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Updated: March 24, 2013 13:18 IST

Take a yoga break!

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Sitting on an uncomfortable chair and staring at a computer screen for long hours could bring on a host of health problems. Hema Vijay finds a solution through office yoga

Is the constant chatter in the office giving you a headache? Does your neck, shoulder, back or heel twinge with pain after a few hours in the office? Do your fingers ache from continued tapping on the keyboard? Are varicose veins beginning to creep up on your legs because of dangling them down for hours? Are your eyes feeling weary from gazing at the monitor? Or maybe, you would just like to recharge your mind to tackle the rest of the day at office? Well, the answer to all of this might be in ‘office yoga’.

Apparently, solitude, silence and the space to spread a mat are not the prerequisites for benefiting from yoga. You can do beneficial yoga right in the office, in the middle of a busy day, even as you sit on your executive chair and a pile of incomplete files looms menacingly at you. That is because, contrary to popular perception, asanas are not always postures that require you to twist yourself into knots. Some yogic exercises merely ask you to move your thumb tip along the length of your fingers, while others just work on your breath. And then, scores of people also benefit from simplified formats or even elements of yoga. “Simplified ‘office yoga’ is not all that you need to do. But it does go a long way in relieving chronic aches and pains, besides enabling the mind to function at its best all through the day. It also helps prevent health problems from setting in because of remaining in the same posture for long hours,” says yoga therapist K. Geetha, director of Y Way Yoga Margam, that gives individual sessions of therapeutic healing to address muscle, joint, metabolic and respiratory disorders for individuals and group sessions for holistic wellness.

Breaking rigidity

Earlier, only software professionals sat in front of computers all day long. Now, whatever might be the job, from researcher to receptionist, we spend long hours in front of the monitor. “Our body needs all kinds of movement and is not designed to handle immobility for long. Therefore, over a period of time, this may cause asymmetry of the spine, various aches and health issues. Doing yoga in short bouts disrupts immobility, prevents asymmetry from setting in and averts a build-up of health problems,” explains Geetha. “We also need to find out if stress is causing bodyache and work on the root cause, rather than treating the symptoms alone,” says yoga teacher C. Annamalai, who conducts yoga workshops for corporate groups and others.

You don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor to do yoga. There are yoga-derived movements that can be practised from an office chair too such as neck rolls, spinal twists, stretches, seated forward bends and the like. Of course, such yoga has to be synchronised with breath. Dr. A. B. Govindaraj, chief consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Fortis Malar remarks, “I recommend stretching exercises for patients with back, neck, shoulder and heel pain. These exercises closely resemble asanas and help relieve stress on joint and disc spaces. Yoga plays a beneficial role in addressing joint disorders. These are so simple that they can be done anywhere provided you have the time.”

K Geetha can be reached at 98848-10738 while C Annamalai can be reached at 94440-65424.

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