Yoga for web developers

Sarrah Jayne teaches an hour long yoga class every Tuesday and Thursday at Dev Academy. She has been practicing yoga for seven years and teaching for five. She talks to Kate from Dev Academy about the joys and benefits of yoga.

I love that yoga takes me just as I am, bad day, bad hair, whatever aches and pains I have. It’s all there but yoga allows me to be ok with it and find space and connection to myself in my very full life. I also like the way it makes my body feel, a good yoga practice feels like I’ve had a workout and a massage and helps me sleep well that night.

Some of the big benefits are injury prevention/recovery, increased flexibility, cardiovascular health, better breathing, lowered levels of stress and anxiety, and a decrease in symptoms of depression and insomnia. Yoga is the whole package in terms of well being, and there are so many styles and such a huge range of poses that you can never get bored.

At Dev Academy I focus on problem areas such as upper back, shoulders, forearms, wrists and lower back/hips. We do sun salutations every session so that at the end of the nine weeks the students come away with something that they can do on their own, anytime, anywhere. I try to provide lots of variety in the poses we do so that students realise that there are many ways to achieve the same result and we can be flexible and creative in our thinking.

The act of taking time for themselves each week creates a really healthy habit, one that I hope the students continue with long after their time at Dev Academy ends. I also teach the students how to be aware of their bodies even when they are doing a lot of mentally challenging work. Small changes now can make a huge difference further down the track.

As a massage therapist and a yoga teacher I see many people every week who all experience similar aches, pains and tension. Rounded forward shoulders and upper back causing pain between the shoulder blades, tight traps (tops of shoulders), tight or stiff neck and locked jaw, and also pain in the forearms, wrists and hands from a lot of time on the keyboard or mouse.

Students have told me they are feeling more freedom in their bodies, the ability to move in a new way that they were not able to before. They are more aware of their posture and their habits at work. Mostly my students just say they feel ‘better’ – exactly what that means depends on the individual.

Often we are caught up in the stress and drama of life and do not stop to take the time out and just sit with what is there for us in the present moment. Yoga connects us to our inner landscape which can be tricky to navigate at times.

I think yoga helps us with our mental health because it gives us a space to process and release emotions without getting caught up in the clutter that the mind can create. I believe that the body holds onto trauma and emotion and yoga and the use of breath can release it, sometimes without even knowing what ‘it’ was or where it came from.

There is an ‘image’ associated with yoga that needs to be broken down. Everyone –  young, old, male, female, big, small can practice yoga. In its very simplest form yoga is just movement and breath.

Don’t be scared of trying a yoga class and if you don’t like it, try another one with a different teacher. We are lucky to have so much variety available. Self care needs to become part of our schedules; work and family life benefit from a bit of time spent looking after ourselves and yoga is a very efficient way of doing that.

Sarrah teaches at Exodus Gym on Tory St, Healium on Lambton Quay, the Newtown Community Centre, and is available for private lessons and corporate classes. She also runs a birth support businesswww.soothebirthsupport.co.nz and is a qualified massage therapist.