The Office Worker's Guide to Subtle Yoga
By Andrew Handley • December 10th, 2012 • 5002 Views
Technology is a pretty good thing. On a global scale it benchmarks the forward progress of our entire civilization and, on a more personal level, allows us to more easily achieve a higher standard of living than at nearly any other time in history. Without technology, well, we'd all be picking berries and wondering if the tiger flocks migrate this time of year.
But, being a paranoid health nut, it's hard for me to talk about widely accepted improvements without touching on the underlying risks that go with them. For example, I, along with 68 million other Americans, use a computer every day for my job. I spend about 12 hours a day here. Most people probably clock in between 6 and 8 hours of computer time each work day. And it's tough, not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well.
It's no secret that prolonged periods of time spent in front of a computer have certain adverse health effects. I'm talking about back pain, stiff necks, headaches, fatigue, sore eyes, blurry vision, a lower resistance to seasonal allergies, and most likely dozens of other ailments that you probably don't even notice any more. It's been documented countless times, and back pain is one of the leading causes of missed work among computer users.
Quickly now, raise your hand if you've experienced anything like that after using the computer for a few hours. Now raise your other hand. Take a deep breath, stretch your fingertips up towards the ceiling, and slowly exhale.
Congratulations! You just performed your first office yoga pose, what I'm going to just now start calling the Swivel Chair Asana. Do it again if you want; it feels great. Close your eyes and focus on stretching your spine straight up. Don't think about work, just clear your mind and take deep, relaxing breaths.
Let's be brutally honest – how many of you would take yoga breaks in your office if it was socially acceptable? No, no, don't raise your hands; I can't see you. Just think about it. A 15 minute yoga break is refreshing, relaxing, and a perfect way to clear your mind – a sort of recharge for your mental batteries. Unfortunately, it's not really acceptable unless you work in a very progressively minded office.
So let's talk about subtle yoga. Purists are going to say that this isn't "real" yoga, and they're right,...