The benefits of yoga extend beyond the mat. ‘Yoga practice makes everyday functioning easier and more productive,’ says Toronto-based Michael DeCorte, owner and creator of Jock Yoga. ‘If you can’t get to a yoga class, do your own yoga practice at your desk.’
DeCorte says he often hears about tightness in the piriformis region (the external hip-rotator muscles), possibly due to prolonged periods of sitting. ‘This can cause sciatic problems and discomfort in the buttocks, down the back of the leg and even in the foot,’ he says. Doing this stretch will decrease your risk of lower back and sciatic pain. And the flexibility you’ll gain in your legs and hips will make it easier to do simple tasks such as bending forward to pick something up.
Sitting at your desk, cross your right foot over your left knee, extending the left leg out a little if necessary. Keeping your right foot flexed to protect the ankle, lift the upper body tall, then hinge forward at the hips with a flat back. Hold the stretch for several deep breaths, lengthening the outer hip muscles. Repeat on the other side.