Many coaches work virtually with their clients, and this trend is only increasing. Virtual Coaching offers overhead freedom, an expanded market of potential international clients, and the opportunity to work from anywhere to create a lifestyle that feeds your soul and your body.
But virtual coaching can also have a downside. Regardless of whether you are using a computer or a phone, if you are spending too much time sitting while you work with clients, it can lead to fatigue and chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain.
In my Somatic Coaching Practice, I work with many of my clients to identify daily habits that put their bodies out of balance and lead to chronic pain patterns that leave them drained and distracted while they are working.
As a coach, you may spend time on the computer working on your business or meeting virtually with clients, either with video conferences or on the phone. Spending too much time focused on a screen in a seated position can pull your posture out of alignment and affect your ability to be at your best with clients. Poor posture often pulls your head forward, slouches your shoulders, and rounds your lower back. You may experience the effects of poor posture as strain in your eyes, the tension in the front or back of your neck, low back pain, or even general fatigue from putting your body in a compromised position.
Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to balance your body posture while virtually coaching your clients...
- First, you want to get clear on what proper alignment looks like and start to practice it regularly. Proper alignment in a seated position will put your feet slightly in front of your knees, and the angle of your hips somewhat greater than 90 degrees. You will want to make sure that you are sitting upright with your pelvis on your sit bones and your hips aligned with your shoulders and your ears.
- Secondly, you will want to make sure you are breathing. Aside from poor alignment, the second biggest cause of stress on your body is shallow breathing. And shallow breathing is also an effect of poor postural alignment. So once your body is aligned, you will want to check in to make sure you are taking nice deep breaths. To do this, make sure that when you inhale, you feel your rib cage expanding on all sides, and allow your belly to inflate a little. When you exhale, make sure you exhale fully and deeply until you feel a strengthening of your core. Proper breathing will support good postural alignment, so notice how taking a full breath helps you to sit upright. You can also learn more about these first two tips in my blog on starting an embodiment practice here.
- Lastly, you will want to practice good posture. I suggest setting a timer that goes off every fifteen minutes to start with. When it rings, check in and make sure you are in balance in your body. And make sure that every 50 minutes, you take a 10-minute break to get up and walk around, get your eyes away from the screen, and get connected to nature. Taking regular breaks will renew your energy and help you reset physically as well.
Taking the time to develop a proper alignment practice and to breathe fully will help you relieve chronic aches and pains from sitting, and also help you stay energized, present and connected to your body as you work with your clients.