I usually lead a pretty active lifestyle - Yoga every day, sometimes two, sometimes even three times a day. I don't have a long commute to work - I spend no more than 30 minutes a day in the car, no more than 3 days a week. I do spend about an hour every day total in front of the computer, but I try to sit up straight when I do. I do all my chores around the house, garden, walk, dance, and generally have low levels of stress, and whatever stress I do have, I manage quite well with relaxation techniques from Yoga. I have it pretty good, I admit, so it was interesting to see what happened when I took a two-week interpreting assignment (I am a professional interpreter), and I had to sit in a room with no windows for eight hours every day.

It was the first such long assignment for me in a very long time. I don't remember the last time I worked for two weeks straight. Usually my interpreting gigs are short - two days here, three days there. Teaching Yoga is never going to make me rich, so sometimes I dress up in my business suit and set out to make some money to fill whatever gaps we happen to have in our budget.

Week 1. I resolved that I will still find time to move throughout the day, so I get up during breaks, go out of the room, and do some stretching, pace around, step outside to take in some fresh air and sunlight. At home after dinner I go downstairs and use my miracle balls, practice some mild Yoga. I diligently do this, and yet - by the third day I start to hurt all over. My back hurts, my neck hurts, and I develop a stubborn headache that comes around 3pm and lingers until the end of the day. By the end of the week I feel as if I was run over by a bus! I am in so much pain and feel so low on energy, that I barely can carry on through my regular Yoga class on Saturday. I feel like a recording, rather than my usual self, engaged with my students. I feel better on Sunday, but then on Monday I have to go back to that windowless room and talk, talk, talk...

Week 2. The headache continues to haunt me every day. I usually never have a headache! The strange thing is that my body seems to have adapted to the conditions, and the pain between my shoulder blades goes away, and I no longer experience the urgent need to move. So, I just sit there more. Anyway, it has proven difficult to do anything more than just a few minutes of stretching now and then - I feel restricted in my pencil skirt and my high heel pumps. I tried wearing pants, but discovered that sitting all day in pants is less comfortable than in a skirt or a dress. The pants would cut off circulation to my lower body to the point that certain areas would just go numb. So, a skirt it is. I can move a lot less in a skirt, and besides - every time I am out there in the hallway stretching, someone always walks by and makes a comment. The hotel staff seems fascinated with me and I just can't get any privacy. I do it anyway and ignore them, but still...

On Wednesday I start to feel that a virus has gotten a hold of me. It begins with a sore throat in the morning. On Thursday I feel congested and foggy in the brain. On Friday I completely unravel with snot and coughing. Thankfully, Friday is a short day and I go home at 2pm. I feel downright nauseous on the subway, as if I am about to throw up any minute. When I get home I realize that no way am I able to teach Yoga the next day, or the day after that, for that matter, so I call some healthy colleagues and take the weekend off to recover.

I am getting over my virus now. The light at the end of the tunnel for me is the knowledge that next week I will be back to my usual routine. The scary thing is that:

a) it took only two weeks for my body to adjust to the lack of movement and stop asking for it. It was so painful to be deprived of the movement the first week, I literally ached for it, but then the second week I was perfectly comfortable sitting all day. Wow. It is true what they say (some research recently) - that if we sit all day, even one hour of exercise that day is not enough to mitigate the harmful effects of sitting!

b) how my immunity was compromised! I usually am able to tolerate a virus without succumbing to it the way I have. Everyone would be sick around me, and I would feel slightly tired, but the way I came unglued this time was really shocking! I think I have a cold sore coming on, too...

Now, the question is - would I do it again? I don't know. Maybe if money is tight. But I know one thing - I would never want to repeat this experiment again!

Namaste, everyone, keep moving!