I thought it’d be helpful to clearly lay out a checklist of basic “moves” you can add to your Yoga Inventory. Pull these moves out before and after you sit and play. You’ll give your body a treat, which affects your mind, and can increase enjoyment of what you’re doing.
I intentionally didn’t include a ton of details, because perfection is not the point. Do your best; it should be pretty straightforward.
Bonus Points for Breath Attention:
Try to pay attention to your breathing as you move. You’ll get greater benefit if you link your inhales with one movement, exhales with the next. I wrote down where to do this. It helps you develop focus, and creates greater flow in the movement.
Short Routine to Balance Effects of Sitting:
1. Mountain + Fold.
Stand up tall, inhale and circle your arms out and up overhead. Exhale, drop your arms down again. Repeat 2x. Third time, step feet wider apart, lift arms overhead, then exhale to a wide-leg forward fold. Bend knees a little. Hang loose and easy to release back and hamstrings.
2. Backwards Shoulder Rolls
Inhale, lift shoulders up. Exhale, roll them back and down, moving shoulder blades together on back. So, circle shoulders backwards 5x.
3. Hip Circles
Place hands on hips, keep shoulder blade gently squeezing together on back. Back stays straight. Circle hips 3-5x to one direction (inhale forward and around; exhale back and around). Change directions, 3-5x. Allow knees to bend a little as you move. Linger where you need more of a stretch.
4. Chair/Stair Lunge for Hip Extension
Go to a staircase, low ledge, or chair. Put right foot up on the chair seat (a few stairs up, or on the ledge) and step left back so you create a lunge. Stay on ball of left foot. The point is to stretch your left front-of-hip area. Hold 3-5 breaths then switch feet/sides.
5. Hand/Wrist Massage and Shakes
Press and massage the thumb pads and palms (one hand takes care of the other, then switch). Shake your hands out loosely. Make several circles with your wrists individually in both directions. Then, interweave fingers and make several figure 8 motions with your wrists. When you massage, focus on your thumbs, because they’re used the most while gaming or texting. Relax hands as best as possible by deliberately releasing whatever tension you can.
6. Eye Ease and Quick Scan
Rub hands together vigorously to create heat, then place base of palms to cover eyes. Let fingers touch towards your hair. Thumbs rest near temples. Close eyes and take maybe 5-10 breaths to relax and rest your eyes. Super quick scan of the rest of your body and mind here in your dark, quiet zone.
This whole thing should take about 5-6 minutes. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t necessarily have to do it all. Something is better than nothing. This list is not comprehensive, but it’s a start. It’s just one flow you can do to specifically and quickly target the effects of excess sitting. Each thing on the list will keep you a little more flexible and aware, so you can enjoy playing without negative consequences.
There are also super good things that happen when you sit and play games for a long time. I’ll get to those in another post. Most are intellectual and emotional benefits, so by doing these physical yoga exercises regularly, you’ll keep your physical self in working order. That way, you can better receive the benefits of mind and emotion from gaming.
Danielle enjoys yoga, writing, games, cartoons, and music. She relates a lot to Avatar Korra and is training hard as a yogi to learn element bending. She's also interested in exploring the element of PLAY found in both yoga and video games. Danielle is the one you see in the videos and the creator of Y4G.