Desk relief: Class teaches yoga poses you can do at work

Desk relief: Class teaches yoga poses you can do at work

November 22nd, 2013 by Barry Courter in Life Entertainment

Joli Anderson stretches during a yoga class at ClearSpring Yoga led by Sallie Beckes, rear, featuring poses that people can practice at work.

Photo by Maura Friedman/Times Free Press.

Sallie Beckes leads a yoga class at ClearSpring Yoga, teaching people poses they can practice at work.

Photo by Maura Friedman/Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

* What: Office Yoga workshop.

* When: 2:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday.

* Where: ClearSpring Yoga, 105 N. Market St.

* Admission: $25.

* Phone: 266-3539.

* Note: ClearSprings will host an open house featuring free yoga classes, door prizes, refreshments and live music Saturday, Nov. 23 from noon-4 p.m.

As most office workers can tell you, sitting all day at a desk can bring stiffness and aches to your neck, back and even legs. Throw in a deadline or a screaming boss, and that tension can make the pain even worse.

Performing a few simple yoga exercises a few minutes a day can help alleviate some of that pain and tension. ClearSpring Yoga on Market Street is offering a workshop Sunday to teach some of those poses.

Instructors Sallie Beckes, who will lead the workshop along with Anthony Crutcher, says people are often intimidated by yoga because they think they must be able to stand on their head or put their feet behind their ears from the get-go.

People think you have to be pretzel-like and it is far from the truth," she says.

"We get requests from people all the time who say they sit all day long and they are stiff," Beckes says. "A lot of them are afraid to try yoga because they say they are too stiff, but that's the point, isn't it?"

Beckes says the Office Yoga workshop will teach people neck, arm and leg stretching exercises and it will incorporate breathing and movement to calm the mind.

"There are no handstands or headstands," she says.

Melanie Lyon, owner/instructor at Five Point Yoga in Cleveland, Tenn., hasn't taught an office-specific yoga class, but says there are a number of things people can do at their desk.

"My big soapbox thing about yoga is breathing big," she says. "Just sit up straight and breathe big and pay attention to where you are and how you are breathing."

She adds that, if you start to feel pain or tension in your neck or back, "you should just stop and sit really straight, take big breaths and roll your shoulders. It makes a difference and, over time, you will sit up straighter and feel better."

Leslie Narron, an instructor at Moon Haven Studio in Ringgold, Ga., also suggests deep breathing exercises and says taking a moment to take stock of your body can be helpful.

"Close your eyes and do a body scan. Am I clenching my jaw? Start at the top and work down. Ask your scalp to relax and, if you are clenching your jaw, ask your jaw to relax. Release your muscles.

"Also, just get up and move around."

Beckes is a certified to teach Kripalu yoga, a type that focuses on the interplay of mind, body and energy. She says she teaches students who range in age from 25 to 83, some of whom "can't bend a knee."

"I'm not a doctor, but I know safe yoga. There is so much stress in this world, and yoga is a great way to relieve that stress. There is nothing that happens in my class that the average person can't do."

Five minutes worth of yoga is a good start, but 15 minutes is better, she says.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.