I see a lot written about tech neck at the moment — the discomfort and muscular imbalances caused by too much looking down. Surely this is just a new name for something that has long been a problem in human history, at least as long as we had electric light to enable extended hours of reading, writing, and other tasks performed with the head bent forward?
Be that as it may, all I know is the degree of discomfort and fatigue I feel in my neck and shoulders and I would hate to measure the amount of time I spend each day at a computer, laptop or bent over my books. And I’m sure it’s not helped by one of the many strange consequences of intensive YTT — that I’m now often more comfortable sitting on the floor for studying rather than in an ergonomically approved way at a desk!
I use my practice generally as a way to counteract this physically and to help my moment to moment awareness of posture during the day.
Today brought a particular counter-pose opportunity to all this looking down — looking up into the sky! I joined a lunchtime walk about town with some RSPB people who were telling us about the local swift population. What a wonderful way to get out of the office and away from the screens (and to learn some depressing statistics about the decline of the swift in recent years). Plus I now have awareness of an object I didn’t even know existed in the world: the ‘swift brick’ — a hollow brick you can deploy in house-building to provide a nesting place for these birds within the wall!
All this stretching the neck back to look at the sky today is making me aware of my tendency to look down in many different asanas. Learning Capasana under the eye of my teacher the other day elicited a cue that I heard in general terms as much as to help the balance specifically in this pose — look out, not down. Argh, I realise how big a deal this is for me. The body doesn’t lie — I lower my gaze, eyes cast down. Can I counter this tendency and learn to embody a more positive outlook? I need to move on from ‘hang-dog-asana’!