How Can I Practice Yoga at Work?

Given many people spend 60-70% of their waking hours doing work-related tasks (sitting at the computer, commuting, attending lunch meetings, traveling for business, etc.), it can be challenging to make it to your yoga mat on a daily basis.  Incorporating a few yoga tips into your work day can help you manage stress, relieve muscle tension, shift your perspective and give you a sense of control.

Start with your breath.  As I often tell my yoga students, if you’re breathing you’re doing yoga.  Breathing is one of the most powerful tools we have to improve our mental state and energize our bodies.  Take a 2-5 minute breathing break every hour (every 30 minutes is even better).  This break can be done sitting at your desk with the eyes closed or better yet, take a 5 minute walk outside for some fresh air.  Let the sound of the inhale and exhale bring ease into your body and clear your mind.  For a more energizing break, sweep the arms up as you inhale and release them to your sides as you exhale.  Repeat this as often as possible.

If you can’t justify a 5 minute breathing-break every hour, there are plenty of opportunities during your daily routine to slow down, breath and simply check-in with yourself.  These small moments can add up throughout your day.            Sitting long hours?  Check-in with your posture.  Feet should be flat on floor with knees over the ankles.  Hips should be slightly higher than knees.  Engage your abdominals and lift up through your chest.          Notice how you type.  Can you lighten up on your keyboard?        Do you have a death grip on your mouse?  Again, lighten up.  Relax your fingers.        Waiting in line for coffee, lunch, etc?  Notice your posture.  Stand tall –ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over knees, knees over ankles        Have a meeting on a different floor?  Take the stairs.  Focus on breathe and movement.         Stuck in traffic?  Breathe.  Inhale for a count of 5.  Exhale for a count of 5.  Think of something that makes you smile.        Walk to the bathroom at 85% of your usual speed.  Mentally, leave your work at your desk.  Focus on your posture and breath.         Eating lunch at your desk?  Follow it with a 10 minute walk outside or in/around the building.  Focus on the sights and sounds around you.          Smile and breathe whenever you can.

Take charge of your inner yogi at work by bringing awareness to how you perform simple repetitive motions –walking, sitting, typing, commuting, answering the phone, responding in a meeting, etc.  The more you start to bring attention to how you move and react in your work related tasks, the more in control you’ll start to feel.

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