And definitely, positively, absolutely Treat While You Train.*  A must for all other times.

Whether it’s old episodes of Star Trek or new episodes of Game of Thrones, you know it happens to the best of us. We get hooked into the comfort and total relaxation of blissful television watching. Not because the programming is blissful but because we are worn out and need mindless entertainment.   But if you realized what being a couch potato is doing to you, you would get up and move.  You can still watch the shows, but treat your body like the royalty that it is.  You want your body to keep serving you late into your life, right?  You don’t want to be forced to exist in front of that boob tube (70’s slang for television) with one of those recliners that helps you get up because you can’t do it for yourself.  So take care now.

Here are some super easy, beneficial activities you can do while watching the tele (British slang for television since everything sounds better with an accent.)

1.  Get off the couch and lie down on the floor. Use a pillow under your head if your chin points up toward the ceiling.  Let your body be out of the sitting position that most people are in more than TEN HOURS A DAY.  While you are here, hug one leg in toward your chest, take 5 full breaths, and then switch sides.  If you’re feeling wild, hug both knees in at the same time.

apanasana on floor TYTU-52

Apanasana (or knee to chest) on the floor is a great way to lengthen the hip flexors after sitting.

2.  Stand up for 1 minute out of each fifteen minutes you are watching TV.  Ears should be aligned above your shoulders.  You may have to actually create a tiny double chin action to get this part.  Your head sits on top of your lungs, lungs on top of pelvis, and feet underneath all of that with all ten toes facing forward.  It may not be your best posture, but it’s better than the slump you were in on the couch.  Now do some good, old-fashioned shoulder rolls.

3.  Sit on your ischial tuberosities.  Yoga teachers often call the two bones at the base of your pelvis “sits” bones.  When you are not sitting on those, you are most likely sitting on your tailbone or your sacrum and your hamstrings are being forced into constant contraction. You wouldn’t contract your hamstrings for two hours straight on purpose so don’t watch TV in this position either.  Please.  When sitting, think again about what was mentioned in No. 2:  Head over lungs, lungs over pelvis, knees in line with hips and ankles under knees.

4.  Change your position.  Stand up.  Go up to your tiptoes.  From standing, go down to the floor.  From the floor, get on your hands and knees.  From hands and knees, get back up to standing.  Go back up to your tiptoes.  Do this three times… or thirty times.  On final standing, lift one foot off the ground and play with balance.  Feel free to have a light touch on a wall or the edge of your couch.

Sitting Hip Stretch TYTU-30

Keep your spine neutral and hinge from the hips to stretch into the piriformis.

5.  Sit at the edge of the chair or couch on your ischial tuberosities.  Use your posture guidelines from above. Bring your right ankle to the outside of your left thigh just above your knee.  Dorsiflex your ankle.  (Your foot should look like it could go into a flat shoe, not a heel.) This may be enough.  If you want more, lean forward without changing your spine.  Don’t reach with your chest or your stomach.  Just lean forward with your long spine. This is a great for one of the external rotators, especially the piriformis, a muscle that is closely related to the sciatic nerve. Take a few full belly breaths and switch sides.

Thanks for Treating While You TV.  And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

*Treat While You Train is a self-care DVD and Kit extravaganza with Jill Miller and Kelly Starrett – a must have for anyone with a body, athlete or not.


Watch our Quickfix videos for the hips.

Learn more solutions for lower back pain.

Discover YTU solutions for tension.

Terry Littlefield

Terry Littlefield, RYT-500, Integrated Yoga Tune Up® teacher, and long-time practitioner, is a passionate educator with a big sense of humor and an even bigger heart. Her classes are a blend of science and spirit, breath work and ball work (Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls, of course), movement and meditation. If you want to have fun and experience safe, functional movement within your yoga practice, she’s your yogi.

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Rita Chow

Great article! I also love to offer suggestions on what my students could do while they watch tv. It is the best time to work on your body! here’re a few things that I personally love doing while I am binging on tv: 1. sitting on the floor. floor is not as comfortable as our sofa, so we will tend to switch position or walk around more. 2. roll on the glutes or the calves. although I prefer rolling with my full attention, some students find it hard to roll without a little bit of distraction. Rolling while you are… Read more »

bre burk

Thanks Terry for the great ideas on ways that we can educate our clients and ourselves to MOVE! Integrating these little stretches into our daily routines increases the likely hood that we will do the exercises and never miss an episode of our favorite show. The body will thank us!


Loved your blog! I need to send it to my father-in-law who after 20+years of visiting their home, he recently asked me why I always sit on the floor and stretch. Did I mention that we sit in the car for 2+ hours on the way to their house? Now imagine his surprise when I bring my YTU therapy balls with me and start rolling. Thank you for the great information to share with my classes! Take care of YOU, Beth

Wendy Melville

A great article. I’m moving my coffee table out of the way, it only collects junk anyway. I love how you incorporate Tune Up in a sedentary activity. Now I wonder if I can get the rest of the family to join me. I’m sharing this article with my students. Thank you for sharing.


Thanks for the post Terry! I’m always trying to think of ways to incorporate movement into my daily routine, and you have provided me with some very good ones.


Great suggestions for working in some self care while we indulge! i am less aware of how i am aligned while zoning out on the boob tube. Great way to encourage students too on how to get the most out of “binge watching”!


What struck me about this is that I might actually be sitting on my tailbone while watching TV. Scary. Mostly, I appreciate your recognition that sometimes people just need to veg out on the couch for a few hours. Now, I will do so with mindfulness. Commercial breaks are a great time for standing up, stretching and/or switching positions. And getting on the floor for apanasana is a great idea – and a free massage for your inner organs.

Lisa Merino

LOVE this article! Very easy stretches, but something I don’t think to do (shame on me). I am guilty of zoning in front of the TV just before bed, and I sit WAY too long during the day at my computer. I am definitely going to start doing these (and get my husband to do them with me). I keep reading how sitting is the new smoking; I want to stay healthy and active. Thanks for the suggestions – I’m even going to mention this blog to my yoga students. 🙂

Daisy Green

Thanks for the tips Terry! 🙂 I often find myself that way during weekends. I just slouch on our comfy sofa and watch anything on TV, and I am not even aware about how much time I have stayed there. Then, I would find myself having some middle back pain and it is such a pain in the you know what! LOL! I would gladly do your tips and suggestion this coming weekend. Thanks a bunch! 🙂

Glenda Garcia

I love it how Yoga Tune Up® Teachers are always thinking about helping people live better in their bodies… no matter the activity! There is always a way to modify activities to make them kinder to our bodies. Here is a perfect example of how we can be educating our body while watching TV. It is a fine tuned craft to put an activity in a snow-globe, shake it up and come up with something novel and beneficial!


Love the reference to “Game of Thrones” and the very accessible exercises to do while watching TV. It’s a great reminder that we do NOT have to sit in the same position to enjoy our shows and that just a few stretches can save our spines. My husband now plays video games sitting on his yoga mat in front of the couch so he can start to train more space in his hips.


This is something we can easily bring into our daily lives to help us couch potatoes stay active. Another idea that I’ve tried is using the balls to roll out my feet while sitting in my favorite television watching chair.


What a smart-ass name of blog; and brilliantly written piece, We have responsibility to our bodies to move more, sit less and start conditioning our tissues.

Isabelle Barter

I love it! What great ways to still relax yet stay actively moving! I especially love the apanasana idea! It’s scary the number of hours we just sit and as you mentioned – not on our ischial tuberosities!