It’s all too easy to get locked into computer work, most of us don’t take the breaks we should and we finish the day with sore eyes and stiff shoulders.
So I have developed these quick and easy exercises. They are perfect if you are spending a lot of time at the computer, reading, sewing – or maybe just spending a little too much time on your phone! The exercises take less than 10 minutes but you can always split them up over the day.
You can do these exercises sitting on your knees but they can also be done at your desk like we do here in the office. Take a little moment to mentally take a break from work, turn your monitor off first and get your colleagues involved if you can – it’s the best way to stop them distracting you!
Start with a quick warm-up and loosen by simply rolling your shoulders forwards a few times and then back in the other direction. Then keeping your spine nice and long turn your head to face one side and then the other. Don’t over-stretch but just be aware of where you feel any tightness. One side of the body may feel stiffer than the other, it’s very normal especially when we’re doing a lot of work with the mouse.
1. Gomukhasana / Cow Face Arms Clock Watching
Bring your arms out to the side and internally rotate your right arm – so that your palm faces behind you and your thumb is pointing to the floor. Bring that arm around your back and place the back of the palm onto your spine as high-up as is comfortable. Then bring your left arm up and bend it so that your left hand comes to meet your right hand – clasp your hands if you can, or you can take hold of your clothes or a strap. This can really help to release tension in the shoulders and the front of the chest.
Focus on a spot ahead of you and then imagine you are looking at a big clock. Without moving your head, look up to 12 o’clock and then down to 6 o’clock – repeat this about 10 times.
2. Palming the eyes
Bring your palms together and rub them until they feel warm. Place them lightly over your closed eyes. Even if this is the only exercise you do you will really feel the benefits of letting the eyes completely relax. You’re going to do this a few times in between the other exercises. Try to do it a few times a day while you’re working at a computer or doing a lot of close-up work.
Repeat exercise 2 (Gomukhasana / Cow Face Arms Clock Watching) on the other side, so this time your left arm is internally rotated and your right arm comes over your head to meet it. With your arms in this position we are going to look at the clock again. This time look right over to 3 o’clock and then all the way to your left to 9 o’clock. Repeat ten times and then hold your warm palms over your eyes again as before in exercise 2.
3. Garudasana/ Eagle Arms Clock Watching
To get a lovely stretch across the top of your upper back bring your arms into eagle pose. Start with your arms out to each side and cross your right arm over your left, bend your elbows. If you can wrap your forearms and bring your palms together. Keep the shoulders low and the elbows lifted. Then we are going to repeat the eye exercise, this time look up and right to 2 o’clock and then down and left to 8 o’clock about 10 times – or think about the diagonally opposite corners of a square if you get confused like me 😉
Rub your palms and hold them over the eyes again. Then repeat on the other side so that left arm comes over right and your eyes are moving from 10 o’clock to 4 o’clock (left upper corner to right bottom corner)
4. Change your focus
When we are working at a computer or any concentrated work like reading, drawing, sewing etc we tend to have our focus fixed in one position for a long time. We maybe squint or frown as we are trying to read the small text or work on fine details. This exercise can help to moisten the eyes and relaxes the muscles in the eyes and face. Remember to blink a lot too. Some say doing this regularly can improve your eye-sight – at the very least it will help your tired eyes!
Hold your finger up in front of you, focus on it for a few seconds and then look away and focus on a point further away from you for a few seconds again. repeat this a few times. Follow with holding your warm palms over your eyes again.
5. Neck stretcher
Finally, here is a really nice stretch for your neck and upper shoulders. Sitting tall clasp your hands, behind hand your back palms together, elbows bent. Bring your hands to the left side of waist then tilt your head to the left hold for a few seconds and repeat a few times on each side.
So there you go, five easy quick exercises to combat computer tension and keep your eyes, neck and shoulders healthy!
As the daughter of a yoga teacher, Esther started practicing yoga early in life. Esther followed two main training paths: one in Hatha yoga with the Saswitha Foundation in Zeist, Netherlands; the other in the Vinyasa yoga style with David Curtis (who trained under Maty Ezraty and Chuck Miller) in Ireland.
She founded EkhartYoga.com to present her classes to an even larger community via online yoga. She says: “Teaching gives me the chance to express my love for life and to share my love for yoga and all the benefits yoga has to offer with others.”
See more about Esther at www.ekhartyoga.com