Yohon's virtual yoga session

Lisa Yohon of Lavender Lotus Yoga (shown here), conducted the virtual “Yoga at the Desktop, Personal Enrichment Hour” session at noon Thursday on Facebook at Lavender Lotus Yoga! The Lunch and Learn event was sponsored by the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce.

OLEAN — Many of us have been hunched over our laptops or devices for weeks while working from home on the kitchen or dining room table.

For anyone cramped by neck or back pain resulting from the daily routine, help was available during Thursday’s Virtual Lunch and Learn program sponsored by the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce.

The noon event, conducted by Lisa Yohon of Olean’s Lavender Lotus Yoga and titled “Yoga at the Desktop, Personal Enrichment Hour,” was streamed live on Facebook.

Yohon began the session by admitting she never thought she would be conducting a live Facebook class for yoga — all necessitated by the pandemic.

“I was really happy when the (Chamber) asked me to do this class again,” Yohon said in referring to a previous yoga session. “They feel it is very important for people to take time during their day when they’re at their desks. The desk really isn’t the best place for most of us to spend our time, but most of us do, or many of us do.”

She said those who must work at a desk — or table top in their homes during this period of confinement — should try to do some stretching or yoga during the day.

Yohon said prolonged work at the computer strains the neck, shoulder and back muscles, which can lead to tension and stiffness and ultimately can affect the overall quality of life.

Yohon then proceeded to demonstrate a variety of exercises with diaphragm breathing, stretching of the arms, rotations of wrists and stretching of the legs, all while seated in her chair. She also showed the virtual class exercises that included rotations of the head, rolling of the shoulders, and stretches and movements of the legs while standing near the chair.

“Even if you don’t have a lot of time, because you’re very busy at your office, or wherever you are, doing exercise at your desk just a few times a day can also make a big difference in your flexibility,” Yohon told the class. “It can make a big difference in how you feel, and it can make a difference in keeping you a little bit calmer in stressful situations you may find yourself in.”

Meme Yanetsko, chief operating officer for the Chamber, said she thinks the virtual sessions “are the way to go” at this time.

“This one was at the workplace, which is great because you’re at your actual desk” and can learn how to exercise in that setting, Yanetsko said. “I think it would be ideal to do” again in the future.

She said anyone can visit Lavender Lotus Yoga on Facebook and watch the recorded session.

Erica Dreher, membership services manager for the Chamber, said the series consists of free workshops conducted by local business experts, Chamber members and associates of the Chamber’s partners. Dreher said the workshops, also called “learn at lunch” or “brown bag” events, normally were held at the Chamber office, but the virtual events are due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

Dreher said the next Lunch and Learn session on May 12 will also be virtual and is titled “Common Scams, Charity Review.”

The event, conducted through the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York, will teach participants how to find and recommend businesses, brands and charities that can be trusted.

For more information, send emails to erica@oleanny.com or call the Chamber at 372-4433.

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)