We are so driven to DO, finish, and git ‘er done, that we can’t even think clearly anymore. Think about it this way: if you’re sitting in front of a screen hour after hour, with only your fingers moving, your blood isn’t optimally flowing to your brain and, after a while, your thinking is impaired, because it’s starved for oxygen (I’m simplifying here, there’s much more going on). When your brain is starving, you hit the wall. You make stupid mistakes. You miss the obvious. You sit harder, trying to think harder…and it gets even worse. Here’s the kicker: if you’re feeling this way, your employees are feeling this way too. Making the same stupid mistakes. GET UP AND MOVE!
Why Should I?
I’m not saying anything new here, nothing you didn’t already know. A recently study by the CDC stated that only 23% of Americans aged 18-65 are engaging in a minimum of 150 minutes/week of vigorous, muscle-strengthening activities. That means 77% of Americans aren’t. It also means most of us are spending around 8 hours per day (likely more) not moving. Think about it. Review your day--how many times did you get up from your desk? How long do you sit during your daily commutes? How much time did you spend walking today? Or yesterday? Does your time sitting out-weight time spent moving your body?
Since becoming a certified yoga instructor in 2016, I have become painfully aware of how much sitting we do from the moment we wake up in the morning, until the moment we lay our heads on the pillow at night. I know, because I have felt it in my own body, I’ve seen it in my colleagues’ bodies, and I see it in my clients’ bodies. In the yoga realm, we even have a term for it: “slumpasana”. We are all guilty of embodying slumpasana at the computer, with smartphones, in the car, walking…but we have the power to change all of that!
You can read the data on your own about all the nasty effects that sitting for great lengths of time has on your body…I am not here to talk about that. Instead, I want you to notice the time, all the instances, when you find yourself sitting. Think about all the times when you are vigorously walking and moving your body. Which do you spend more time doing? Write it down, measure it! Now think about your people. Think about your lost days, lost productivity, increased health care costs…you know where I’m going with this. The cost of innovation! When we don’t move our bodies and get the blood and oxygen flowing, we hit the wall…and…there’s no space for innovation.
Lack of innovation is a killer for most companies. What innovation has your company created lately? (a new enhancement on an already existing offering doesn’t count). I posit that if we wove movement into our daily work (as we have so perfectly done with sitting), our ability to think would improve significantly, which in turn, will lead to innovation. Ok, so go get a walking or standing desk for starters; go take lunch time walks. Those options are definitely an improvement over sitting and I’m totally for them. But movement, oxygen intake and thinking are so much more dynamic than that. Our bodies move in three planes--sagittal, frontal and transverse--but typically, most of our movement is in the “forward/backward” sagittal plane. Yoga gets us moving in all planes, gets all those weird muscles you never knew you had moving …but most importantly, it moves the fascia, the white, webby layer in our bodies that connects our skin, muscles and bone to one another and delivers the keys to innovation: life-giving oxygen, hydration and blood.
I Don't Have Time!
YES! It IS possible to enjoy yoga AND enjoy it at your desk without looking like a total loon. I’m a certified yoga instructor—I hear the excuses all the time! You don’t have to sweat in 100-degree rooms to “do yoga”. Nor do you have to contort yourself into a pretzel. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy outfits either.
You do you value your people’s lives and health, don’t you? Then help them to get moving. Whether you choose to engage in yoga at your desk (with videos) or bring a collective group together (instructor-led), know that daily movement can save your life and save your organization’s life.