The Benefits of Yoga For a Fast-Paced Office Environment

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The Benefits of Yoga For a Fast-Paced Office Environment

As more and more people discover the benefits of yoga, the practice is rapidly finding its way into the workplace. But if you stop to think about the mental and physical benefits, it’s easy to see why. Studies show that that yoga lowers stress and anxiety. For busy professionals, this can be the perfect way to combat these feelings that can be detrimental in the workplace.

Looming deadlines, performance pressure, keeping up with the latest innovations in technology; it all takes its toll eventually. Although it’s tempting to get stuck in the structure of the daily grind (I call it the “work vortex”), you’ll be better off in the long run by breaking up your day with some much-needed exercise.

Yoga is a great way to reduce tension, both physically and mentally. It promotes relaxation and mindfulness, helps regulate breathing, increases bodily awareness, fosters self-acceptance, interrupts cyclical thinking, and even teaches people to accept discomfort. All these benefits translate well to the workplace, helping to boost employees’ productivity and happiness, as well as alleviating hostility and absenteeism.

The demand for yoga in the workplace means there are plenty of professionals who specialise in office settings. So if you’re looking for something enjoyable and beneficial to do on your lunch breaks, it’s worth considering bringing yoga into the office.

What you’ll need

If you’re ready to bring yoga into the office, you’ll need the right gear. Including yoga clothes, there are plenty of options when it comes to gear. Here’s a rundown of the basics:

  • Yoga mat: There are different types of mats to choose from, depending on preferences and the style of yoga you’re practising.
  • Yoga mat bag: Keeping everything tight and secure will make transporting the mats around the office easy.
  • Yoga props: Blocks, bricks and straps are great for beginners, helping with confidence and difficult poses.
  • Yoga towel: Specialised yoga towels can help reduce slipping.

6 yoga poses to try during your lunch break

When it comes to yoga, practice makes perfect. With some time up your sleeve during lunch, here is a great sequence of poses to get you started.

1. Toe Squat

Kneeling on your mat, tuck your toes under your feet and lean back so your bottom is balanced on your heels. As you feel the stretching in the arches of your feet and toe joints, make sure to focus on lengthening your spine.

2. Standing Forward Bend

Coming out of the toe squat, lift your knees up to stand on the soles of your feet, keeping your upper body bent over. Grab your opposite elbows and relax your head towards to floor, feeling the stretch in the back of your legs.

3. Down Dog

The down dog is one of the most recognised yoga positions. In position, keep your neck long and draw your shoulders away from your ears. Press down through your heels while you exhale, stretching the hamstrings, calves and Achilles tendons.

4. Low Lunge

Rise from the down dog with your left foot and bring your right knee towards your chest. Point the toes of your left foot and lift your bottom up high as you place your right foot next to your right hand. With your fingertips under your shoulders, inhale to a flat back, before placing your left knee down on the mat. Bring your torso back over your pelvis, with hands on your front knee and hold.

5. Pigeon Pose

Place both hands on the mat under your shoulders and onto your fingertips. Heel-toe your right foot to your left wrist and put your left leg back. As you exhale, fold your upper body over your shin, lower down onto your forearms, and untuck your toes.

6. Head to Knee Pose

Now, bring your left leg around and place it out in front of you. Moving the sole of your right foot to your inner left thigh, reach your arms up for a breath. Bring them down and grab the outer edges of your left foot on the exhale. Remember to lengthen your spine as you breathe in and out.

Get your colleagues involved in yoga

Yoga is a great activity to do with workmates, helping you stay motivated and improve your relationships with others. The key to having some proactive yoga time at work is a good workplace culture. I’ve been lucky to work in a digital marketing space that is open to trying new things like yoga to get the creative juices flowing.

Beyond the health benefits of practising yoga in the office, it also fosters camaraderie with your colleagues. A team that respects and understands each other are like a well-oiled machine. The chances are any stress or pressure you’re feeling is also felt by your colleagues, so getting into a regular yoga routine with them will strengthen your bond and improve the overall health of your team.

To get you inspired, here are a few ways teaming up with colleagues will benefit you:

  • No skipping: When you exercise by yourself, it can be easy to skip your routine every now and then – particularly after a big day. But having a yoga buddy will help you stay motivated, as you have more responsibility to see it through, no matter what.
  • Healthy competition: While yoga isn’t the most competitive of practices, seeing your colleagues pull of difficult poses will challenge you to do the same.
  • It’s fun: Even the most relaxing exercise can be fun. Sharing your goals and routines with another person is a great way to look forward to your regular yoga sessions.
  • Fewer injuries: Having someone by your side that can help you adjust poses and spot anything you’re doing wrong will help you avoid unnecessary injuries.

Since I’ve been able to put crayon to paper, there’s nothing I’ve loved more than telling a good story.

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