Work, as the saying goes, is worship. We all need to work not just to survive and support our families, but also to carry out our larger responsibilities towards the society. However, the nature of work today has made it an enemy to our health. Most of us spend hours locked up in offices, scanning files or keeping glued to computer screens. This puts not only our eyes but also neck, shoulder and back muscles to unwarranted stress, leading to gradual stiffness in them. This, along with hundred other stresses and tensions at work, may lead to headaches, backaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, mental fatigue and irritation. If left unattended, these myriad problems may adversely affect your efficiency at work, thus forming a vicious circle that may well make your life a hell.
While we cannot wish away our work, nor can we change its nature, we can certainly incorporate some techniques of Yoga at work that would not only prevent these health problems but also make work a pleasure. And it is never too late to start. Even if you have already developed some of these problems, techniques of Yoga in the office can well alleviate pain and relieve other symptoms by facilitating the release of tension from the mind as well as the body, while strengthening muscles and increasing their flexibility at the same time.
Doctors and psychologists alike have asserted that incorporating simple Yoga techniques in work routine not only provides much needed physical exercise but also relaxes the mind and enlivens the spirit of the tired employees. These techniques can easily be performed while sitting on the chair, at any time of the day. All it requires is just a few minutes’ time during short breaks from work. Here are some Yoga-based exercises that will help you adopt correct posture at work, and alleviate stress, relieve your eyes, and strengthen your neck and shoulder muscles:
Our posture at work plays a very important role in avoiding undue stress on various muscle groups. However, most often we develop the habit of being in the wrong posture, whether sitting or standing. Here are some tips that will help you adopt the correct posture at work without consciously trying for it:
- When you are standing, see to it that your feet are hip distance apart.
- When you bend while standing, look down at the feet. They should be parallel.
- When you are sitting, see to it that the hips and knees form right angles.
- Sit straight and tall, maintaining this right angled posture, at the edge of the chair.
To maintain correct posture, it is important to keep the upper body relaxed. The Warrior Pose is an excellent exercise to help achieve it:
- Raise the arms to the sides, pointing outward with fingers.
- Step forward with the left foot, lower the body while bending the knee.
- The right leg will now be tilted with the foot firmly planted on the floor, and knee straight.
- Breathe normally, make your upper body relaxed and stay in this pose for a few minutes.
- Now repeat the pose while switching the legs, this time, you will step forward with the right foot.
De-stress through Breathing
Do you feel stressed out at work? Do you yawn heavily at the beginning of the day, or after lunch? Do you feel sleepy while working? These are sure signs of being unable to withstand stress at work. Here is a simple breathing technique that will provide an outlet to the stress, preparing you afresh for the work.
- Slightly press your right nostril with your right thumb.
- Inhale deeply through the left nostril.
- Now, use your right index finger to close the left nostril in a similar way.
- Exhale through the right nostril.
- Practice this technique, known as pranayama in yoga, for at least one minute, or more if you have time.
It is your neck that bears the brunt when you sit working for long hours at your desk. No wonder most people today are found complaining of pain in the neck and, in more severe cases, developing spondylitis. Here is a simple technique that can help you prevent this problem, or even get rid of it:
- Keeping the body straight, put hands on the waist and lower your chin slowly till the neck feels relaxed.
- Breathe naturally for two-three breaths in this position.
- Gradually straighten the neck to bring the head in its natural, upright position.
- Now tilt the head right towards the right shoulder. Take two-three breaths.
- Next, tilt it left towards the left shoulder and again take two/three breaths.
- Finally, rotating the entire neck first clockwise, and then anti-clockwise, bring the head back to its natural position.
Shoulder pains often become a nagging problem when one sits for long hours in the same position. Here is another technique that will keep your shoulders free of any pressure or pain:
- While inhaling deeply, stretch hands on both the sides and bring them up to the level of ears.
- Now exhaling, let the hands drop to their normal position.
- Repeat a few times.
- The process should be smooth and without jerks. Breathing pattern mentioned above must be followed while raising or dropping the hands.
Your eyes mirror your soul. Any sign of stress or tension first gets reflected in them. Overstraining them by staring at your computer for long, or working in improper light, can cause irreparable damage to them. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to take proper care of them at work. Here are a few ways that would help your eyes recover from ill effects of strain at work:
- Look straight ahead.
- Keeping the head and the neck in its natural position, slowly raise eyes to look at the ceiling. Inhale while doing this.
- Now, slowly bring eyes to look downward at the floor with head and neck in the same position. Exhale while doing this.
- Repeat at least five times.
- Now blink a few times and then close your eyes to relax.
- Repeat the same technique, looking up and down, towards the right side, blink and close eyes. Repeat again for the left side, blink and close eyes.
- Finally, rotate eyes first clockwise, and then anti-clockwise. Blink and close eyes at the end of every rotation.