"Ujuṃ kāyaṃ paṇidhāya"—An anecdote and a partial translation

In the last half-year or so, it’s slowly dawned on me that what I now call for myself ‘wavering body-mindfulness’ during desktop computer usage has precipitated an erosion of my ability to lie down comfortably, even to the point of consistent sleep interruption which I’d been measuring with digital accelerometer.

In some cursory research into the condition across the Korean and English webs, I encountered a blog article that I found to most compellingly capture my own situation. (Incidentally, I found today that the publication date is the day I got an x-ray.)

Journalist-blogger, Mr. Yoon Byoung Ki (윤병기), has written two drier articles on the topic in 2015 for the Who-Saeng-Shin-Bo (후생신보; 厚生新報), a medical news print publisher based in Seoul.source

Drawing some inspiration from a comment by @Mat I began translating it below. I also suspect that this may be an emerging problem to varying degree for other millennials at large born into this era of rectangular viewports.

Sleepless Nights: Is Il-jja-mok1 the cause?

December 12, 2016 | Yoon Byoung Ki (윤병기) | Partial Korean Translation my own

An ordinary office-worker that uses the computer for his work, Jeong-Mo (31) has struggled with Il-jja-mok–related pain at the nape (목덜미 통증) and fatigue (피로감) but starting from a few months ago, it’s come to the point that he can count on his hands the number of days he’s had a good night’s rest. Unable to easily fall asleep, he’s tried changing pillows, but due to frequent tossing and turning, even if he does manage to fall asleep, it does not continue into a deeper sleep, and the worry of this sleep disability (수면장애) having a harming influence on his work and health is a constant stress (勞心焦思).

This is an insomnia symptom (불면증상) that can appear from living daily sitting at a desk jutting the neck out for extended periods of time where the structure of the bones of the neck transform into a numeral-one-shape, and there is a growing trend of office-workers experiencing the same problem.

1 일자목=Numeral-one–neck

Source: http://byki70.blog.me/220883791665

Here, a more English-friendly article from another Korean:


Sorry to hear about this. When I got set up for my project in Qimei, knowing it would involve a lot of computer time, I asked my wonderful supporters to get a sitting/standing desk for me. It was hard to find one, but we found a good manufacturer here in Taiwan, and somehow got it shipped out to the island. I love it!

I sit in the morning to drink my coffee, then stand up, and mostly stand when I’m working, sitting down whenever I get tired. I find I feel more energetic and focused when standing.


Thank you Bhante.

I’m actually considering a similar setup for myself somewhat. Back in Toronto, Canada where most of my stuff is, I built a mere-standing desk out of some DIY instructions involving two IKEA “Lak” (iirc) coffee tables which was kind of fun. I’ve been going about a bit of a spartan setup while here in Korea and I think it’s certainly testing my limits.

I’ve done a few things to improvise in the meantime like elevating my monitors above the typically recommended eyeline as I found that it’s more in line with how I work. Even resorted to pirating a full-fledged 3-d anatomy atlas program to figure out just what the heck is going on (I’d almost argue that it should be a human right to have access to something like this!).

You know what, I might just try wearing rubber slippers or something so my feet don’t slip as I do the splits at the keyboard. :smile:

I used to have really bad forward head posture (FHP), it’s gotten a little better over the last years as I’ve been trying to correct it. Here is a blog post about one study where specific exercises were found to improve foreward head posture over time.

There’s also a lot of videos on youtube about how to correct FHP, personally I mix and match stuff to do.

For me, FHP has caused muscles at the front my neck to shorten, this causes constant tension in my jaw and some facial muscles. It’s especially prominent during meditation.

So while I don’t have sleep issues (I think), I definitely have a constant companion called physical discomfort in my neck, jaw and face.

On the bright side, it’s really pushed me to develop kindness in meditation, because it’s the only way I’ve been able to deal with the discomfort. So it’s a case of “good, bad, who knows?” I guess :slight_smile:

As an encouragment/warning to those of you who can meditate without discomfort: don’t waste it! Your body may not always be so helpful.


Great advice!

But as regards sleep measuring, before I landed on the cervical spine diagnosis, I’d actually done the rounds on whether it was sleep apnea and had some fun with hacking up an app for my painfully deprecated Blackberry. I’d say it may well be worth the trouble of a few button presses on a smartphone to get a sense of how many times you change your position in sleep. I can recommend an app or two if you’d like.

And just because I can, here’s a graph of mine from just a few days ago:

I thought it was pretty interesting when I first saw my own results.

For those on a really low budget, or no budget, you can get the same effect by using empty crates, cardboard boxes, combined to elevate your monitor to an ergonomic viewing height.

This works if you have a laptop. combine with a 20$ wireless keyboard mouse combo, you can just alternate between the sitting position laptop monitor height and standing one by manually moving the laptop from one to the other.

In the US, costco has tons of empty sturdy cardboard boxes for free. Just find a few that stack up to the right standing height.

total budget, 20$.

It’s ugly, but really who are you trying to impress? It’s so ugly I won’t even show a picture of my setup.

But as part of a holistic solution, try to use the computer less and eventually not at all. Memorize all the suttas you think you need to get to the island, then go off grid and devote yourself full time to running for the exit like your head is on fire.

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May well be sage advice. Unfortunately can’t cite the source, but the very most dire estimate I’ve heard stated with conviction by an American climate scientist of utter catastrophe is 2027 if I’m recalling well. This is from a documentary some years back though it’s not looking too good so far as I’m aware.

[details=ps] It’s a bit clumsy, but you can press the reply button at the bottom of the page to reply to the topic even when using the quoting feature.

(Excuse the flashing box; a GNOME extension for ergonomics called WorkRave telling me to take 30 seconds off)

(And pressing ‘J’ snaps through posts in a topic one-by-one)