Are you stressed? Physically and mentally exhausted? Binging on coffee to stay awake during class? Well there is something that can help us reduce our stress, gain mental clarity, stretch and tone our body, and even improve our posture, it’s called Yoga. Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years and has only reached us in the western world in the 1920’s. It’s a system that focuses on mental and physical practices that help to blend our spiritual and physical consciousness by grounding the mind and stretching the body.
We run around all day from class to work, checking things off our mental-to-do-list, and many of us forget to check-in with ourselves and with our bodies. We forget that our bodies are our vessels that we use every day to get around in this world, and if we don’t take care of them, then they break down like anything else.
Living a fast-paced lifestyle has become the norm in today’s society. Many of us don’t even have time to sit down for a proper meal because were hustling to get to where we need to go. But is this how we want to live our lives? Running from one thing to another not being conscious of what we are doing in the moment? There has been a shift in consciousness around the world, and it’s been felt immensely in the health and wellness industry. People are finally paying attention to their physical and mental wellbeing and taking alternative routes to be healthy and check-in with their bodies. A great way to accomplish this is through yoga. Yoga is a great guide to having a life-long relationship with our body, breath, and spirit. By holding many poses and moves while concentrating on our breath. we are forced to get out of our heads and be in the moment. Flexibility and strength are also benefits that our body will notice through the practice of yoga.
Sitting down for a prolonged period of time takes its toll on our body, our posture suffers, we can develop back pain, and our bodies’ circulatory systems becomes stagnant. Remaining immobile in a seated position can be very dangerous to our circulatory system (also called the cardiovascular system. It’s a network of organs and vessels that is responsible for the flow of blood, nutrients, hormones, and oxygen to and from cells.) Over time, prolonged sitting can lead to E-thrombosis, the development of a blood clot in the heart or blood vessel. That is why it’s recommended that we take a 5-10 minute walk and stretch break for every 90 minutes spent sitting down. This helps the blood and oxygen to circulate to other areas of our body that were blocked by sitting.
Adding a class or two of yoga to our weekly movement routine can significantly improve how our body functions as well as how our minds react to stress. From downward dog to child’s pose, these moves stretch the spine, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands all while assisting the circulatory system to improve the flow of blood along the walls of the heart.
Luckily for students and faculty at SMCC, we have a yoga teacher named Robin. She teaches four classes a week. The classes are Monday and Thursday from 5:30-6:30pm, and Tuesday and Wednesday from 12:30-1:30pm. All levels are welcome, and classes are held in the HUB in room 129.
Here are a few desk stretch exercises that we can add to our daily routine that will help keep us flexible while studying behind a desk.