We are closing out weel one of intense social distancing and, those who can, moving to working at home. Parents are having to deal with online classes and homeschooling, whole companies are trying to figure out the best ways to communicate, and some are even being let go from their jobs because of the current coronavirus pandemic.
My company is lucky enough to have the ability to work from home, where we are all telecommunicating, talking to each other on the phone more than we had before, and utilizing online resources like Slack, Zoom and others.
But, if you’re like me, you may find that you’re sitting at a desk more than you were before. At my office I have a standing desk, I have coworkers all over our office suite to walk to see, the kitchen is in the back of our office and there is even a nice path along the levee that sits parallel to our building. At home, my walking consists of walking from my dining room table to my kitchen (10 feet) or walking my dog around my neighborhood. And my workload, like I’m sure many are seeing, has ramped up due to coronavirus reporting.
To try to combat the stiffness that comes with sitting all the time, as well as living with rheumatoid arthritis, I have begun to add stretching and “desk yoga” if you will to my daily routine.
For those dealing with “tech neck” from looking at all of your devices, I looked to yogajournal.com. They suggested three positions for this issue.
1. Gradual Cobra
This position is when you lay flat on your stomach, face down, and place your fingers on the ground above your head. You then lift your elbows up toward the sky – they also give the direction to lengthen your side body from hips to armpits, soften the heart, pull the arm bones into the sockets and curl shoulder blades down the back and into your heart – but as an amateur I’m not entirely sure what all of that means – and extend forward to rise up. They instruct doing this a few times and moving your hands down closer to your hips each time to move yourself into the regular Cobra Pose.
2. Downward-facing Dog
For other beginners, this is the position that looks almost like you’re making a triangle with your body and the mat you’re on. Kneel on the floor with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. Yoga Journal says to first keep your knees a
little bent and heels lifted from floor and follows with, “Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis. Against this resistance, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, and from your inner ankles draw the inner legs up into the groins.” After that, exhale and push the top of your thighs back and put your heels down on the floor. Additionally, Yoga Journal advises, “Firm the outer arms and press the bases of the index fingers actively into the floor. From these two points lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the head between the upper arms; don’t let it hang.” Stay in this pose anywhere from one to three minutes and when finished bend your knees to the floor and rest in child’s pose.
3. Front Chest Opener
This was a new one for me, but really helped. To start, you stand facing the wall. Put your left hand on the wall with your fingertips at shoulder level. Place your right hand and forearm against the wall, slightly higher than your shoulder – put about a hand above your head. Take a breath and lift your armpits (shoulders) and rib cage up to your ears. Curl your upper thoracic spine in, up and then to the left with your head and chin facing left – keep your chin open. Maintaining alignment, exhale and turn your feet to the left, which will increase a stretch to the chest. Repeat on the other side.
YogaJournal.com has many useful poses and tips for dealing with stress, sitting at a desk all day and neck pain.
A few of my favorites include: