Last month Maike held a workshop at the 1961 about the usefulness of yoga in an office environment. While we didn’t roll out the mats, we discussed the importance of applying the same type of mindfulness to every aspect of our lives, especially when we spend the majority of our time sitting (and slouching) in front of a computer screen.
Since the rain kept a lot of people away we thought it’d be great if Maike could share a bit about the workshop with the 1961 community.
Welcome to the digital generation!
Today many occupations involve working on a computer, free time activities and even regular communication are organized around screen devices. New behavior brings up new challenges we have to face. The main challenges of screen oriented jobs are the unnatural body posture, lack of movement and shallow breathing (to only name a few!).
Companies with a high number of screen related jobs identified these challenges over the last few years – seeing employees as one of the most valuable resources of a company, the health and motivation counts and needs to be taken care of to ensure a sustainable future for the company. Google, Yahoo!, Nike, etc. are some of the companies offering on campus yoga classes to support employees’ well-being.
What do you do to increase your health and well-being after work?
First of all – ask yourself how you feel after or even during a day at work. Do you feel tension in your shoulders, back pain? Do you feel tired or even weak? Just name a few for yourself so you can then find solutions for your individual situation.
Want to make changes and feel better after work?
Here are the main points to be aware of:
Starting with the big three for everyone everywhere: sleeping regularly, eating balanced and healthy, and drinking plenty of water! Sounds easy – but are you doing it?
Move your body
Our body is not made to sit in a 90 degree angle for many hours each day. Give yourself some short breaks throughout your day. Get up and move all parts of your body. Roll your shoulders back to open up your chest and allow more space for your breath. Gently take a few neck rolls to relax your shoulders and neck.
Shake out your hands. Walk a few steps to get the blood flowing in your entire body. Take a full body stretch by extending your arms up over your head and maybe even bend forward – either standing or from a seated position on your chair to relax your lower back and also give your whole body a new perspective – being upside down.
For further inspiration of how to release tension in your body, simply search for “office yoga” on YouTube to find movements that suit you and your office space.
You will feel better immediately! Movement brings energy back to all parts of your body, helps you stay focused, concentrated, and makes you feel more awake and fit!!
When working on a screen, we usually have our hands close together (typing), leaning forward and letting our shoulders fall in. It doesn’t leave much space around the chest area to breathe. As you sit up to stretch – take a few deep breaths. Direct them into your stomach rather than your upper chest. This will make you feel more relaxed and calm. Our breath is the rhythm of our life and linked to all parts of our body. If our breath goes shallow and short – we activate parts of our nervous system that signals to the rest of the body we are in an alert situation. This automatism dates back to the time when we had to run or fight for our lives. By bringing the breath to a minimum – we had more energy to run faster or fight harder.
Take a deep breath and signal your body that you are relaxed, calm and not in a dangerous situation. And the relaxation will follow this signal.
Adjust your work space
Do your best here – some things just can’t be changed. Have a look at your workspace and give it a good clean up and clear the space. Adjust your seat, so you can sit up straight more comfortably. Maybe even write a little reminder post-it to go on your display: ‘Posture!’ ‘Sit up straight’ – chose your own words.
Last but not least: be mindful!
Whatever you do – wherever you are – be mindful and check in with your body every now and then. Adjust your life and everyday behavior to be kind and gentle on your body. Become more aware.
Little changes have a huge impact on your life and your well-being! Make those changes today to feel more energized and awake.
This is only a very short excerpt from the workshop on consciousness in your work space. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This past January we sent John Sherman to the Coworking Unconference Asia hosted by Hubud, Bali’s first coworking space. John works closely with the 1961 founders on business development while also working out of the 1961 on his own business ventures. We recently caught up with John to get his thoughts on the conference and learn where he sees coworking heading in the future.