Yoga And Your Writer’s Body

This Friday’s recommendation is not an article to read or a show to listen to.

It’s a suggestion on caring for your body, especially if you work at a job that, like writing, involves time at a keyboard.

Even if we’re careful about posture (and how many of us always are?), if we type a lot during the day for work and then come home to type some more we’re repeating the same motions over and over.

Our hands and shoulders are forward. If we’re not careful, our head may thrust forward as well. Depending on where our screen is in relation to our eyes, our neck may be angled up or down.

If, like me, you’re a fairly fast typist, that may make it all worse. On the one hand, I love that I type quickly by touch. It’s as if I think and the words appear on screen.

Unfortunately, though, being a fast typist makes it harder to remember to interrupt my repetitive motions and instead reach for a mouse or shift position.

For instance, despite the mouse on my left, my default is to navigate using arrows keys on the right. That causes a knot in my right shoulder. The pain shoots up my neck and, on a bad day, can trigger a migraine.

To help alleviate strain, some writers use dictation software, standing desks, or do detailed outlines or early drafts by hand.

Massages, ice or heat, and physical therapy also can be effective.

One of the best ways I’ve found to counter the strain to my neck and shoulders is yoga. Many of the simplest poses are designed to open up the body, counteracting the rounding of the shoulders and releasing the muscles there.

Yoga also encourages better posture and strengthens the muscles that help achieve that.

Most days I do a 25-minute yoga routine, but I’ve found that as little as 15 minutes a day makes a big difference in how well I feel and how long I can write without pain.

There are courses and videos available all over the Internet. I use a series of DVDs by Namaste Yoga and occasionally attend in-person classes. Many books on yoga specifically address neck and back issues.

What exercise works best for you and is right for your body is, of course, something only you can decide, and you should check with your healthcare provider before undertaking a new routine.

Until Sunday, when I’ll talk about Canva, a website that helps you create graphics–

L.M. Lilly