Yoga in Daily Life, Part 7 - Yoga at the Computer
Sitting at the computer. For how many of us is this a thing of pain, or at least discomfort? For some of us it is the cause of a lot of back and neck pain, tendonitis in the wrists, or maybe even Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
What does yoga teach us about sitting at the computer? Think about sitting on the floor. How can that be comfortable? With a vertical spine, abdominal muscles slightly contracted, legs in a comfortable place, neck a relaxed vertical extension of the spine. We can do that while sitting at a computer.
Consider the chair. Can we sit in the chair so that the spine is vertical? Yes. Probably near the center of the seat, or toward the front, rather than at the back and leaning back against the backrest.
I like to use an exercise ball. Take an exercise ball and sit on it while in front of the computer. In order to balance on the ball you have to sit with a vertical spine while in the middle of the ball with both feet flat on the floor. Otherwise the ball goes out from under you. You also have to slightly engage the abdominal muscles. This teaches us how to sit comfortably at the computer.
Make sure the ball, and any other chair you sit on while using a computer, is high enough so that your forearms are horizontal. In this way, the wrists don’t have to bend while you type. Things inside the hands and wrists work better when they are not bent. Also sit close enough to the computer so that your upper arms are vertical and relaxed, and you don’t have to reach forward to get your fingers to the keyboard.
As long as your spine is nice and vertical, keep the neck a relaxed vertical extension of the spine. Adjust the monitor so that you can look straight at it without tensing the neck muscles or having to bend your neck to see the screen.
Try it out. The ball is a great tool. Not just for the gym!
Next blog: Yoga exercises to do while sitting at the computer!