We have all been there before. You’re sitting at your desk and the day is just beginning and your neck or back starts to hurt and ache. But, you have no choice. You have to stay at work. So what can you do?
1) Set up a yogic environment—Just like alignment matters on a yoga mat, make sure your computer screen is in direct alignment with your eyes and you don’t have to turn your head left or right to see the screen, which will cut down on stressing your neck muscles. Also, be certain the screen is no more than 18–30 inches away from you to avoid poking the chin, straining the upper back, compressing the upper neck muscles, which often leads to headaches. Lastly, play some soft ambient music or pick a calming or inspiring screen saver to help influence your mood and make you remember some of the happier aspects of your life.
2) Take the strain off your spine by remembering to take breaks. Even in TED talks, sitting has been referred to as the smoking of our generation, so it’s of the utmost importance to remember to get up after sitting for 20–30 minutes to give the muscles, discs, and ligaments of your spine a chance to reset back to neutral. All you have to do is stand up and reach for the sky alternating with each arm a few times like you’re climbing a ladder for about 10–20 seconds and then sit back down. It’s that easy!
3) Stretch away the pain—Pain and discomfort build up in our bodies due to repetitive stress. And there’s nothing more repetitive than having to sit at your desk for hours on end. So, assist your body and your muscles in finding some freedom by working some good old-fashioned Yoga stretches into your day. Try reaching your left arm overhead to touch the top of the right ear and then guide your left ear closer to your left shoulder while relaxing your right shoulder away and spinning your chin to the right. This will help to free up tension where the shoulder meets the neck on the right side. Be sure to do the same stretch on the opposite side, too, to be a well-balanced yogi and help your body stretch away the pain.
The result of these easy to apply, simple yogic tips is that you might start to feel better, experience less pain and discomfort, and enjoy your day a little more while you’re at work. If you smile at just one person more per day and snap at one person less because of it, then you’re contributing to making the world a better place and you’ve done a great job in applying Yoga Therapy into your work and your daily life.