It’s Wednesday afternoon, half way through the working week. The weekend feels a million years away and your emails haven’t stopped pinging since you sat down at your desk this morning. You’ve barely stopped to even notice that it’s way past lunch time and without realizing you’re on your 4th cup of coffee of the day. Your head is crouched forward, your eyes are squinting to see your screen better and your legs are crossed.
You don’t have to be strong, flexible, skinny or anything else that the modern yoga world can sometimes paint a picture of. All you need is your body, your mind, to show up for yourself and respect that every day may be different.
Sitting in an office environment can be a stuffy, stressful place. Demands are coming at you from all angles. Your mind is racing with to-dos and that client that will just not stop bugging you.
With all of this going on, it’s easy to put that slight tinge in your back, the tightness in your neck or that niggling pain in your hip at the bottom of your to-do list.
The reality is, your body carries you your entire life. When you consistantly prioritise everything else over looking after yourself, the body eventually starts screaming to be listened to and you find yourself bed ridden for days or weeks on end.
But there is a way to prevent this from happening before it takes over.
Yoga has been a tool for centuries to not only help with flexibility and strength, but to transform how you live and behave in other areas of your life, including how you sit at your desk.
Posture is one of the most important ways to prevent long term strains and injuries in your back and spine. Now, without the spine working properly it is impossible to live a life to the fullest capacity. No-one wants to be that thirty something year old unable to walk with a bad back…
Through the regular practice of simple postures in yoga, you can train your body to sit tall and straight, your shoulders to relax naturally away from the ears and your face muscles to turn into a smile instead of that frown at your laptop screen.
Try it now, place both feet firmly on the ground, take a deep breath, sit up straight, drop your shoulders down and keep your gaze straight ahead of you. Notice a difference in how you feel? These prompts are common in all yoga classes and over time the body automatically knows to sit in this posture. Even outside the yoga class on that Wednesday afternoon at your desk.
The thing is, you don’t need to go to an hour long yoga class at that expensive studio where all the influencers go to enjoy the benefits of a yoga practice. It can simply start with a few stretches when you wake up in the morning, or even in your office chair.
The first steps to take are noticing your body when you’re sat at your desk. Are you slumped over? Is your screen at eye level height? Is there anything you could add to your desk to lift your screen? With working from home on laptops now being a norm, the height of the screen usually means we’re looking down. If you don’t have a laptop stand why not use an old cardboard box? How about answering emails standing up? Or asking your colleague to have a walking meeting? These are all external and very beneficial tools to help improve your posture while you’re at your desk, and while the external world certainly can effect your posture, your inner world plays the biggest part.
Yoga has benefits physically of course, but it is important not to forget about the emotional and mental benefits a yoga practice can have. Yoga is a continuous practice, and every time you show up for yourself on the mat you are showing up for yourself. So yes moving in different postures can help you sit up straighter and stronger at your desk, but it can also transform how you see your day at work.
When you think of the last really good day you had in the office; were you slumped over your desk? Or were you engaging in conversations with colleagues? Chatting confidently to clients on the phone? Brainstorming in a meeting room? It is almost impossible to give off poor body language when your mood is high. A study conducted by the Yoga Biomedical Trust in London found that 94% of participants with anxiety were significantly helped by practicing yoga regularly each morning, and 82% of those with insomnia reported valuable benefits too.
So if you’re thinking of starting yoga, or you’re a seasoned practitioner that wants to incorporate your practice to fit alongside your work day, there are endless options out there for you.
You don’t have to be strong, flexible, skinny or anything else that the modern yoga world can sometimes paint a picture of. All you need is your body, your mind, to show up for yourself and respect that every day may be different. Yes, you are still going to have those difficult days at work where 5pm feels like it will never arrive, but what would life be without the ups and downs?
You can book a class with me here on Amphy to suit your work schedule, whatever and wherever that may be.