I am a journalist by profession and have to work long hours and file stories on the computer and mobile phone. Like any other desk job, I was suffering from severe back pain. I took to Iyengar yoga for alleviating backache. Regular practice has not only cured the back pain, but has also given me clarity in thinking. That’s when I realized that Iyengar Yoga is a must for people that have desk jobs since they suffer from neck and back injuries.
Most of my colleagues that have desk jobs suffer from stress, depression, obesity and insomnia. Most of these conditions are because of long work hours, bad posture and sedentary life style which saps energy and makes it difficult to face daily challenges, at work or home.
Also, some people may have amazing control over their bodies since they resort to physical activities such as gym which helps loose body weight. However, boot camp type workouts does not help them build control over their mind and intellect. It is difficult to find a balanced person at the work place.
My personal experience is that with regular practice of Iyengar Yoga, people that have desk jobs can improve their postures through alignment in asanas. It makes the body healthy and one can even experience internal cleansing as the blood circulation improves to vital organs.
Iyengar yoga poses designed by Guruji BKS Iyengar, if done correctly with full awareness and dedication, also helps the practitioner, “get rid of dualities like gain and loss, victory and defeat, fame and shame, body and mind and mind and soul.” It brings about stability, mobility, and complete harmony between various body parts.
Sage Patanjali in the second yoga sutra in Samadhi Pada has said “Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha”, which means yoga restrains the fluctuations of the consciousness. As the body gets aligned and the breathing becomes rhythmic, the mind becomes quiet.
After practicing asanas, I am able to focus better on day to day activities and execute tasks with efficiency. The energy depletion which happens by futile thoughts is curbed. Guruji BKS Iyengar has repeatedly said in his classes that asanas help develop “discriminative intelligence.”
Regular practice of Iyengar yoga not only brings about emotional stability, but also intellectual clarity. It generates positive energy that accelerates decision making. As one commits to sustained practice, discipline automatically sets in. The yoga practitioner naturally starts following yamas and niyamas which bring about important changes in their lifestyle and even in the behavior towards the peers at work. The sadhaka enjoys inner peace which comes with healthy body and mental stability.
Guruji in Light on Life has given a beautiful anecdote; the moon’s reflection in the pond in the dark night can only be seen if it is free of ripples and murk. Similarly, a yoga practitioner can only come close to the spark of divinity within himself once the fluctuations of the mind are restrained. Guruji has also said “Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.”
Here are few asanas I have incorporated in my regular self practice routine for healthy body and mind, and it will also help people that work long hours on the desk.
Tadasana or Samasthiti
In this pose, one masters the art of standing firm and erect like a mountain by resting the heads of metatarsals on the floor and stretching all the toes flat on the floor, tightening and pulling up the knee caps and contracting the hips. One learns about even distribution of weight on the heels and toes. This pose is very important as it the foundation of all other asanas. It helps me understand the correct method of standing and posture. It helps reduce fatigue, brings spinal elasticity and makes the mind sharp and enhances concentration at work.
The right leg is bent at the knee; and the right heel is placed at the root of left thigh. Here the person learns to balance body weight on one leg like the root of the tree, the palms are joined and the arms are raised over the head. This pose brings balance and poise to fight all odds in life, the day at work may be good or bad, but we have to be sturdy like a tree and give our best.
In this asana, one has to spread the legs nearly three feet apart, raise the arms sideways, in line with shoulders, turn the right foot 90 degrees to the right, keep the left leg stable, stretched and tight at knee, bend the right trunk sideways and bring right palm near the right angle and rest, the left arm is stretched out. One has to repeat this on the left side. By regular practice, Trikonasana relieves backaches, neck sprains, strengthens the ankles and develops chest. This asana helps develop dynamic chest all the time and also gives relief for my neck and back problem due to long hours on desk.
In this pose, the right foot is sideways 90 degrees and the left foot is slightly to the right. By keeping the left leg stretched at the hamstring muscles, the right knee is bent at the right thigh, keeping the right shin perpendicular to the floor, forming a right angle between right thigh and calf. The hands should be stretched out. This pose brings elasticity to the leg and back muscles, tones abdominal organs and very useful for people that do not move around much and have a bad posture.
The headstand is practiced by spreading a blanket on the floor, resting the forearms on the centre of the blanket, keeping safe distance between the elbows, interlocking the fingers up to finger tips, balancing the head on the crown by taking the legs up slowly with bent knees first and shifting the weight from toes to the head. The head stand is a must since it increases blood circulation to the brain and brings clarity in thinking. It helps people suffering from loss of memory, sleep and aides vitality. One feels very energetic and alert after Shirshasana.
Supported Setu bandha Sarvangasana
In this pose, the shoulders are on the floor, the chest is supported on the bolster and there is a natural chink lock. This asana increases the venous blood flow to the heart and helps regulate important glands which are situated in the neck. Regular practice helps gain confidence and brings back lost volatility. People that have cough and cold regularly, it is minimized because of Sarvangasana practice.
Light on Life by BKS Iyengar
Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar