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5 Yoga Moves You Can Do Sitting Down

By Daryl H. Bryant (642 words)
Posted in Living with MS on December 10, 2014

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5 Yoga Moves You Can Do Sitting Down

If you’re looking for ways to manage your physical pain, try adding yoga to your regular exercise routines. Often with MS, flexibility and mobility can be limited, but yoga can help stretch these muscles and improve your balance and coordination without being physically demanding.

The low-impact style of yoga lends itself easily to many existing exercise regimens, and yoga can be used even while sitting down. If you experience limited mobility but still wish to work out your muscles and reduce your MS pain, try doing these yoga moves while sitting down.

Cat-Cow Pose

This easy pose is a great one to start with. With both feet flat on the floor, rest your hands – palms down – on the top of your knees and straighten you spine. Inhale deeply, arch your back, and stare at the ceiling. Count to three and then exhale. As you exhale, round your spine and relax your neck, dropping your chin to your chest. Hold this position and count to three, then repeat.

Spinal Twist

After a few reps of the Cat-Cow, return to the starting position with your feet flat on the floor and your palms on your knees. Turn so you are sitting sideways in the chair. Grab the back of the chair and inhale deeply as you twist your upper body towards the back of chair. Hold for the count to three, then exhale and return to your original position. Repeat and continue holding the back of the chair while you as this will help you maintain balance and prevent you from slouching.

Neck Stretches

Now that you’ve relaxed the spine and lower back, move up to your neck. Start by pulling your legs up into a cross-legged position in your chair. Relax your neck by staring down at your desk or table. It can be easier to remain relaxed if you focus your eyes on something like the keyboard or post-it pad. Then, inhale deeply and lean your head the right. Let your left arm dangle towards the floor until you feel the stretch of the muscles. Exhale and return to your original position, then repeat by leaning your head to left and letting your right arm dangle loosely.

Half Lotus

With your legs still crossed from the neck position, you can easily move into a half lotus to help you reduce tension in your knees and legs. Remain seated on your right foot and pull the left one out of the cross-legged knot and let it rest on the bend of the right leg. Inhale deeply and straighten your spine. Rest your hands – palms down – on each of your knees. Hold position for the count of three, then exhale and relax. Inhale again and straighten your spine, count to three, then exhale and relax. Repeat 3-5 times given your comfort level.

Standing Pigeon

If you can stand after these few relaxing positions have loosened you up, the standing pigeon position is great for reducing tension in the hips. It works best if you have a table or desk that stands no higher than your waist. Stand from your seat and lift your leg onto the desk, keeping your knee and shin parallel with the edge of the table. Inhale deeply and bend at the waist over for the leg. Count to three and exhale as your return to an upright position. Slowly bring your leg back to the floor, then repeat with the opposite leg.

As you implement these yoga moves while sitting down, either at your desk, in bed, or as part of your existing exercise routines, remember the importance of breathing. Inhaling deeply as you go into each pose will help you maintain proper posture, and exhaling as you move between positions will keep you relaxed and loose. Breathing is as important as the positions themselves, and you’ll have an easier time holding the positions if you keep breathing. 

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