Office evolution

My office situation is a bit strange due to my bizarre work arrangement and I usually avoid interacting with people as much as I can, however, one of the perks I do really enjoy is the yoga classes they offer. A local yoga company in Vancouver got smart and started offering lunch-time yoga classes at office buildings in the city. They are very reasonably priced and you can’t beat the convenience of just going down one floor to fit a weekly hour of yoga into an otherwise drab office existence.

Approximate representation of my office yoga class

I’ve done yoga on and off for several years and am coming out of a rather long ‘off’ stretch. I decided to start again in search of relief for my nearly constant headaches, which most recently I’m blaming on tension in my neck and shoulders.

I’ve had these chronic headaches since I was 10 years old, with a few years break here and there. They vary in intensity from slightly annoying to I-want-to-drill-my-brain-out-and-throw-it-against-a-wall and usually arrive in several week or sometimes several month-long stretches.

For many years I blamed my sinuses but after the evidence was finally collected, it appears they were wrongly accused. Well at least I helped some poor starving pharmaceutical companies sell their sinus medications for a few years. With that suspect eliminated, the best the doctors can tell me is that it’s probably migraines, perhaps being tweaked by my chronically tense shoulders and neck.

The last few months I’ve been getting massage therapy and going to yoga and so far so good; my headaches have been few and far between. I’m very aware that this might be a coincidence and the headaches might come back full force any time – but I’m enjoying the treatment so I’m sticking with it.

Headaches or not, an hour of stretching in the middle of the workday is the most brilliant idea. I try to sit properly – at the beginning of the day I push my shoulders back and align my neck all proper-like with the screen – but it only takes one annoying email or one problematic error in my code to  turn me into a pretzel. I might be hunched over with my leg curled underneath me or my personal favourite, my legs stretched out in front of me as far as they’ll go, taking my whole body with them until I’m practically under my desk entirely.

It’s not pretty.

On Mondays when I go to yoga, I can feel all my muscles waking up and breathing a giant sigh of relief when I stretch them out. I always feel half a foot taller when I walk out and am more motivated and clear-headed for the rest of the day.

I seriously think it needs to be standard practice to build in physical activity into the office environment.

Recently a friend who works in health promotion was telling me how detrimental sitting for long periods is to our health, regardless of how much physical activity we do otherwise. I guess we really are asking a lot of our bodies to adjust to the pace of a sloth within the span of a couple of generations. Apparently in their office they often have ‘walking meetings’: for small groups (say two or three people), you walk as you talk. Makes perfect sense. I think there are many solutions like this in easy reach – if only we could just lift our asses off our comfy chairs long enough to grab them.

Though according to Wikipedia, apparently sloths only need to ‘go to the ground to urinate and defecate about once a week,’ which I gotta admit sounds kinda convenient. I wish evolution worked faster.

Approximate representation of me at work

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Posted on April 4, 2011, in Health and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. oooh I would love this. Currently, I go to yoga Friday morning before work (I get to work a bit late, but my job is flexible). I always feel better about everything after yoga.

  2. Ooh! This is something I’d written a post about (haven’t put it up)… about people sitting all day, about how good exercise is on your mood and productivity, and wondering how we can incorporate that into an office during the day. It’s awesome that you have access to yoga!!
    Also, this: “my legs stretched out in front of me as far as they’ll go, taking my whole body with them until I’m practically under my desk entirely.” made me laugh, because I do the same thing. It’s when your body is sort of in a straight line, right?? So it can’t be THAT bad for you! Better than slouching…?! At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
    Are there many people that go to the yoga sessions? Do you pay for them, rather than the company? I think this is a great idea! I want to bring yoga in to my classroom with little kids, but being a teacher, that’s probably about as close as I’ll get to having ‘yoga in the office’. ;)

    • Yeah the classes are quite popular, enough that they offer one for every day of the week. I only take the one class so far, but might add another later. We do have to pay for them but they only work out to about $6 per class, which is pretty great for yoga!

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