Why Yoga is Important For An Office Worker
Yoga and office workers don’t usually mix, but they should. When you work in an office you will usually be spending a lot of time hunched over a keyboard and sitting in a seat. It can also be an environment that is prone to produce a whole heap of stress and very few outlets to release it. In this article we examine how these things are bad for your general health and how Yoga can help.
Let’s start with a little bit about what Yoga is. At it’s simplest level it is a very effective form of exercise. It involves flexing the body into static poses and holding them which is a fantastic method of increasing blood flow and circulation through various choke points in the body.
Yoga also puts a lot of emphasis on the correct patterns of breathing which allows you body to get the most benefit from each breath of air we take. Expanding from this we take care to un-clutter our thoughts when we are performing Yoga and the more advancement someone makes with the discipline the more focussed and calm they will become. Have you ever told someone to take a breath to calm him or her down? With Yoga it is the same principle.
So How Does this all Help our Office Worker?
An office environment is usually neither a calm nor a healthy place. Most office workers will spend the majority of their day stuck in a chair and often staring at a computer screen or hunched over paperwork or a keyboard. This causes a lot of tension to well up, particularly in the back and shoulders. The legs are also often denied a supply of fresh blood by the long hours spend sitting down.
Yoga forces the body to move in ways it would not usually do in an office environment. This can be a very effective way of clearing choke points and allowing circulation to resume it’s normal flow. The blood takes valuable supplies of oxygen and nutrients with it wherever it goes and without these supplies the organs cannot operate properly. The more starved the organs become the sicker we will become, so clearly restoring blood flow to the areas that are being deprived of it is an important health priority.
Did you know that most diseases are directly caused or antagonized by stress? It’s true, and it’s a much more serious problem than most people ever know. In an office environment this is even more so. The pressure of deadlines, the constant activity and the need to constantly be on the move are all primary factors in escalating stress levels.
Imagine for a moment – stopping. Forget about all the things that you need to get done in the next week. Forget about the rent payment and the assignment you have to finish. Forget about your boss and your family and concentrate on one thing. Breathing. Yoga is as much a mental discipline as it is a physical one and it will teach you to clear your thoughts and focus on the activity at hand. While you will certainly benefit from the health benefits of Yoga, the mental benefits can be truly life changing. People who learn Yoga usually deal with stress better and are able to calm and centre themselves when there is turmoil all around them.
If you think these benefits would make your life easier then you owe it to yourself to start learning Yoga as soon as possible.
Twenty percent of all those who undergo surgery for lower back pain will get no relief? The remaining 80 percent will have problems ranging from mild to severe. All will have trouble with spinal flexion.
Yoga does not offer cures. It simply promises that if you faithfully practice these asanas every day, you will build up a strong and supple spine, restructuring posture and body image. Once you have back problems you must remain conscious all through the day of how you stand, sit and lie down. Here are a few guidelines:
- Always sleep on a firm (not necessarily hard) bed, with a flat pillow under your head and a thicker one under your knees. This will help the spine to reposition and adjust itself
- Do not wear high heels as this promotes lumbar lordosis and throws the spine out of balance.
- Do not go in for break-dancing, strenuous aerobics, jogging, running or anything where you need to bounce or jiggle. Guarded activity is the key here.
For lower back pain, sitting is the most painful. Sit on a firm seat, not squashy cushions, and sit on your buttock bones. Do not loll back on the tailbone or lower spine. Wedge a rolled towel or small cushion behind your back to keep you upright. Sit as often as possible in The Diamond Posture in order to benefit the sciatic nerve and to cure a convex or a lateral curvature of the spine.
When the pain is acute and you can neither sit nor stand in comfort, rest in bed, take whatever anti-inflammatory or analgesic medications your physician prescribes, and wait until the pain is milder before starting on these postures.
All these asanas have healing and curative properties. They will act as a form of mild traction, gently stretching the spinal muscles in safe extension postures. Strength will be gradually built up in the paraspinal muscles and buttocks, abdominal organs will be toned and strengthened, and pressure points all along the spine will be stimulated. Practice each asana to the point where mild pain is felt.
Yoga for Computer Users: Other Postures
The Diamond Posture (Vajrasana)
Kneel on a thick carpet or blanket with your knees close together. Sit back on your heels and stretch up from your hips, balancing your head well so that a line drawn through ear, shoulder, elbow and hip would be straight. You should sit up in this posture for greatest benefits.
The Locust (Salabhasana)
Most yoga students are familiar with this posture. Lie flat, face down, chin on floor. Make your hands into fists and push them either under your thighs to help the lift, or place them alongside your body. Exhale and lift legs from your hips, tightening your buttocks and stretching yourlegs up and back. Hold position for as long as possible, exhale, return to starting posture and repeat.
The Dog Stretch (Adho mukha svanasana)
Lie face down, legs stretched back, buttocks tightened and knees pulled back. Place hands just below shoulders, exhale and lift head, then chest, shoulders and torso, pushing down from your pelvis and straightening your arms. From the back of your head to your tailbone, your body should be curved back. Push shoulders back and down. Push head back more. Stay like this as long as possible with normal breathing. Come down very slowly, and relax.
The Twist (Bhardwajasana)
Kneel on the floor and sit back, bringing both feet to the right of your hips. Straighten your right arm, bring it across your body and turn to the left. Place your hand, palm down under your left knee. Exhale, turn your body more to the left and clasp your right elbow with your left hand, from the back. Turn your head and gaze over your right shoulder. Fold position for a few breaths and then twist and look back over your left shoulder. Shoulders should be at right angles to the body. Come back to starting position and repeat on other side. You should do this posture once every hour if you have lower back pain.