When you spend all day at a desk–whether it’s for a day job or to further your writing career–and your evenings in front of a TV or computer it’s easy to neglect your physical health. When you’re on a roll and the words are flowing like water it’s easy to stay perched at your computer for entire days–or nights–without moving except to refill your drink or use the washroom.
Yet protecting our health is one of the most important things we can do as writers. A little bit of sleep deprivation might not make a huge impact, but eventually those late nights will take a toll on you. Failing to take care of yourself can also lead to Repetitive Strain Injury(RSI) or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, making it difficult or even impossible for you to work.
I learned this the hard way–by developing an unusual form of RSI that the doctors haven’t been able to help me with. Over the years I’ve developed a number of ways to deal with the pain, but all I can do is keep it to a minimum.
Yoga alone won’t keep you healthy, but it’s a great way to incorporate movement into your day. Intensive yoga classes might be your thing, but even five minutes of daily yoga can make a big difference. Regular stretching is proven to be an important part of preventing and healing RSI.
My Yoga Journey
Over the years I’ve tried several times to build a lasting yoga routine, mostly without success. For a long time the extent of my yoga was wrist stretches on the trip to and from school.
It wasn’t until I finished school and took complete control of my schedule that I built a daily yoga practice. I started by increasing the frequency of my wrist stretches to three times a day. Now I do 5-10 minutes of yoga when I wake up, wrist stretches halfway through my workday, and another 5-10 minutes at the end of my day.
After my stretches I feel more energized and I’ve reduced the frequency of my wrist pains significantly. I suspect I’ll always have some problems with my wrists, but regular stretching has made a massive difference. Often I’ll also have great ideas while I’m stretching, meaning I return to my computer excited to start working on the day’s projects.
The most important thing I’ve learned on this journey is that baby steps are best. The goal is to incorporate yoga into my daily life to increase my health and flexibility, so I need to choose a goal I can actually meet every day.
How can you start incorporating yoga into your daily routine?
A great way to incorporate yoga into your daily routine is by going through the exercises at My Daily Yoga. They have a number of exercises you can do at your desk as well as a series of poses chosen specifically to help prevent/heal RSI. Start by going through some or all of them every day. You’ll notice the difference–both in your health and your concentration–right away.
If you’d like it to take it to the next level without signing up for an intense class or series of classes, try a yoga podcast. There are dozens of podcasts available, so you can find one suitable for you no matter how (un)experienced at yoga you are.
Make the time
You deliberately make time in your schedule to write, don’t you? There are probably a dozen other things in your schedule too–a job, relatives, friends, school to name a few–and you made time for all of those, so why aren’t you making time for your health?
You can only neglect your health for so long before you face serious repercussions. Avoid them–and increase your concentration and flexibility at the same time–by creating a daily yoga practice now.
Have you ever tried yoga? Are you interested in learning more about yoga? Share your answers in the comments below