A little desk yoga goes a long way...

This piece is inspired from interacting with clients while doing seated acupressure in a corporate setting. It's been a learning experience, at times challenging, and always rewarding, teaching me about others and myself.

One thing that comes up more often than not, is that the desire and need to be active and healthy, has gone up due to increased awareness and knowledge around wellbeing. As stress, pressure, and seated work increases, so do postural imbalances. Toxin build-up in muscles rises, and overall circulation of blood and lymph becomes more stagnant and blocked. Although we may be fully aware of this in theory, I continue to come across clients who are surprised at how tight their body has become until their muscles are manipulated or compressed, or even still until I tell them.

In reality, this awareness can truly be achieved by taking time out, in stillness and breath, acknowledging how the body feels, and moving and stretching in a conscious way. So when they ask me how they can achieve this, I often want to suggest daily practices like yoga, tai chi, qi gong, meditation, and other mindful, breath focused movement. Experience tells me this is unrealistic for most, so I hesitate and wish I could show them a few simple movements they can do to create movement and space around the joints. This, added to their monthly session of massage, could help maintain balance of mind, body, soul.

In reality they may forget them by the time they return to their desks, or lose motivation due to lack of time, or convenience. This led to the idea of providing a tool to incorporate a practice into their day at work. Yoga at work, at their desk, from their phone. Convenient, accessible, manageable. I discovered two phone apps that provide clients with simple, effective yoga stretches they can do at their desks.

  1. The first, SALUTE THE DESK, is rated highly because of the versatility of shorter and longer sequences, additional features allowing for reminder alarms, customised sequences, and seamless audio and video illustration. The graphics are clean and modern, relatable. It's well worth the £2.29. There is also short guided meditation for times in the day when one feels extremely stressed.
  2. For those who like more movement and find stillness more difficult and a deterrent, OFFICE YOGA : AT YOUR DESK may be more appealing. It has 3-dimensional demos, and is more movement focused. There are still breathing cues, but it's less meditative. It has different levels of difficulty, you can customise your session, with options to learn about individual poses and additional health and yoga knowledge is given. Also for a mere £2.29, so you can't go wrong.

In my own experience of yoga practice, I've taken postures and breathing techniques from guided classes and implemented them into a short daily practice, taking care to learn them properly as not to cause injury, until I became more aware of what feels right for my own body. I can truly say that a small amount often can maintain a balance of strength and flexibility needed for daily life, as well as reducing stress when challenges arise.

Using an app as an alternative approach during the work day can begin the process of reducing built-up tension and tightness, and cultivate awareness of healthy postural alignment. It's a great introduction to yoga, and through positive results can motivate a further practice to begin.

Aleksandra Jawulska, Inspirit Massage Practitioner

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