Firstly, this is a personal account of my experience with yoga. I am no teacher or yogi, and I am still absolutely rubbish at it. BUT I still keep trying, because it is the only form of exercise I can manage, where I don't feel the need to push myself too hard or prove myself to anyone.
There are so many benefits to practising yoga and it is this authors personal opinion that every single workplace should adopt a yoga session every day, even if it's just 20 minutes. And it should be mandatory. It would have a positive impact on our overall health, reduce aches and pains, reduce RSI and have a positive effect on mental health too. And this can all improve productivity!
As anyone who has worked in an office environment will know, we should take regular screen breaks; the 20/20/20 rule. That requires you to look 20m away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. This equates to one full minute of eye rest for every hour worked, which is 37.5 minutes for the average working week, but how many of us actually do it? If we should be taking care of our eyes in this way, what about our bodies?
We are advised during DSE (Display screen equipment) assessments and training to stretch 'regularly', but again, how many of us really do? And how regularly?
Working at a computer is one of the leading causes of back pain. While correct posture and appropriate equipment are important, so are good working habits, and daily yoga exercises should form part of that.
Every chiropractors/physio/sports therapist/osteopath I have ever had an appointment with for back pain has had one thing in common; the exercises. Generally these are adaptations of, or sometimes exactly the same as yoga poses. So if we can use yoga stretches to treat ailments, surely practising yoga regularly could help to prevent such ailments?
It is very low impact and provided you are not over-stretching, is very safe and gentle, especially for those with chronic illnesses, such as CFS .
Having been diagnosed with CFS last year, this author knows only too well how difficult it can be to exercise, and how overdoing it can set you back days or weeks. But equally, not moving at all can ultimately makes things worse. Muscles can seize up, tighten or just get really weak from lack of use. To begin a path to recovery, I had to start small, very, very small, but consistency was key.
Just starting with some simple stretches every morning, then increasing reps/time, then building up to following along with videos. There were always poses or exercises were too difficult, that I had to skip and take a breather, and I didn't always finish the video. And there still are many stretches that I still can't do at all. But doing variations and holding the poses for much less time than I was 'supposed to' really helped.
And most importantly, NOT BEATING MYSELF UP ABOUT IT if I couldn't get it right or finish. Just accepting that I was doing my best and knowing it was doing me good was enough. I would never push myself at all and if I even thought for a moment that I was getting tired, I would stop immediately. Stopping before I got tired was how I learned to pace myself. This is how I have built up my strength. Managing CFS is a major balancing act. Staying in bed all the time and resting too much was bad for me mentally, and I also believe that for me, it was allowing my muscles to waste. I was living in fear, because I knew that just walking to the local corner shop would render me useless for the rest of the day, and fear also burns energy - energy I didn't have to waste. But I had to do something to stop things getting any worse. And yoga allowed me to do just that.
*Also, I'm certain there are other benefits that I haven't even mentioned.