By Sarah Nelsen
Yoga for Writers
I would like to welcome my dear friend, Sarah Nelsen, to my blog for the the final installment of our three part series, Yoga for Writers (or really anyone who works at a desk). Sarah is an expert in restorative yoga and she has some fabulous tricks to help you be kind to your body and refresh your brain. When you take a proper break, you will get more done. So, without further ado, Yoga for Writers—Release
These modules can be done in any order, but If you missed one of them, here are the links:
Part 1: Yoga for Writers—Rest
Part 2: Yoga for Writers—Refresh
Part 3: Yoga for Writers—Release (Keep reading and bookmark it for later)
Working at a Desk is Hard on the Body
Scenario: You catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think it’s your mom, but it’s you. You wonder when your shoulders got so rounded. You’re starting to complain about the same aches and pains your mom had…stiff fingers, jaw tension, hips that feel like they need to be oiled.
Could it be that you’re spending too much time seated at the computer? Is there anything that can reverse what feels like the downward spiral of aging? Well, I don’t know if I can make that big of a promise, but I can share with you a short yoga practice that helps release the neck, shoulders, hands and feet and may have you sitting up with a bit more confidence and ease!
When you spend time in one position, like seated at a computer typing, your muscles and connective tissue get in the habit of being in that shape. Consequently, when you stand up to do something else, you can’t quite stand as straight as you want.
The front of your body curls in like a comma because it isn’t used to being lengthened. But if you take a little time throughout the day to check in with your body and release the tension before it becomes a habit, you may find that it’s easier to stand up tall.
Tense and tight muscles don’t just cause slumpy posture, they can also cause headaches, muscle pain and even negative moods. It doesn’t take much to release and relax your muscles, and once you get in the habit of it, your muscles and connective tissue become more adept at switching between seated typing and standing tall positions. Give it a try!
If you’re curious about why we do what we do in the video, read on. If you don’t care about the why and just want the practice, that’s fine too!
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Yoga for Writers—Release | Video Tutorial
Massage & Tap Face
If you google “benefits of face tapping” you will find all sorts of promises, but the reason I do it is that it relaxes the muscles of my face, including the ever-so-tight jaw muscles. In fact, one of my favorite practices is tapping my whole body! If you have the time, tap as much of your body as you can and feel the tension melt away.
This is a classic move for releasing tension in the upper back and shoulders. Additionally, it also helps increase circulation in the spinal discs, and because we coordinate it with breath, it has the potential to also be calming and focusing for the mind.
Shoulder Rolls, Neck Stretch, Torso Circles
I feel like these moves are all pretty self-explanatory. We are doing stretches and movements to help release the tension in our muscles. Do these stretches whenever you feel like you’ve been sitting too long, they will only take a minute or two and will make a big difference in how you feel at the end of the day!
I make this look easy, but it can be a doozy, especially if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. You may need to work up to the full stretch, (straight arm and pulling fingers back,) just do any variation that feels like a nice and GENTLE stretch for your hands, wrists and arms. (No sharp, shooting pain, please!)
I could write a whole post just on foot rolling, but what I say in the video is the simple truth: it’s all connected! Sometimes hip pain is actually caused by tension in your foot. So, I encourage you to start by being mindful with your foot rolling, but eventually you could just keep a ball under your desk and do a bit of mindless foot rolling throughout the day. Don’t be surprised if you notice a difference in how your hips, back and shoulders feel after rolling your feet! (BONUS: while you’ve got that tennis ball out, find some space at the wall and put the tennis ball between your body and the wall and roll around a bit. You will be AMAZED at the tension you can release in your shoulders and hips just by leaning against a tennis ball on the wall.)
Need Inspiration After You Clear Your Head?
The best-selling Prompt Me Series is here to help with photo prompts, story starters, fill-in-the-blanks, reference, and so much more. There’s even room to write in the book. Ban writer’s block and get writing.
Sarah Nelsen is a book lover and former librarian, as well as an IAYT-certified yoga therapist and a certified yoga teacher. She specializes in working with people who think they are too busy, too “out of shape,” or in too much pain to do yoga.
Sarah says, “I love creating moments of ease in people’s lives. We are all so busy and so hard on ourselves and it is vital that we make time for true rest and moments of joy. I believe the future of humankind depends on it.”
Find out more about Sarah at: sarahnelsenyoga.com
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