Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Healing Pose

As many of you know, I've been a teensy bit stressed lately. More specifically, I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off which coincidentally tends to give me crazy tension headaches. I sit at my desk all day feeling my shoulders creep up toward my ears, my neck getting tenser by the minute, and by the end of the day my head throbs. I know part of my problem is postural. Like many desk dwellers who are stupidly glued to their screens even on their downtime, I sit with my chin jutted forward so my eyes are closer to my screen... kind of like this:

Since the tension starts in my shoulders, I always thought the yogic answer to my problem had to be backbending. But I've been almost as obsessed with backbends the last 5 years or so as I am with my computer, and it never did much for me. Lately, I've been experimenting with other poses and I'm finding that Shoulderstand (yes Shoulderstand) really helps undo all the damage I've been doing to my shoulders, neck, and head by being on my computer 15 hours a day.

Image from

I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier! Everyone knows Shoulderstand is soothing to the nervous system—which means it's great at moving you out of the fight-or-flight state of mind. And, physically, it creates space in my cervical spine, which I compress most of the day while I look at my screen. Even when I don't have much time to have a full yoga practice, I can take just 30 breaths out of my day to practice Shoulderstand. Lately, it's been my ONLY home practice, and I couldn't be happier about it.

What's your most healing pose?