Undoubtedly, reading improves quality of life and helps building a knowledge base society. However, it might only advance your brain but damages your body if you habitually have a bad reading posture. If you are a frequent reader, you might spend three hours or more enjoy reading without even notice that you hold the book so tight with the shoulders shrugged, head jutted forward or torso in slump. Have you ever noticed that there are many times you sit on the lower back instead of the sitting bones underneath the buttocks where you are supposed to sit on? Then after your marathon reading you might feel tensed all over your shoulders, neck and back. All these symptoms are the results of being in the bad sedentary position for a long period of time without knowing it.
The modified yoga for reader postures below are designed to mobilize your neck, shoulders and upper back, bring circulation to all these tight areas and relieve the tension in this region. You can do them while you are sitting on the chair or your comfy sofa; just make sure that you start with your back straight sitting.
Flexion and Extension
Sit comfortably on the chair with the back straight but do not lean against the back rest, you will need some space behind you to move. Stretch your arms out to the side. Bend your elbows, palms facing forward and fingertips pointing up, so your arms are in the cactus position. Take a big inhale and lift the top of your chest up. Arch your upper back and press your elbows back to gently squeeze the shoulder blades toward each other. Lift your head up, chin up but keep your shoulders down away from your ears.
On the exhalation, you do the opposite. Close your arms, cross your arms in front of your chest and grab the opposite shoulders like you want to hug yourself. Round your back, move your shoulder blades away from each other, dome the upper back until you can feel the skin of your back. Tuck your chin down toward your chest to lengthen the back of your neck.
Repeat this movement for 4 more times. Hold the last position for 5 breathes before you release it.
Start with your back straight, keep your head straight in the center and arms down by your side. Take a deep breath and lift the sternum up, lengthening both sides of torso.
Exhale and sweep your right arm up over your head, arm next to the right ear. Simultaneously, lean your body to the left side; let your head tilt to the left side also. Stretch your arm up and over your right ear, neither in front nor behind. Feel the nice stretching sensation all the way up your right side torso and also the right side of your neck. Keep looking forward, chin away from your chest and left shoulder dropping down away from the left ear.
Next inhale, you come back to the starting position with right arm down by your side. Repeat this 4 more times and hold the last side bend for 5 breathes. Then release it and do the other side.
From starting position, inhale and reach your right arm up over your head side way. Keep your head straight, chin parallel to the floor and look forward. Lift through the sternum and feel your right side torso lengthened.
On the exhalation, drop your right arm down and cross your right forearm behind your back. At the same time, turn your head to the left, look over your left shoulder and chin over the shoulder. Drop your right shoulder down away from your right ear and draw it slightly backward while you keep your head turning to the left. Make sure you do not lift the left shoulder up.
Repeat this movement for 4 more times. Hold the last twisting position for 5 breathes before you release it and switch to the other side.
I hope this easy yoga for reader can help relieve the tension caused by the bad reading posture. However, the best solution is to correct the way you read. Make sure you sit on the sitting bones, not the lower back or sacrum. Keep the back straight, slightly lean back and relax shoulders; it would be great if you have a table to put the book on or chair with the arm rest. Give yourself some break from time to time so that you can check and correct your posture. Keep your neck, shoulders and back healthy; remember you cannot enjoy reading without them.
Model: Aom @ Yoga Elements Studio