Any bookworm worth their salt would know that reading books, buying books, and obsessing about books require physical effort. It is not all about flexing those mental muscles to plot twists and climaxes. Reading makes great demands on the body. There’s nothing sedentary about it. Enter yoga, a cure-for-all, book worming included.
Say you have the latest Keigo Higashino mystery thriller in hand and the way our man goes you simply cannot stop at one chapter. It requires hours of sitting or staying curled up in bed. If we are talking Proust, years. You’ve got to hold the book or Kindle for a long time. That requires staying power and flexible fingers and strong wrists.
And then there’s the possibility of eye fatigue. What’s an absolute no-no for a dedicated reader: you’re at a crucial plot turn and your legs fall sleep and the next thing you know the pins and needles are alive and kicking. Or, heaven forbid, a crick in the neck. Serious readers need to stay immersed in the drama of the moment on the page without getting sidetracked by the distracting drama of sleepy feet, aching wrists, and tearing eyes. The latter can be forgiven if it is Sophie’s Choice that you have in hand. Tissues, anyone?
Yoga poses can create a body worthy of the demands of reading placed on it. Stretching the limbs and making them nimble ensures that the strain of reading poses is alleviated. With curl-up-in-bed readers, there’s the risk of a double chin. Neck rotations and face yoga are chin savers. If you are a sitter from first line to the last, aim for a strong core and spine. Practicing the Easy Pose can calm your mind, all the more power to focus on what you are reading. It also helps in developing a stronger spine. A spine after all is what holds the pages of a book together, and you. You can take it up a notch with the Lotus Pose to snag a longer attention span – a must in a technology-heavy world – and greater flexibility of anatomy and attitude.
Bookworms don’t just read. They’ve got to shop for what they read. Yoga poses to ensure that you book shop and not drop include wrist rotations and palming especially if you like to trawl online book stores. The challenges multiply if you prefer regular stores. Finding books is not as simple as walking in and taking a book off the shelf. You’ve got stretch up to reach the higher shelves – the Mountain Pose and the Standing Forward Bend can both make you stretchy and flexible. You’ve got to crouch to reach the lower shelves. Here, nothing beats the ability to balance that you get out of regularly practicing Garland and Chair poses.
Once you have your treasure trove in place, unless you have an army of help at your command, you have to carry them treasures. Arm strength is a must in such demanding situations especially if you are carrying out no less than five books or just one of Wallace (Infinite Jest, 1000 pages, plunk!). Plank variations, Dolphin, and Cobra are your go-to for strong arms and more books.
Even yoga can’t do much when it comes to obsessing with reading books, talking books, dreaming books, writing books. Except for perhaps an ambiguous shoulder shrug.
Article by Anuradha Prasad
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