I love yoga and ergonomics because both are about adapting the situation to the needs of a real person and not the person to the situation.
In ergonomics, it’s equipment and setup that must fit an individual’s needs.
In yoga, it’s the poses.
Ergonomics is about Adapting the Environment to the User
For some reason, most workers feel they must adapt themselves to their workstations rather than the other way around.
We have previously examined the most common reasons people give for incorrect screen placement on the desktop that are the cause of unnecessary strain to the neck, shoulders and arms. These include cables that are too short (!), screen height that is not adjustable, and inheriting an office that was not specifically designed or equipped for them.
Unfortunately, in many cases, rather than adapting their setup and equipment to their needs, people contort their bodies to adapt to existing equipment and setup.
Recently I consulted in an office where all the workstations were equipped with one of the best chairs on the market. Although the chair is available in three sizes, everybody had the same size chair.
But my client was 1.90 m tall. He required furniture that was either completely adjustable or specifically designed for the needs of the very tall. You might have the best chair in the world but it’s irrelevant if it can’t be or worse, just isn’t adjusted for your body type.
Similarly, a good yoga practice is one that allows for the poses to be fully adapted to the person and not the other way around. Yoga is not only for the flexible. In order to enjoy the mental, physical, and spiritual benefits your practice must be fully adapted to your needs.
You must never force your body into a pose. A teacher can always adapt the pose for your body. Every pose is adaptable and most everybody can benefit from an adapted yoga practice regardless of their age, physical condition or physical flexibility.
Yoga and Ergonomics: Respecting Limitations
If you respect your limitations and are willing to learn from your own body, yoga can be the perfect opportunity to bring greater awareness to the needs of your physical body. Once you begin to notice its limitations and needs while working, adjusting your work environment will be the obvious next step.