Your tech use might be a pain in the neck.

Frequent users of digital technology -- which is to say, most people -- are prone to hunched backs or strained necks while sitting in front of a computer for hours on end or staring down at a tablet or phone (the so-called "text neck").

Poor posture is not without its negative side effects. According to a study released this past fall by Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, texting can add up to 60 pounds of pressure on the spine, depending on the angle of the neck, increasing stress that can cause early wear and tear.

Not using tech isn't necessarily the answer, but there are ways you can help alleviate overuse. NYC-based YogaWorks instructor Chrissy Carter shares these five poses to help reverse the effects of poor tech-induced posture.

Shoulder and chest opener

Place your right hand inside a door frame

Place your right hand inside a door frame at shoulder height. Lift your chest up toward the ceiling and relax your shoulders. Slowly begin to turn your body away from your right hand any amount. Less is more; breathe and focus on relaxing your right shoulder away from your ear rather than on how far you can turn. Hold for five to 10 breaths.

Benefits: “This stretch is the antidote to rounding over a desk — it stretches the chest as well as the front of the shoulders. You may also feel the stretch all the way down the forearm and into the hand, making it an excellent stretch to alleviate tension caused by daily mouse and smart phone activity.”

(Credit: Bryan R. Smith)

Chair twist

Sit upright on a chair, feet flat on
Sit upright on a chair, feet flat on the floor. Be sure to sit away from the back of the chair. Inhale, lift your arms up alongside your ears. Exhale, rotate your spine to the right, placing your left hand on your thigh and right hand on the chair back. Inhale, rise tall through the crown of your head. Exhale, use your breath to gently twist to the right. Hold for five breaths. Get taller as you turn to face forward. Repeat to the left.

Benefits: “Twists are energizing to the body and help to promote mobility in the spine.”

(Credit: Bryan R. Smith)


Lay on your abdomen with your forehead resting

Lay on your abdomen with your forehead resting on the floor. Place your hands flat on the floor next to your rib cage, elbows bent toward the ceiling. Reach back through your legs. Inhale and lift your chest, shoulders and head away from the floor. Lengthen your chest forward and spread it wide. Lift your hands an inch away from the floor. Hold for five breaths. Slowly lower your body back to the floor.

Benefits: “This simple backbend strengthens the muscles of the upper back to help improve collapsed posture.”

(Credit: Bryan R. Smith)



Warrior 1

Stand with your feet wide apart. Place your

Stand with your feet wide apart. Place your hands on your hips. Turn your left foot in 45 degrees. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees. Rotate your body to the right so that you’re facing the wall on your right. Heel-toe your right foot a few inches to the right, giving you more space and stability. Inhale, lift your arms up alongside your ears, shoulder-width apart. Exhale, bend your front knee, stacking the knee above the ankle and tracking the knee with the second and third toes. Hold for five breaths. To come out of the pose, straighten your front knee and place your hands on your hips. Turn to your left and parallel your feet. Repeat to the second side.

Benefits: “This heating standing pose stretches the hip flexors which become tight from sitting in a chair all day. It builds strength in the legs and it energizes the body.”

(Credit: Bryan R. Smith)

Standing forward bend

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Interlace your

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Interlace your fingers behind your back and lift your chest up toward the ceiling. Relax your shoulders, neck and jaw. Bend your knees and hinge at the hips, folding your torso over your legs. Reach your knuckles and shoulders up toward the ceiling as you lengthen your spine toward the floor any amount. Hold for five breaths. Press down into your feet, then pull yourself all the way up to stand with a long spine.

Benefits: “This relaxing forward bend stretches the chest and shoulders.”

(Credit: Bryan R. Smith)