When thinking of your typical developer or engineer, it’s hard to imagine them slipping into a downward facing dog, or saying ‘namaste’ whilst touching their third eye and bowing into prayer pose.
Let’s face it, during the typical 9-5 you’re most likely to be found sitting at a desk, creating brilliant code and sat still for most of the day. And whilst that’s ok some of the time, it’s worth making time for yourself and getting stuck into something a little different. Whether it’s experimenting with meditation, trying a standing desk or even participating in a high-intensity Bootcamp, here’s why yoga (& more) will make you a better engineer.
Reduce your stress levels
The ultimate pick-me-up, yoga is an amazing stress buster for when you’re heart rate is slightly beyond the normal levels or when you’re having a bit of a ‘meh’ day. Plus, Research has shown that yoga is more effective than general relaxation treatments alone in improving mental health. Remember that the fundamentals of yoga lie in the breath, meditation and poses, and regularly practising these 3 principles can lead to a better regulated heart-rate variability (HRV). Did you know that regular yoga practice helped to reduce stress in Tsunami survivors?
Being taught to breathe deeply (such as in yoga) will keep those stress levels down and make you a better engineer. Pranayama (an ancient yogi breathing technique) helps to focus on taking slow, full breaths that come from the bottom of your stomach up to the top of your lungs. Ensuring you feel much calmer, these breaths help you to slow yourself down, giving yourself a moment to reflect. As an added bonus; this technique will expand your lung capacity.
It’s a given that regular yoga will improve your fitness and tone your muscles, but the real secret is that it’ll also sort out the posture woes caused by all that desk action in no time. Poses like the plank, mountain, warrior and tree can be practised for just a few minutes every day and will make all the difference to any aches or pains from incorrect posture (aka hunching over your computer because you just can’t *quite* solve that last bug).
Whilst you might be thinking that yoga isn’t the kind of activity that you want to be doing to keep fit (it’s only for flexible gym bunnies, right?), it’s actually deemed by the NHS as a safe and effective way to ‘increase physical activity, especially strength, flexibility and balance’. Eventually, it’ll get you going beyond your normal range of movement and you’ll find yourself more flexible and standing taller than ever before. Totally worth shaking up that #devlife for.
Make better decisions
There’s nothing worse than a brain filled with too many thoughts. You know, the whole ‘I need to solve this really big problem but I have a ton of little factors that are taking up my time instead’. We’ve been there, trust us, but honestly - it’s where yoga comes into its own. Giving you that mental clarity you’ve been craving, practising yoga often will make it easier for you to organise your thoughts. Clearing your mind and bringing you to a place of peace and calm, this kind of mental stability will help you to collect and retain more information and will make you a better engineer as a result.
It’s easy: yoga keeps your brain healthy and at hackajob, we believe it’s one of the best mental health tools to have in your arsenal. Studies suggest that it can help with bipolar disorder and it’s proven to regulate our inflammatory response which in turn reduces the risk of depression and will make you a happier, smarter engineer overall.
If you’re still not sure whether committing to a regular downward dog is quite your vibe, here are some other things you can try to help clear your mind, improve your posture and get fitter:
A self-described ‘guide to happiness’, headspace is a mindfulness app that teaches users to live mindfully via meditation. Sessions are designed to be bite-size and range from 1 minute long upwards - the app literally panders to your schedule. Teaching you to concentrate on the ‘now’ and ignore distractions, Headspace can help to keep you laser focused.
If you *just can’t* bring yourself to leave your desk during working hours - and we really think you should. Seriously, go outside and get some fresh air - then why not opt for a posture stand? Designed to bring your laptop closer to you so that you don’t have to strain your back or neck, posture stands can also double as a cheaper alternative to a standing desk. The best part? It also works when working in bed or sat on the sofa; perfect for those WFH days.
If you’re looking for serious ‘get fit, quick’ results, look no further than Psycle’s Bootcamp offering. Based in their studios around London, Pyscle offer sessions that work on multiple muscle groups and all are designed to give a ‘total body blast’. Working with different equipment than a usual gym class, you’ll be expected to chuck slam balls, thrust kettlebells and go hard on the battle ropes. Be warned, this kind of session isn’t for the faint-hearted, but if you are determined to get fitter then we highly recommend getting onboard.