Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yoga for Stymied Writer #2: Stretching Your Computer-Weary Muscles

In this installation of the Yoga for the Stymied Writer Series, I want to focus on stretching. (Note: these are just as applicable for non-writing computer users.)

Now, in the yoga world, yogis would probably say something super-yogic like, "We're going to access the inner knowing of the muscles to release hidden sources tension which correlate to the blockages of your eternal essence," but over here in normal land, we'll just say "stretching your weary writerly muscles."

If you spend any time hunching over a computer, you'll notice that a certain tightness, discomfort, brutal pain may develop in the upper back/shoulder/neck area. Here are few stretches to relieve said discomfort and get you to pounding out your next best-seller.

From Child's Pose, described here, transition into Revolved Child's--Parivritta Balasana. To start, lift the right arm just a fraction above the floor, then "thread the needle," extending the right arm under the left armpit, palm facing up. Breathe for eight and release. Repeat on the other side. If you aren't getting enough stretch in the shoulders/upper back, then first lift the hips for Funky Child's Pose and come in from there. It will deepen your stretch.
Next up, Garudasana--Eagle Pose--is just the thing to higgity help you out. This can be done sitting or standing.

Bring your palms and elbows together at a 90-degree angle in front of you. If this is enough of a stretch, stay here. Otherwise, drop your right elbow below your left, and twine the backs of your forearms and palms together. Stay for eight breaths and release. Reverse the arms (left below right) and repeat.

Most desk jockeys feel their tension in their backs. And, indeed, these muscles do get tense from constantly hunching forward to type. However, let's not neglect the muscles in the front--the chest muscles. They shorten and compress from constant computering even if you don't feel it. It's just as important to release them. To begin, grab a yoga strap or tea towel (you may need something longer depending on your wingspan and flexibility). Grab an end with each hand in front of you as wide apart as possible. Keeping the grip where you are lift the arms up and over your head and then behind you as far up and back as feels good. Hold for eight breaths and release.

Voila! Ready to return to writing. Questions? Comments? Requests for other stretches? Lemme know. I'm your yoga DJ, yo.

1 comment:

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