As with many popular movements, yoga is surrounded by misconceptions and stereotypes, all of which disguise the true purpose of the practice. People often accept generalizations about yoga before they have tried it themselves, misguided by the belief that it is for the flexible, the slim, the young, or the spiritually enlightened. However, it is actually a widely adopted discipline esteemed by many, specifically for the relief of back and neckpain.
Due to the multitude of health problems caused by sitting, research has now deemed it to be the ‘new smoking’. However, a large portion of the employed population spends the majority of their day crouched behind a desk. Our bodies were not designed to be in this position for extended periods of time and, as a result, back and neck pain is becoming a more common problem. Yoga is a hugely beneficial way to naturally alleviate this pain, depending on the severity.
Yoga focuses on lengthening, strengthening and loosening the spine
Socrates once said: “If you would seek health, look first to the spine.”
When seated, the head is balanced directly over the spine, and all the work is shifted from the back and neck to the spine, making this a heavy-duty task. Yoga, when done properly and consciously, decompresses the spine, alleviating the pressure it has felt from sitting in a chair all day. Moves such as axial extensions in asana yoga lengthen and straighten the spine along its axis, for example.
When we are behind a desk tapping away at a keyboard, our shoulders tend to scrunch up, our necks tighten, and tension knots into our muscles. Yoga is a fantastic way to loosen these areas while relaxing the body and mind so that you physically and mentally distress. Poor sitting posture causes the spine to round at the top, especially if your desk is not set up to encourage the correct posture. If you find you are struggling with pain in these areas, yoga helps to release toxins and loosen tight joints and muscles.
Yoga works on the psychological and emotional as well as the physiological
Whilst there are dozens of physiological benefits of practising yoga regularly, we appreciate that yoga works on the mind, too. By focusing on controlled breathing and letting go of the stresses of the day, yoga will inevitably leave a person feeling more relaxed. We firmly believe that a healthier mindset will produce a healthier body that is not riddled with aches and pains. We found these six poses to be the most effective for those with a desk job and constantly experiencing back and neck pain.
Whilst the mental, physical, and spiritual discipline of yoga is rooted in ancient India, the modern-day yoga community extends well beyond any borders, and the techniques and teachings are very diverse. Our yoga instructor course is perfect if you envision yourself making a difference in the lives of others. If you are looking to become the ultimate yogi master, have a look at our course on our website.
Words by Gabi & Jess