Yoga tool-kit for computer users
Yoga can teach you to be compatible with yourself – and your computer work
Good ideas, perspective and understanding come when we are inspired and have plenty of energy – not when we are stressed and tense.
Every other computer operator complains of tensions and pain!
During the last decade there has been a lot of research done on “mouse injuries” and other problems that arise with continual use of a computer monitor and keyboard. Lena Karlqvist from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm concludes after ten years of research that nobody can manage the monotonous strain in the long run without problems. Danish experts believe that the solution lies in rotating the employees or students between computer work and other activities, so that they only sit for a maximum of 4-5 hours in front of a monitor per day. Unfortunately, it is admitted that in many instances this is unrealistic due to increasing specialisation and shortage of time.
Don’t let the body come to a standstill in front of the monitor. The exercises included in this article, can be of great help to avoid the build up of tensions in the neck, shoulders and back.
A tool to remain in contact with energy and inspiration
With simple yoga exercises, one can release tensions as they arise and consciously put oneself in an inspired and creative mood. Computer users often have tension and pain in the “mouse hand”, arm, elbow, shoulder, neck or back. Other common ailments are headaches, eye complaints and lethargy, which also arise due to tensions, and which prevent the afflicted to be him/herself and work efficiently.
Here follows an introduction to a few yoga exercises that are good for relieving tensions that can occur in front of a monitor. For these exercises, you do not necessarily need a special place to practise the yoga. It is enough to turn off the monitor, while you print or make a back-up, and do one or a few of the exercises suggested here. After five to fifteen minutes, you are ready – with increased clarity and concentration – to continue your work.
Besides this, you can take part in a weekly yoga course, a weekend course or perhaps a residential course. This will enhance the effect of the yoga you do yourself. Gradually, you will learn to let go of tensions as they arise. Then they will not accumulate and develop into pain and an occupational hazard.
The exercises in the following short program should be done without effort or haste. The text is quoted from the book Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life by Swami Janakananda. In the book, which is richly illustrated with instructive pictures, there is a chapter on eye exercises, that are of considerable benefit for those who sit in front of a computer monitor. The book is inspiring reading. The English translation came in an extended and revised edition in 2016.
Tension releasing exercises for the arms and shoulders
1. Extend your arms forward, shoulder level, palms up. Bend your arms, placing your fingertips on your shoulders. Keep your upper arms horizontal. Repeat this 5-10 times
2. Do the same movement, but with your arms stretched out to the sides.
3. Shoulder Rolling – Rest your fingertips on your shoulders throughout this exercise. Begin with your upper arms at shoulder level, elbows pointing sideways. Then rotate your arms in a circular motion, moving them backwards and down, and then let the elbows meet in front of your stomach. Keep them together as you rise up in front of your chest and face, and then turn them out to the sides, back and down again. 5-10 times. Repeat this exercise in the opposite direction. Shoulder rolling limbers up your shoulders and the upper part of your neck.
Let your head slowly fall all the way to one side, your nose pointing forward. Hang your head like that for a while, then bring it slowly over to the other side and keep it there briefly. Repeat this 5-10 times.
Turn your head all the way to one side, pause a moment, then turn your head slowly to the other side and pause there. Repeat this 5-10 times.
Let your head slowly sink down to your chest, let it rest there briefly, totally relaxed then slowly raise it until the head hangs back, resting there. 5-10 times.
Let your head rotate all the way around 5-7 times in each direction. Do it in a very relaxed way and take your time. Feel the position of the head at every point of the circle.
Pause after the head rolling: sitting relaxed and completely still with your head upright and your eyes closed.It is important to do the first three exercises each time as a warm up to the head rolling.
If you have a tendency for dizziness or an extremely high blood pressure, you should do the head rolling very carefully.
This exercise relaxes the neck and shoulder area and has a general relaxing effect on the entire nervous system. Good against headaches and lethargy.
This is a breathing exercise, relaxation and meditation exercise. Start by lying on your back with your hands by your sides (or directly following the head rolling, remain sitting in a chair with the hands resting on the legs or in the lap.) The eyes are closed.
Experience your whole body,
the whole body at once,
feel how motionless it is –
concentrate a long time on the motionlessness.
Then begin to experience that
this motionless body is alive, it is breathing;
let it breathe
avoid slowing down
or speeding up your breathing,
avoid controlling it,
go on, go on
as long as possible –
ten minutes – fifteen minutes – half an hour.
After a while
make sure you are breathing with the stomach.
Otherwise use your will a little,
but avoid disturbing
the free rhythm of your breath,
that you breathe with the stomach;
let the stomach expand
as you inhale,
and let the rest follow;
let your stomach sink down and relax
when you exhale;
do not bother about your mind;
breathe freely and spontaneously
with your attention on
go on –
now notice how your stomach
rises and falls
with the natural movements of breath,
go on –
Use this exercise as often and as long as
any time –
but preferably at regular
It is best if you can do the relaxation with subdued lighting.