Many of us have spent hours hunched over our computers and have suffered the effects of an aching back, tight neck, hunched shoulders and sore wrists. Poor sitting posture leads to back pain and chronic back problems. It also shortens the muscles in the fronts of the thighs and hips, which also contributes to back discomfort. In addition to back and muscle problems, poor posture while using a computer can lead to nerve damage in the wrists and joint degeneration.
The idea behind the Dharma Desk is to get people out of their chairs and onto the floor.
By sitting on the floor, we strengthen the lumbar region of the body reducing back pain and discomfort. The hips open, promoting flexibility in the pelvis, groin and legs. Core postural muscles are strengthened and the ankles also get gently stretched. Floor sitting also helps promote mental calmness, soothes frazzled nerves and is said to aid one’s creative imagination.
In order to have the best experience possible at your Dharma Desk, please watch the following video where Yoga Therapist and Registered Kinesologist Jaylene Paivarinta shows how to set yourself up at your Dharma Desk so that you are properly and ergonomically positioned.
The key points are:
- Sit on a prop (zafu, zabuton, blanket, etc) to lift the hips and let the knees drop down easily. If you find that your knees are still close to the top of the desk, try sitting on a higher prop. You will need to adjust the desk height – but you will be more comfortable.
- Ensure that your arms bend at the elbows at a 90 degree angle with the wrists either straight or slightly angled downward.
- Don’t slouch! Sit tall, let the shoulders relax naturally and avoid craning your neck forward (let it rest in a neutral position).
- Alternate your leg position frequently to keep the legs and hips balanced. (See link on Yoga Sitting Postures for a discussion on various sitting positions to consider).
- Take breaks – at least every 45 minutes. Get up and stretch.
In the next video, Jaylene demonstrates a few easy stretches you can do during those breaks to help improve circulation, overall posture and ease in the body.