Dancer Pose
Gives a stretch in the shoulders, chest, thighs, groins and abdomen. It strengthens the legs and ankles. This asana symbolise cosmic energy that will rejuvenate you. Let’s bring on eternal youth 😉
14. Vrksasana – Tree Pose
Strengthens your core. It improves your posture and counteracts the effects of sitting and computer work. This asana helps to calming and relaxing the mind to relieve anxious thoughts and feelings.
After years of having an office job, Esther personally experienced what long-term sitting does with the body. On doctor’s advice, she participated in a yoga class, which led to a major turning point in her life. After more than 20 years, she quit her office job and opted for entrepreneurship. Since 2018, she has been sharing her knowledge and experience with as many people as possible to help them achieve a fitter life. “Life is not a race, it is a marathon.” And just like with any other endurance sport, attention to the body is essential if you want to be able to reach the finish line gloriously. ” Esther’s blog page has been awarded Best Yoga Blog 2019 in the Netherlands and Belgium.