Yoga Tip of the Day: How To Sit Properly at Your Desk

If you’re like me and have a 9 to 5 job that requires you to sit at a desk all day, here are a few tips that will help you prevent injury to your back, neck and shoulders:

1. Sit all the way back in your chair (so that your back is touching the back of the chair).
2. Check to make sure that your legs are at a 90 degree angle and feet are flat on the floor. This may require you to adjust the height of your chair.
3. When typing on a computer, notice if you are shrugging your shoulders. Push the shoulders down, as you tuck your pelvis and push the lower back into the back of the chair.
4. At the same time, lift the chest (opening your heart!) and chin.

This will become more habitual once you get the hang of it. It should not feel uncomfortable at all so make any necessary adjustments to your desk and office space to accommodate these tips for sitting properly.

It may seem silly but it will save you from feeling sore at the end of the work day. And for what?! Two years ago, I landed in physical therapy for a bulging disc in my back. The PT told me it was simply because I sat at my desk incorrectly. Not only will sitting properly help you prevent injury, it will also help you reduce your stress. A tense neck and shoulders is an indication of stress and it gives the wrong message to coworkers.

Here’s an experiment: see if the way you sit at your desk (with chest open and shoulders rolled back) provokes a different reaction from your colleagues. They may just pick up on your confidence.

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2 Replies to “Yoga Tip of the Day: How To Sit Properly at Your Desk”

  1. Know wonder my shoulders and back often feel tense and stressed and my muscles knotted at the end of a work day – I have been leaning forward in my seat and stooping my shoulders. I hope to be more conscious of my bad sitting habits in the future and incorporate your advice starting NOW! Thanks!

  2. One of the reasons that computer users alter their body posture to uncomfortable states is due to straining to see images and text on their monitor. There are a few reasons for this. Either the font being used is too small so instinctively people move their heads closer to the monitor, rather than move the monitor closer to them.
    Also adults over 40 years old are more likely to wear glasses with progressive lens. This means that in order to view content on a monitor at close viewing distance (typically around 20 inches, the lens in the bottom of the glasses are used. Problems occur when progressive lens users view monitors with fixed height. The body compensates by tilting the head up, to see through the smaller lens and end up craning their necks over their spine, making the neck muscle work extra hard and causing neck pain. I’d recommend getting a monitor with height adjustment and tilt to allow for more comfortable viewing as well as raising the size of the computer’s font so its easier to read without strain. Raising notebooks off a desk surface also helps.

    Other good ideas are varying a routine. Instead of sitting a majority of the day, try a mixture of sitting and standing, taking a short break to walk over to someone else’s desk, or simply take frequent breaks. Being ergonomic these days does not mean you have use thick gel mouse pads, its more about being preventive and being comfortable.

    I hope this helps.

    Pete

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