Being a writer means sitting for long periods of time. You tend to focus to intently on creating content that you don’t sit up properly. It’s likely you spend hours at a time sitting down and typing. This can wreak havoc on your body. When you’re in pain, it’s harder to feel creative and inspired to write. If you have deadlines to meet, this can bring on stress.
So what’s the answer?
Incorporating yoga into your daily routine. There are poses you can do that will ease the strain on your body from sitting for long periods of time. It also reduces stress, especially through the breathing aspects of the practice. You may even find that you have greater clarity to write more efficiently. Here are some of the ways that yoga can help you with all that sitting and stress.
How Yoga Helps Release Tension from Sitting
When you sit over your keyboard for many hours, you will probably experience tightness all over your body. Primarily, you hips, legs, neck, shoulder, and back will take the brunt of the pain. The postures we sit in are not ideal as we hunch and put our neck forward. It’s an interesting fact that when you have your neck in that forward position, it sends a message to your flight/flight response letting you know you’re under stress.
There are a lot of negative physical symptoms you’ll experience when the body doesn’t move for long periods of time. So how does yoga help? It targets areas of that tension that is caused by sitting at your desk.
How Yoga Reduces Stress
Being a writer can be stressful at times, especially when you have deadlines looming. Stress that leads to anxiety can wreak havoc on your memory, clarity, and creativity. It’s pretty important that you ensure you remain as relaxed as possible so you can do your job optimally. Within yoga lives a mind-body practice that can help you manage the stress that writing may be causing. You begin to learn to calm the mind and quiet the racing thoughts that prevent you from being productive.
Yoga teaches you to tap into the place between your thoughts where you can quiet your mind and be more aware. This helps you to see that stress is a choice and you don’t have to react to it. Also, the poses release tension which eases the mind as well.
Here are some poses you might want to try. They are designed to both relax you and stretch out the parts of the body that suffer when you sit at a desk all day.
Downward Facing Dog
If you don’t have a lot of time, Downward Facing Dog is the ultimate pose to do in the middle and end of your work day. Honestly, every time you take a break, you should consider going into this pose to counteract the damage of sitting. It stretches and strengthens many areas in the body.
Your hamstrings, back, shoulders and neck get a good stretch. With this pose, you’ll reduce tension in the shoulders. The neck will become relaxed and you send more blood flow your brain. It also helps to stretch out your wrists which can become quite sore from typing all day.
A Forward Bend is another quick pose you can do quickly while on a break. The hamstrings will get a nice stretch as well as the lower back. It will give you a really nice feeling of release the minute you do it. The pose is good for stress and anxiety. If you choose to hold your elbows, it also gives you a nice shoulder stretch. This pose is also highly effective to bring the blood back to your brain as you go upside down.
The hips suffer greatly when you sit all day. Sciatica problems have become more prevalent in our society because of posture issues. Butterfly Pose opens up your hips and eases discomfort in the sciatic system. The sciatic nerve starts in the lower back and goes down both legs. If you experience pain in these places, the nerve may be getting compressed because of the amount you sit. This pose will help counteract the compression issues and ease the pain.
Cobra Pose is a sweet, gentle backbend that lengthens the spine. The spine requires a lot of movement to stay healthy so poses like this are really essential. You also open your chest which helps counteract the hunching over your desk all day.
Breathing for Relaxation
There are a variety of different yogic breathing techniques that will greatly benefit you. Probably one of the greatest benefits is that you can relax the nervous system. This helps prevent the onset of cortisol taking over your body and causing health issues. Cortisol is released when we go through moments of anxiety.
When you sit at a desk all day, the cortisol has nowhere to go and it begins to wreak havoc on the body’s systems. Although it’s a natural chemical in the body that we need in times of fight/flight, if there is too much released, it damages areas of the body. Through yoga and especially the breathing, we focus on calming the nervous system which decreases the levels of cortisol swimming around in the body.
Make the time to do just a few poses a day. You’ll notice a change in how you feel both mentally and physically. It can help keep you calm and it only takes a few minutes. You may want to start a morning yoga routine or even do some relaxing poses before bed. Just commit to a little bit of self-nurturing daily and get on the mat.
About the guest author:
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of SiddhiYoga.com, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali). You can take a look at her website here.