If your neck is sore, your back is tight, and you’re cranky from sitting all day, it might be time to put a little “om” in your manicure chair.
Expert Opinion: Nail techs typically sit for hours per day, often in a slumped position. Neck, shoulder, and carpal tunnel issues, and even vision issues are not unusual complaints. To offset some of these challenges, yoga just might be the answer. “Yoga can benefit (both mentally and physically) those who sit down all day for a living, and specifically nail techs who do very close, detailed work,” says Kathy Bridges, an Orange County, Calif.-based yoga instructor.
Sitting over a manicure table for hours not only contributes to muscle tightness and neck, back, and shoulder pain, it can also contribute to unhealthy posture. “The body was designed to be in almost continual movement,” says Bridges. “Sitting down for six, eight, or more hours a day isn’t natural. It causes the spine to go out of alignment. To prevent that from happening, it’s vital to get up and perform some yoga poses that target tension areas as often as possible during the day.”
Yoga can also help to calm the mind when your schedule is particularly hectic. When clients are booked back-to-back, it can sometimes feel like you don’t even have time for a private thought. “Taking just a few moments between clients to do some poses or focused breathing allows us to quiet the ‘monkey mind’ and center ourselves so we can be more present for those around us,” says Bridges. “Taking time to check in with ourselves helps us create distance and perspective from our stress and to realize that it’s our choice whether we react to our stressors with anxiety or with mindful equanimity.”
Techs should begin their day, if possible, with a few yoga poses to align the body and get the circulation flowing. “If you have time for only one yoga pose in the morning, it should be downward facing dog,” says Bridges. “Downward facing dog feels wonderful and it stretches the legs and feet, and strengthens the back. During the day between clients, seated twist, which can be done right in your chair, will go a long way to realign your back and get you ready for your next client.”
For pictured examples of some helpful yoga poses, go to www.nailsmag.com/YogaNails.
You never really realize just how much work and strain we put our bodies through until you stretch or do yoga. Not only does yoga help keep me aligned and increase my productivity, it also creates self-awareness. While you practice yoga think: What hurts? Why does it hurt? What is the pain telling me? How do I correct it? Now make the change. Because of changes in my personal and professional habits, I’ve seen a dramatic decrease in my rheumatoid arthritis pain. While my case is ongoing, I’m positive that adding 10-15 minutes of chair yoga in a work day would keep the doctor away from most nail techs.
Jade Kano, Jade’s Studio, El Paso, Texas
Yoga unifies your mind, body, and spirit, and when those three are connected and awakened, everything you do is of a higher quality. My clients often say they feel uplifted, good, happy, and that I bring out the best in them after I’ve worked on them. I attribute it to my yoga and meditation practice. In between clients, I do stretches and yoga poses. It’s a way to get present again with my body, which is really my tool for doing nails. Nail techs are artists, and artists need to be relaxed and mindful.
Jill Thomas, Jill Thomas Nails, Los Angeles
Suggested Reading: At Office Yoga: Your At Work Yoga Guide for Stiff Bodies That Sit All Day
New Mexico-based yoga teacher Julie Schoen guides you through three different yoga sequences in this instructional book and explains how practicing yoga throughout your work day will increase metabolism, improve posture, prevent and manage carpal tunnel syndrome, decrease stress, and boost energy and productivity.
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