Guest post: Yoga for translators

Welcome back to our guest post series, dear readers!

Our guest today is also from my hometown, Rio Claro (SP, Brazil). She was born in Descalvado, SP, but moved to Rio Claro when she was 5. However, she can actually be considered a nomad, because is frequently moving from one place to another in the world. She has lived for a while in Australia and her last adventure was in India, early this year.

Although being from the same hometown, we actually met on a bus back home from the last Abrates conference (2015), where someone switched seats with her and she ended up sitting next to me. Talk about destiny (or coincidence, whatever you call it)!

Welcome, Sofia Pulici!

Foto ilustrativa

How translators can benefit from yoga

Greetings to all the readers, to my teachers & masters, and to Carol, for inviting me to write this guest post!

Yoga has been a part of my life for nearly six years now. I was first drawn to yoga as a young adult. I liked the fact that it enables you to strengthen and calm the body and mind, and connect with yourself – but it was not until 2010 that I started practicing yoga regularly. Back then, I had no idea that I would benefit so much from it, and that regular practice would have such an enormous impact on all aspects of my life, including my work routine.

Yoga has helped me to become much more aware of my body and mind. As a consequence, I started making changes to my sitting posture and the position of my hands on the keyboard, while working. I noticed that my mind was calmer to reply to emails, communicate with direct clients, colleagues and agents, and reflect on translation options. What amazes me the most is that this all seemed to happen naturally – as my mind became more alert and more aware of what was happening, I started to become more aware of my sitting posture, how my back is supported, how my hands bend or move while typing, how anxious or calm my mind is when faced with the daily workload, etc. This awareness allows me to make instant adjustments, paying heed to what my body or mind is trying to tell me.

For some time now, I have been keen to share all this information with my colleagues and fellow translators, so that those interested in starting this practice might also benefit from it. Below are some of the benefits that can be gained through regular yoga practice:

  • Releasing tension – as translators, we know all about tension, right? Tension can build up in the shoulders, neck and back muscles, in the eyes, even in the brain…
  • Releasing stagnant blood from parts of the body that we do not move constantly – we sit for long hours and, even if we take regular breaks and do physical exercise, we may forget about toes, the back of the legs that are compressed against the chair, etc.
  • Lubricating joints, including hip joints – this improves mobility (remember we experience long periods of sitting!) and helps prevent injuries
  • Strengthening muscles – particularly strengthening the back and core muscles, which helps when sitting for long hours
  • Irrigating the brain – excellent for the long hours of mental processing required of translators
  • Stretching the muscles and spine – also good when sitting for long hours, as it helps  align the spine, and causes energy and blood flow better
  • Massaging internal organs – helping maintain perfect health of the organs, particularly in the lower abdominal region, which are compressed when we remain sitting for long hours
  • Balancing and integrating the right and left hemispheres of the brain – positively influencing cognitive processes, helping with concentration and focus, and enabling us to learn better
  • Releasing gases from the body – which, depending on the foods we eat, can accumulate with long hours sitting down
  • Strengthening eye muscles – with eye cleansing techniques that strengthen the eyes and maintain eye health

Yoga has beneficial effects on the mind, and it helps reduce anxiety and increase concentration. A clearer, calmer mind can be helpful when negotiating with clients or tackling stressful projects. I have learned that, instead of getting anxious, jumping to conclusions, or getting stressed over something a project manager or client has said, for example, with regular practice I am able to recognise these stressful moments more easily, and react more calmly and consciously.

Yoga is not just about assuming certain body postures, called asanas. Other practices, such as meditation, yoga nidra (full body relaxation and deep state of consciousness), pranayama (breathing practice), and mantra chanting, among others, can all help you connect with your body and mind, become more aware of what is happening inside you, and be more in tune with your own personality.

Important notes about yoga:

  • Yoga is not something miraculous or supernatural; it helps you connect with and become aware of your body and mind, and remove the layers (misleading thoughts, habits, patterns) that hide your true essence.
  • Although it is not something supernatural, yoga is a serious, subtle practice and should be practiced with the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor who is serious about the tradition. Unless you have had some training or are an experienced practitioner, you shouldn’t try and practice it by yourself at home or following videos uploaded to the Internet. Neither should you attempt to put your feet behind your head or get into an upside down posture just to show off your flexibility – that’s not what yoga is all about.
  • In order to gain the full benefits, you need practice yoga regularly. It is better to have two regular weekly sessions than to practice yoga sporadically, or at irregular intervals.

Thank you so much for such a lovely contribution to the blog, Sofia! It was a pleasure hosting you and reading your post. Good luck on your next adventure!

About the author
Foto SofiaSofia Pulici is a linguist (MA in Applied Linguistics), and a NAATI- and ABRATES-accredited Portuguese/English translator who will have completed 10 years as a translator in June this year. Her fields of expertise are tourism & hospitality, yoga & spirituality, and migration documents to Australia. As a yoga practitioner since 2010, Sofia is committed to improving her yoga learning and techniques; she has studied Vedanta since October 2015, has been learning the Sanskrit language, and is enrolled in a yoga training program. You can contact her through her translation blog, Facebook page, or LinkedIn.