Fitness Magazine

A Sequence for People Who Sit for Long Periods

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Baxter

A Sequence for People Who Sit for Long Periods

Baxter At Music Camp


I was thrilled to see that in Yoga for Traveling Nina compiled all the posts we have done over the years related to yoga for travel and the stresses that can accompany it, especially long periods of sitting. Several of the posts she linked to were applicable to other common situations that involve sitting for long periods of time, the most obvious one being sedentary jobs, often in front of the computer. But one less common is for musicians who sit for long periods of time when practicing or performing. 

I saw this up-close a few weeks back when I attended a week-long adult music camp for the second summer in a row. I was in several hour-long lessons each day where everyone but the bass player was sitting the entire time, and often with poor posture. And in the evenings, there were music jams, where participants often sat for 2-3 hours straight, absorbed in making music. On top of sitting for long periods, the way many musicians have to hold their instruments creates lost of weird asymmetrical holding patterns in the body. Imagine the guitar player’s different arm positions and tendency to round forward over their instrument or us violin players, with arms doing different things and the head often tipped and turned to one side. 

And of course I know plenty of musicians who spend many consecutive hours each day practicing and many do so sitting. All of this makes yoga asana practice especially beneficial for musicians!

For you non-musicians, prolonged periods of sitting—whether or not you’re making asymmetrical movements—are associated with a whole slew of negative outcomes, from increasing your chances of premature death (up eight-fold compared to those who are active most of the time and sit rarely) to the development of chronic diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. In his post The Ill Effects of Prolonged SItting Ram goes into more detail about the negative effects of being sedentary as well as the reasons why this happens.

After my return from music camp, I remembered that a while back I had created a longer video practice for YogaUOnline as part of a stress reduction series on their Practice Channel that was designed especially for those who spend long periods in chairs. I reached out to see I they would be willing to let me share that particular practice with our readers, and they said yes! I should mention that the vast majority of the practice, up to the 25-minute mark (of 31), is done standing. (As Nina rightly points out in Rethinking Office Yoga, why would you do chair yoga poses when you have to sit all the time in a chair for travel, work, or rehearsal if you are physically able to stand up? So, get out of that chair!) 

If you are somewhere where you can do floor work, the last two poses, Child’s pose and Savasana, allow you to relax at the end of the active practice. For those at work who can’t practice on the floor, end your practice at the 25-minute mark by doing a simple Mountain pose pause for a minute with eyes open or closed before returning to your work.

If time is short, you could do just one pose of these two poses from this sequence each time you take a yoga break. 

You can find the video at vimeo.com. I hope you find it helpful!

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Follow Baxter Bell, MD on YouTubeFacebook, and Instagram. For upcoming workshops and retreats see Baxter's Workshops and for info on Baxter see baxterbell.com.  


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