A few years ago, I began dabbling in yoga for the first time in my life. I did so for a few reasons…
- I was becoming incredibly sore, stiff, and miserable from working on a computer all day.
- I was just hurting at the gym. I actually took almost two whole months off (and also due to travel circumstances) from lifting weights.
- I realize I am beginning to get a bit older.
Doing yoga has been a great and pleasant surprise for me. I feel more energetic, and far more flexible. I’ve gotten back to my previous strength levels, and blown some areas out of the water. The pain from lifting is completely gone.
Overall, I’m shocked at how quickly I’ve seen the results. I’m wondering if it’s slightly placebo, or if there’s something to it.
Regardless, let’s talk about some good reasons to get into yoga—then I’ll discuss how it’s directly benefited me, and how it could probably benefit you, too.
I’ve mentioned it many times before, but being at a desk all day is terrible for your health and posture. Granted, a lot of people think that manual labor like construction is the answer to this. “Get an active job!”
I’m not sure that’s the answer either. Do you really think coal miners had bodies that held up past 40 or 50? Doubtful.
As usual, when you have two extreme ends, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. You shouldn’t sit at a desk all day—that’s why I recommend getting a stand like this.
However, it’s not so much the sitting that really hurts you. It’s the overall lethargy that comes from sitting (and being under office lights) that ultimately affects things in such a negative way.
Yoga has made me far more aware of my body. Now, I am much more mindful of when I am slouching or otherwise exhibiting poor posture while I’m working.
As an added bonus, the general stretching and feeling of yoga has also made the process of working at a desk a lot easier for me. I just feel better.
Being a digital nomad who uses a variety of poor quality ergonomic equipment has also amplified this problem for me. I usually work from home—coffee shops aren’t the way for me. However, most of my AirBNBs have had crappy chairs and tables that they pass off as “desk space”.
Maybe for answering a few emails. Not for long work days.
Thankfully, I’m now in a more permanent place and have built myself an office with my ideal desk and chair setup—but I’d really recommend yoga to digital nomads. The AirBNB setups won’t work forever if you’re really putting in the work (long hours = more $$$).
#2: The Gym Pain
Your body needs time to rest. And I’m starting to need a little bit more, both as I get stronger and while I age. Days I lift heavy I notice I’m more prone to get an extra hour of sleep the following morning.
Of course, when I was 18 and started lifting—I didn’t need any rest. I could kill it in the gym for many days in a row. And I did.
Poor posture, poor ergonomic setup, and a general method of pushing it too hard was making it difficult for me to recover well at the gym. I was stalled, too. The weights were not going up in weight but they sure as hell were feeling heavier.
Since implementing yoga, many of the arches and pains have gone away.
I used to be an endurance athlete—triathlons.
My knees have more miles on them from biking and running than an average 25 year old. Squatting was out of the question for me, no matter how many alternative methods I tried.
My surgically repaired shoulder (from a dirtbike accident) was flaring up every day. It used to pop out of socket, which was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. I used to have to slam it against a hard wall to get it back into place. Now it has five metal screws in it, but far less flexibility. But, you could see why putting a heavy load on it would be bothersome.
I’m happy to report that I’ve now begun squatting again (albeit with light weights), and the pain has subsided. My shoulder has stopped flaring up after any chest or other press exercise, and I’ve been able to push past some previously stubborn plateaus.
I know some of you older cats are going to be screaming at me that I’m young. That I shouldn’t be feeling the age coming on…yet. Truthfully, I feel pretty good apart from the shoulder and leg pain. Like I said, both of those joints have a lot more wear and tear on them than most people my age.
But I was starting to feel the effects of age. I knew something needed to change. And I wanted to be ahead of the curve when it came to taking care of my body. I only have one. It needs to last through at least another 50 years (I’m not particularly keen on living past 75, personally).
I mean, what am I going to do—stop lifting? Unthinkable.
But what is yoga?
It’s really just a lot of stretching, core work, and posture improvement. But it’s the overall experience of it that gets you in tune with the rest of your body. Some good chill-out music, a yoga mat (I have ), and a reasonably big room—you’re set. Do yourself a favor and get one with as much padding as possible, especially if you have hard floors.
Do it 3 times a week for 30 minutes, and I guarantee you’re going to feel better.
Call it stretching, call it yoga. Whatever you like.
Just starting becoming more flexible. It’s paid huge dividends for me, and I’m kicking myself for not starting sooner.
PS: I haven’t ventured to a real class yet, but I’ve just been using the Down Dog app on my iPad. But I need to go to a class. The talent in Eastern European yoga classes is…wow.