What yoga has to do with scientific writing?
Updated: Jul 21, 2020
I needed to write this post because pretty much every person I have told about I focus and write has made me this question. And I am sure that those that didn’t ask me this, still thought about it ;) So let me tell you a short story of how I got this idea during my Yoga Teacher training. This training was an intensive program, and during one month we would start and finish the day doing some yoga, and then we spent the rest of the day learning theory and practicing small bits of information. But especially, we had time to experience the benefits of meditation and to reflect on our thoughts and emotions. And to my surprise, those feelings and emotions were pretty much the same that often pop up when writing articles. It was nice and tough at equal parts, some days I felt useless and that I could not continue, while others I felt strong, creative and wanted to change the world! And now, with many of us working from home, it’s the perfect moment to try some office yoga!
For many people, the word Yoga brings an image of a very flexible person doing a headstand or some almost-impossible pose. But the definition of yoga is “quieting the fluctuations of the mind”. So based on this, if you can stay still focusing on breathing, you can do yoga! Yoga has many proven benefits for mind and body. Breathwork and meditation are especially helpful for a healthy mind, with several studies showing its effect at lowering stress and anxiety while increasing productivity and creativity. And we shouldn’t overlook the benefits for the body, where, through moving, stretching and strengthening, Yoga is especially effective to manage back pain and improve your posture. As scientists, we spend long hours sitting behind a desk or a lab bench, and if we want to write, we need to feel good in our minds and bodies!
Now, I understand that doing a full yoga class in the middle of your working day, where you need to change clothes and take a shower afterward (as for any other exercise), can be disturbing. But let me introduce you to office yoga! You can wear your normal work clothing (ok, you’ll be more comfortable with some leggings, as in any other moment!), and you probably won’t sweat much. These classes are usually short (especially those at your desk), mainly focused on stretching and breathing exercises, finishing with a brief meditation. Ready to try?
And now finally I recorded an office yoga video that you can do behind your desk in less than 15 min. I recommend to practice an office yoga class in the afternoon, something between 14.00 and 15.30, the “focus abysm” for most people. In this class you will move, connecting your mind, breath, and body. I am convinced you will feel refreshed and with a clear mind to go back to work (or whatever you want to do!). You can watch the video here, and please try it! And as usual, I’d love to hear your comments!