By Michelle Eifert
Never in my wildest dreams did I think being a business professional was going to anchor me to a desk. As the ole saying goes – if only I knew then what I know now – I am sure I would not have picked the desk as my office 8-10 hours a day!
Being in a world that is so connected with technology thru the tablet, phone, laptop, or desk can create havoc on your body. This stems from the sedentary nature of repetitive movements of the mouse, keyboard or texting. One of my biggest fears has been to have the “turtle” posture: rounded back, chin jutting forward and slumped posture. Besides the obvious posture issues, it can create neck, shoulder and low back pain.
Yoga has changed my posture and my body awareness, which is important, even in just day-to-day moving around. From the time I get up in the morning I am aware of the placement of my feet. As I move throughout the day, I notice the engagement of my core. I sit at a stoplight or stand in the grocery line, and try to keep myself focused, upright and aligned.
Over the past 9 years of my 30-year career working behind a desk, I have found so many benefits from yoga; now, no matter what happens, I make time to get on the mat, release tension and lengthen my muscles from sitting all day.
While my preference is to be in class every day, frankly, sometimes, I just cannot make it happen. However, each day I try to take 5-10 minutes throughout the day to do a pose that changes my position, & gets me away from the keyboard and computer screen. It is that simple, just stay focused and make it happen.
Begin by simply creating the habit of sitting upright with your ankles underneath your knees, your wrists lower than your elbows, your shoulders over your hips and your ears over your shoulders. A big focus in yoga is alignment. The alignment of the joints starts in the first standing pose taught – Tadasana (mountain pose). Mountain pose is one of my favorite quick poses to do at work. I get up from my desk, find a quiet space, and use the wall to keep me honest and aligned. So try it – Tadasana or mountain pose against the wall:
- Stand with your feet hips distance apart
- As much of your back body touches the wall from yours heels up to the back of the head without losing the natural curves of your body
- Close your eyes to get inwardly focused and feel your body against the wall, the muscles on your bones
- Pull up on the knee caps (to engage the quadriceps), pull your belly button back towards the wall
- Lift your collar bones and bring your shoulders down the wall
- Reach the back of your head up the wall while leveling your chin with the floor
- Now hold this for 3-5 minutes breathing and a returning to scan from the floor up on how your body is feeling.
Afterwards step away from the wall and see how you feel. I usually feel different – maybe you will may not – there is no right or wrong. There are several postures in yoga that help with the desk blues.
Take it from someone who has been doing this a long time: get away from the desk, table, phone, keyboard, you name it, and try to bring some balance back to your body. Take a yoga class, stand upright in the grocery or movie line – just notice – you will be glad you did!