As I’ve mentioned randomly before, I regularly practice yoga and have semi-frequently to frequently practiced for 4 years. I’ve seen a lot of benefits, both mental and physical, come from this regular practice. For example, throughout my senior year of college, I had horrible stress-related jaw pain from grinding my teeth at night. The pain caused awful constant pain in my neck, headaches, and referred pain in my legs. It was bad. I could only attend yoga classes infrequently during this time since I was so busy, but after I did, my pain was instantly relieved for a week or so and I felt like I was freshly approaching each situation.
Take from stories like that what you will, but it’s clear that movement paired with breathing is beneficial in some way to everyone. I think video editors especially can really benefit from it simply because they spend so much time huddled behind their editing desk in a dark room. How many of us change positions all that often throughout the day? You might be crouched in the same position for 13 hours and not even realize it. Or for the preditors among us, you might be on your feet all day, or hunched over a camera, and typing away – all positions where our muscles are allowed to tighten up.
I asked my friend and yoga instructor Amanda Markland to give me some poses that would be great for video editors and video professionals. These poses are excellent because they can even be done in your edit suite on the floor while you babysit the render bar. They’ll get your blood flowing, relax kinked muscles, and help you approach your edit with new clarity.
(You might want to make sure your edit suite is private or locked, or people know you’re doing this because a couple of these poses could be awkward if a client walked in and had no idea what you were doing.)
See the poses after the cut…
Put on some chill music, or practice in silence. Hold each pose for 5-10 long breaths.
Calms the brain, reduces anxiety, stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips. Stand with your feet together facing forward. Take a few deep breaths in and slowly release them. Breathe in deeply one more time, and while you exhale, bend forward hinging at the hips. Your legs might be a little bent, which is fine. Let your arms hang down and relax your shoulders.
2. Cat/Cow Pose (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)
Stretch and massage the back. Get on the floor on your hands and knees with a flat back (your hands should be directly beneath your shoulders.) Inhale and dip your stomach downward, lift your gaze upwards. Exhale and pull it the opposite direction, curving your back and putting your head down. Slowly repeat several more times.
3. Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
Stretches the upper back and shoulders. Stretch your arms forward, parallel to the floor. Cross your arms so your right arm is above your left, then bend your arms upward. Try to make the backs of the hands touch. This is just the arms portion of this pose – the full pose involves standing on one foot with the legs crossed in a similar fashion if you’d like to try it. Hold for several long breathes, and then switch arms.
4. Cow Face Pose (Gomukasana)
Open the upper back and chest. Stretch your right arm out to your right, and rotate it around as you bring it to your lower back. Your palm should face outward. Lift your left arm up to the ceiling, and then reach behind your back and try to grasp the fingers of the right hand. Hold this pose for several deep breaths, and switch sides. Again, this is just the arms part. f you have room to get on the floor, you can do the full pose sitting with your knees stacked (right leg on the floor bent under you, left leg throw on top the opposite direction.)
5. Crescent Lunge/Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Open the back, and stretch out the hips. In a standing position, step the right foot back and lower to the right knee. The top of your right foot should be down against the floor. Your left knee should be directly over your left foot. Raise both arms into the air, straighten your back, and relax your shoulders. You can also lean backwards a bit if it feels good. Take several deep long breaths, and then switch sides.
6. Easy Twist (Bharadvajasana I)
Helps with carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, and stimulates the digestive tract. Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you, then swing them to the left and around so you are seated on top of the right leg. Reach the right arm behind the body and try to grab the left arm above the elbow. Breathe slowly a few times as you twist slowly to the right. Repeat on the other side.
7. Thread the Needle (Supine stretch on back)
Stretch your hips and chest. Lay on your back and pull both legs toward your chest. Place the right foot on top of the left knee. Reach your hands around the right leg and pull forward. Repeat on the other side.
8. Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
Lay on your back and pull your legs toward your chest. Grab your right toe with your right hand, left toe with left hand (or whatever you can reach – foot, ankle, thigh). Extend the legs outward and roll side to side, back and forth. Take several long breaths before releasing, then take a couple more as you lie on the floor.
I strongly urge everyone to take a few breaks from their edit and find a quiet area to do a quick few poses. Let your mind and body relax a little bit and help prevent back pain and arthritis from setting in. Even better: go find a studio and try an actual class! The hands on instruction is easier to follow than text and you’ll go further in learning how to apply yoga to your life. You don’t have to be skinny or flexible or coordinated – yoga is for everyone, especially video editors who may not be able to be as active as they would like to be at times.
If you have any questions about yoga in general, feel free to comment on this entry and myself or Amanda will answer you!