Three years ago, I made the leap from brick-and-mortar teaching to online teaching. There’s a lot to be said for online teaching: there’s literally no commute, your schedule is more or less your own, and it doesn’t require the same amount of extroverted energy that is often difficult to muster for introverts like me. In a lot of ways, however, online teaching is very similar to brick-and-mortar teaching. I work long hours, I’m often up way too late grading papers, my dreams are usually filled with teaching nightmares where I’ve forgotten my lessons or my computer has crashed, and my stress level usually goes through the roof. Yoga does help with this last one, although it can be hard to make time for your mat when you have tons of work waiting for you once you’re done. Oh well. This is the life of a teacher. Word to the wise for all you wanna-be teachers: don’t do it unless you really have a passion for it. Seriously.
One unforeseen consequences of teaching online hit on one my biggest physical challenges: extended sitting time always results in tight IT bands. Always. This is true for both brick-and-mortar and online teachers. Being a teacher is rough on your body. Brick-and-mortar teachers spend most of the school day either standing in front of the kids (usually in shoes that, while fashionable, do nothing for your feet) or kneeling by their desks, and then they spend hours sitting while they grade and lesson plan. Ouch. My IT bands are always touchy as we get to the end of the school year, which is super annoying, as this is also marathon training season. Tight IT bands + lots of running = sad yogi.
While foam rollers and massage are an awesome way to tackle IT problems, yoga also provides some relief (although yoga can be painful with tight IT bands). Here are some of my favs for tight IT bands, which I will be using profusely for the next couple of weeks until my body can unwind itself (ouch).
- Revolved poses, such as Revolved Triangle or Revolved Side Angle
- Half Pigeon, Supine Pigeon, and Double Pigeon (the latter is especially helpful for me, but again, ouch. This pose is also called Firelog Pose. Why can’t we agree on a single name with some of these poses? But I digress.)
- Marichyasana C
- Frog Pose
- Legs up the Wall Pose (this relieves a lot of the pressure we put on the IT band)
- Reclined Spinal Twists
- Low Lunge
Another thing to keep in mind is that the It band itself isn’t responsible for it’s own tightness. As a big stabilizer, the IT band is connected to lots of other problems areas, all of which you have to take care of if you want a healthy IT band. Think about your postures, strengthen your psoas, wear the right shoes…all this “extra” stuff comes into play. More than anything, avoid sitting for long periods of time. I’m talking to YOU, online teachers. Get up, shake it off, do a couple of the poses above, and then get on with your day.