Using Yoga and Ergonomic Principles at Work

This week’s blog entry is written by Frankie Marrazzi, a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s 200 hour yoga teacher training program.  Frankie can be contacted at mama.razzi@comcast.net.  She wrote on this topic in response to a student request for information on yoga and ergonomics in the work place.  If you have a question or topic request, please e-mail Tracy@WholeLifeYoga.com.

Take your practice to work!

Each yoga session begins with a few minutes of centering yourself, getting in touch with your breath and leaving the rest of your world behind.   Refreshed and renewed you are ready to resume your day-to-day life but this time you do not want to leave anything behind!  Take your practice with you – to the park with the kids, to the kitchen as you cook and to the desk job at work.  Everywhere you go, your practice can come along.

If you have a job that requires a lot of sitting, there are ergonomic basics you can apply but you have to make the effort.  There is no magic accessory that makes it easier for you to sit for hours at a time.  And that is where your yoga practice can help.  Use your awareness of your body and breath during your work day to guide you.  If you find yourself wiggling a lot that usually means you need to take a break.  Stand up, do a few simple asanas (standing forward bend for example) .   If your shoulders and neck are feeling tight – same thing, do a few deep breaths and some shoulder circles, shake out your arms.

Listen to your body and also apply these basic ergonomic principles:

  • Chair:  invest in a good chair (yes you can find them at office supply stores for reasonable cost).  Do not purchase sight unseen unless you have tested the chair before and know that it will support you.  Look for these five minimum features:  5-legs with castors, adjustable arms (up/down and in/out if possible), adjustable seat pan (what you sit on),  adjustable height (if you are taller than average you may need a longer piston which can be special ordered for you in most cases), and lumbar support.
  • Feet:  flat on the floor or a foot rest with 90-135 degree angle.
  • Shoulders:  Relaxed not hunched.
  • Wrists:  Neutral not flexed.
  • Chin:  level so neck is not bent up or down.
  • If you are at a computer, stop typing every 20-30 minutes for 20 seconds just a quick rest pause.
  • Drink water!  Stay hydrated, this helps with every activity work or play.

For more details and ideas of how to further adjust your workspace the OSHA web site is a great resource, including a self-evaluation checklist:

http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/index.html

Use your yoga practice and ergonomic principles together to be comfortable all day – even with a desk job!

Namaste,

Frankie

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle!

 

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