Tree, Cobra, Plank Positions Set You Straight
by Lindsay Packard
You’ve been working on the same brief for hours. Neck stiff, back sore, head pounding. To walk around the office would be a short respite; to lie down on the floor and assume the "Cobra" position would be, for someone like Denver lawyer Chris Little, the ultimate rejuvenation. Before you wrack your brain thinking of what the "cobra" position might be, open your mind to yoga, the newest trend in office relaxation.
Last year, over 15 million Americans included some yoga as part of their workout. According to TIME magazine, at New York Presbyterian Hospital, all heart patients undergoing cardiac procedures are offered yoga as part of their recovery. In Washington, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and at least 15 others head from the court offices to the gym of the Supreme Court each Tuesday for a yoga class. In his Denver office at Montgomery Little & McGrew, Chris Little takes time out of his busy day to contort himself in such a way that he soon relaxes and some of his pain is reduced.
Six years ago, Little was involved in a serious car accident that left him with a number of ruptured disks in his neck and one in his lower back, along with a spinal injury. Because the injury forced Little to deal with chronic pain (and also because a series of doctors/HMOs failed to recognize the source of his pain for a number of years) one of his physicians recommended a regimen of "conservative" therapy, which included physical therapy and therapeutic massage to help mend his body.
Little says, "My doctor goaded me into yoga. He said that it was a great way to strengthen my ‘core’ muscles in my abdomen and back. I thought, ‘yeah right, yoga is for skinny women that like to touch their toes to their nose." However, Little followed his doctor’s orders and soon signed up for a basic yoga class.
Little credits much of his success in yoga to his instructor.
"You have to have a teacher you like. The key to staying with yoga is making sure that you are comfortable with your instructor. I went through a few instructors until I came across a friendly "yoga drill Sergeant." She would help me get into positions and say ‘stay there.’ I stayed, and some of my pain left."
Yoga helped liberate Little. The headaches and shoulder pain Chris experienced daily have lessened their painful grip. He began to walk longer distances and resume full time work at his firm, two feats he thought he might never accomplish.
"I took yoga classes for about a year. As I began to improve, I started to go into yoga positions in my office when I would start to feel pain. Twenty minutes of yoga can make such a difference. It has really given so much back to me."
Little thinks that yoga works for the average overstressed lawyer just as well as it does for those in chronic pain.
"So many of us sit in our stupid chairs, at our stupid desks, for hours at a time. Yoga is a time where one can focus, stretch and clear all the junk from the mind. It’s a great way to relax and rejuvenate yourself."
This almost-monthly column is running at the request of members who want balance in their lives. We hope these stories inspire you. We're open to your ideas!