Three Simple Yoga Poses to Undo a Day of Computer Crouching

Because dinosaur arms are extremely unflattering

by Samantha Pollack

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It sucks, right?

The whole reason you started your business was to help people live healthier, more balanced lives. Your students, clients, and followers look to you to model this. They probably think you wake up with the sunrise, drink coconut water out of real coconuts, and do Tree Pose on the beach in flowing white garments.

The reality? In order to run a successful business – no matter how good you are or how happy it makes you – most of your time involves  computer-related tasks. Website edits, accounting and bookkeeping (joy), program and product development, blog posts, scheduling, and EMAIL EMAIL EMAIL.

It’s the reality of modern business, and it’s ruining our bodies.

Before you know it, you’ve spent an entire day crouched at your desk, forgetting to drink the water, and ignoring your “get up and move” alarm because you just need to finish this one thing.

You’re developing permanent T-Rex arms and what looks suspiciously like the beginnings of an old lady hump.

You’ve gotta stop that, girlfriend. Because taking care of your body is part of your JOB.

Just like meeting with potential clients and keeping up with your website. You DO have to walk the walk – or your integrity goes to shit, and you’ll start doing crap work. Plus, nobody wants an old lady hump.

Next time your “get up and move” timer goes off (and if you don’t have one of those, you really should) – GET UP AND MOVE.

These three simple yoga poses will undo the worst computer contortions your laptop can dish out.

1. Locust Pose

Bad news: This pose is awkward. The first few times you do it, it hurts like hell – especially if you have T-Rex arms like yours truly.

Good news: Do this pose for a minute or two a day, and by the end of the week your elbows and wrists will sing you songs of freedom.

How to do it:

Lie on your stomach, chin on the floor, arms along your sides, palms facing the floor. Now comes the awkward part: wriggle your arms, palms down, underneath your body, so you’re lying on top of them. Try to get your forearms inside your hip bones.

In a traditional yoga sequence, you grip the mat with your hands and raise one leg, then the other, then both legs off the floor. It’s actually a backbend when you do it that way. (If you CAN do it that way, unlike yours truly.)

You’re welcome to try that, but it’s not necessary (and if you have a low back injury, you probably shouldn’t).

Hold that first position for one minute, then release and rest one minute. Repeat (lifting the other leg this time.)

2. Supported Bridge with Psoas Release

Probably the worst thing about sitting is the damage done to your hips and low back. What’s worse, lots of intense hip stretching can actually make it WORSE. That’s because your psoas – the deep hip flexor that runs from your low back to the front of your hip – likes to stay tight (and get tighter).

To release, it needs to relax.

How to do it:

Lie on your back with a yoga block under your sacrum. Bend your knees and keep the soles of your feet on the ground. Breathe deeply and relax into this position for at least two minutes.

After two minutes, extend your left leg (out long on the floor) while reaching your left arm overhead (opposite from your left foot). Breathe deeply and feel a stretch in the front of your left hip.* As you relax, you’ll also feel a little psoas stretch, which is deep in your core on the left side.

*If you don’t feel anything, adjust your block to get some more height under your sacrum. Your block has three levels: horizontal and flat on the wide side, horizontal and upright on the narrow side; and vertical. Find a height that’s comfortable enough to relax and doesn’t compress your lower back (it’s different for everyone.)

Next, shift your left arm and leg over to the right, forming a kind of banana shape. Breathe deeply and drape your body over that block like a spaghetti noodle. Hold for one minute.

Return to starting position and repeat on your right side. To “dismount,” lift your hips and remove the block, then roll over to one side and work your way up to seated.

3. Puppy Dog / Heart-Melting Pose

You know that burning ache in your upper shoulders after a long bout of computer work? This awesome combination of Downward Dog and Child’s Pose will melt that away like butter on toast.

How to do it:

Start with Downward Dog, but lower your knees to the ground. For Puppy Dog, your hips will stay directly over your knees (as opposed to shifting back toward the heels like they do in Child’s Pose).

Extend your arms even farther forward, letting the chest melt toward the mat. You might like to widen your hands a bit too.

Creep your fingertips even farther out with an inhale, then exhale and let the chest melt even deeper. (Make sure to find a comfortable position for your head and neck. If you’re super back-bendy, you may need to look forward and put your chin on the floor.)

Continue this lengthening/melting/breathing pattern for at least two minutes.

To release, walk your fingers back toward your knees, sit up, and carry on.

It’s a bummer — this tug-of-war between how much we depend on computers and how much damage they do to our bodies.

But until someone invents a computer that radiates alpha waves and ergonomically molds itself to its user?

You gotta stretch.


Note: All yoga-related posts are subject to Kris Ward’s approval to ensure accuracy and safety. 

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Samantha Pollack
Samantha Pollack traveled a winding road through personal training, health coaching, and the restaurant business, before hitting her stride as a full-time writer. In 2010, she bid a fond “peace out” to her demanding career in Boston and relocated to the mountains of Asheville, NC. Since then, she’s launched (and more

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