We humans were not really designed to sit all day. That said, most of us do. In the last blog post and newsletter I wrote about what happens to our upper body and what we can do to counter it. Today I’m writing about the lower body and what is referred to as Lower Cross Syndrome.
Sitting signals our brain to adapt in a not so great way. Our hip flexors get short and tight as does our lower back muscles. At the same time our abdominal muscles get weak as do our glutes. As you can see from the diagram, the muscles across from the tight shortened muscle become weak (that’s why it’s called lower CROSS syndrome).
Over time this becomes a real issue. The lower back is over arched which can cause back pain and disk issues. The chronically shortened hip flexors can put our hip joints into a position that eventually can degrade the integrity of the hip joints.
Ideally we might stop sitting all the time. Quit our jobs, stop driving, get rid of the couch and television. Better yet we could move into the woods and our daily struggle to survive would take care of our lower cross syndrome. I’m guessing if you’ve done this you aren’t reading this article and suffering in this way.
Fortunately yoga poses were born out of a meditation tradition. Guess what you do when you meditate all day? You guessed it, sit! So the ever elegant yoga tradition once again has some pretty solid ideas about how to prevent sitting from becoming a problem.
Basically we are going to strengthen our weak muscles (glutes and abdominals) and stretch our tight muscles (hip flexors and lower back erectors). A good well rounded yoga class will take care of this. I thought I would share a brief sequence that you might do when getting to yoga isn’t possible. Countering the effects of sitting is one of the best things we can do to improve our quality of life. Let’s avoid back pain, hip issues and painful body posture—try these poses in between sitting sessions.
Also, feel free to break this sequence up during the day if that’s the only way to fit them in. And as I said last time, if it doesn’t work, call a Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapist and we will take it from there.
May we all find ease of movement today and always,