|View from 1/2 Mile Marker by Brad Gibson|
“You can get hurt sitting at your desk!”
It was so true, I had to laugh! Just think about it: physical injuries, from paper cuts to back problems and carpal tunnel syndrome, are common to desk sitters. And people who exclusively sit all day (at desks and cars and in front of their TVs) and avoid any forms of exercise, often develop life-threatening conditions, such as obesity and heart disease, as a result of being too sedentary. But all of that doesn’t mean anyone is going to tell you never to sit at a desk! In fact, as a writer, I do it every single day.
I was thinking about his statement because we recently got the following comment from one of our readers:
"Sometimes I am concerned, after reading these posts, that there is nothing left in the yoga practice that is okay to teach. My own thought about practice is, if I'm not feeling something, why bother? I know most of my students feel the same way. And I'm becoming very apprehensive about teaching anything because there is always someone for whom the posture or movement is not safe or recommended. And yet, there might be 19 out of 20 for whom it is delicious. How do I know when to hold back? And at what point, in each person's life, does one start to shift from a strong practice to something more gentle? It, obviously, is very individual, so, as a teacher, how am I to know what to recommend, collectively?"
My initial reaction to this comment—especially the phrase “there is nothing left in yoga practice that is okay to teach”—was sadness. That’s because, well, we didn’t mean to scare you! So for today, I just want to point out that yoga asana practice is indeed similar to sitting at a desk. Just as you often get some common sense tips for healthier desk sitting (such as, sitting with good posture and in a good chair, not sitting for too many hours in a row, etc.), we’ve been providing what we hoped we’re helpful tips for approaching the practice (and teaching of) yoga in a healthy way. So, my sincere apologies for scaring anyone.
We’ll be addressing more of the issues that this reader raised in the future. But for now, I’ll end by saying that when I teach yoga, I try not to worry too much about teaching every student “perfectly.” Instead, I remember back to when I was a student in my office building yoga class—I was just so grateful to be moving during my lunch break! You see, as a writer, I know from experience that one of the best ways to practice healthy desk sitting is by balancing it with a regular yoga practice!