Office life: it’s more dangerous than you think. Cooped up indoors all day, starting at a screen for hours on end, often at a badly set-up desk, equals a back/neck/RSI [delete as appropriate] injury just waiting to happen.
But there are some simple yoga postures you can do that could help prevent them, and help you unwind after a long day too.
Lawyer-turned-yoga-teacher Jacki West, of yoga-with-jack.com, specialises in Baseworks Yoga, a form of practice that focuses on the strengthening the core, precise movements and control, making it ideal for those of us who spend a lot of time at a desk or computer. She shares her top poses for counteracting the 9-5…
1. Marichyasana (seated twist): This is a gentle twist to revitalise the spine at the end of a day seated at a computer. It rehydrates the spongy discs between the spinal vertebrae, helping to invigorate the spine, counteract the compressing effects of gravity and improve posture. Twists are also great for stimulating the digestion and giving the lower internal organs a fresh supply of blood.
2. Purvottanasana (upward plank): Great for building core strength and giving the spine a stretch. Also good for opening up the wrists, which have been closed down whilst typing over the keyboard – this helps prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and other median-nerve-related pains, which are common to desk workers. Most importantly, it is a great chest opener after a day hunched over a computer.
3. Setu Bandhasana with leg raise (bridge pose): This backbend refreshes the spine after a long day. Backbends are always very energising as they open up the front line of the body, including the chest and heart area. It is often assumed that the forward bends are good for the back, but it is actually the backbends that strengthen and develop the back muscles and keep the spine healthy. The leg raise adds an extra challenge to the core!
4. Garudasana (eagle arms): Lovely for opening up the top of the shoulders and releasing tension in the neck. This is an introspective posture that calms the mind and gives you time to reflect at the end of the day. Even better you're your eyes closed, allowing yourself to breathe into the areas of tension to release stresses of the day.
Jacki is running a yoga retreat in Portugal this June. For more information, go to yoga-with-jack.com