Most of the time, when you watch TV, you're slouching or lying in ways that put strain on your shoulders, back, or hips. Watching Netflix shouldn't feel like work, but it also shouldn't leave you feeling miserable the next day, which is what's bound to happen if you're not aligning your body. I'm a yoga therapist and an alignment specialist with BodyFix Method, so I'm especially aware that how you sit affects how you feel. Slouching may feel good, but it's not good for you.
That's where these yoga poses come in; they're comfortable shapes you can hold while watching TV so that your body's in proper alignment. You can try them out in any order, moving on to another when one starts to get uncomfortable. (If you're watching a three-hour movie, you'll probably be able to try them all.) Sit in these opening, releasing postures every day, breathing deeply and allowing yourself to sink into the asanas, and after a week or two, you'll notice that as you go about your day, you feel more comfortable, alert, and aligned. (Not a bad use of all that time spent watching Netflix!)
1. Sphinx Pose
How to: Lie on your belly with your elbows under your shoulders and press your hands into the couch or floor, pulling the floor back. Imagine that your eyes are in your collarbones and not in your head. Watch with your collarbones! This shape releases the hip and groins and opens the chest. This will prevent you from slouching while watching TV.
2. Supported Hero’s Pose
How to: Sit on as many pillows as you need. Bring your knees together and make sure your toes are pointing back or in toward each other. Sit at the very front of your sitting bones. Imagine you are rocking forward on a rocking chair. This shape helps bring back the natural curve in your feet, knees, and spine.
3. Supported Staff Pose
How to: Sit with your butt as close to the edge of the couch as you can. Make sure that your butt and spine are actually touching the couch or wall. Find the front of your sitting bones, specifically the attachment of the hamstrings and butt, and sit up tall, leaning into the wall or couch behind you. The support of the wall or couch will help your spine understand where it is supposed to be in space so that when the support is no longer there, your body will know where to be!
4. Supported Wide-Straddle Forward Bend
How to: Lengthen your legs as well as you can. If the knees need to stay slightly bent, honor that. It simply means your hamstrings are a little tight. They will soften! Place a pillow under your belly close to your inner thighs, and slide your elbows beyond the pillow. Make sure your neck feels long and your sitting bones are firmly rooted into the ground. This pose will lengthen your hamstrings, relieve any pain in the lower back, and open up your groins.
How to: Sit up on a pillow so that your hips are over your knees. Slide one knee over the other and place your hands over your knees. Sit as upright as you can, making sure that both sitting bones are on your pillow. This shape will help open up your TFL, IT Band, and all the muscles on your outer hips that tend to get tight when we sit at a computer without the proper alignment. This one also feels great after Supported Wide-Straddle Forward Bend.
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6. Lumbar Spine and Groin Release
How to: This shape is great if you have any lower back tightness and or hip tightness. Lie along the couch on your belly with one leg long and let the other knee hang. You will feel a stretch in your lower back and a release in your lower body. Remember to do both sides!
7. Resting Shiva, LAT Stretch
How to: Lie on your side and place a hand under your ear, making sure your neck is nice and long. Feel the opening on the side body and rest the knee that is on top over the bottom. This will help stabilize your hip and release the lower back.
How to: Sit on the floor and bend both knees, sliding one foot all the way around, close to your butt, and the other in front of you with the foot facing your quad. If you notice that one of your sitting bones is very lifted, slide a pillow underneath your butt and then watch the magic of gravity as it releases! This pose promotes extension of the lumbar spine and forces full range of motion at the hip joints. Make sure the foot that is behind you stays flexed!
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