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Five Reasons to Add Yoga to Your Work Day

Everywhere we look yoga is presenting it’s self. Almost every town has at least one yoga studio and it would seem that some larger cities have one on every corner. Health care providers recognizing the numerous benefits of yoga suggest yoga as a way to cultivate optimum health for their patients.  Professional sporting teams teams require their athletes to practice yoga, and have even hired yoga teachers as part of their training staff. There are many forms of yoga, hot yoga, restorative yoga, ashtanga, Yin, corporate, prenatal, children’s, and family yoga. There is even goat yoga...the list is endless.   This 2000 year old practice is here to stay as people are realizing the positive effects yoga has on their bodies and their lives.

The practice of yoga is portable, you can take it with you wherever you go.  You don’t need special equipment or fancy workout clothes.  Community or group classes are great opportunities to practice  with a favorite teacher, meet up with friends, and to work on self care.  But you do not need to wait for that coveted 6:00 PM studio yoga class to reap yoga’s benefits.   A few minutes of yoga in the office has numerous benefits and can make for a better work day.  And others will benefit from the efforts of your practice.

1. Yoga increases productivity

Feeling burned out, overwhelmed or detached from tasks at hand?   Many times this is a result of not providing self care first.  Self care includes healthy sleep hygiene, healthy eating, and healthy (moderate) exercise, things that we can access on a daily basis but may not set as a priority for ourselves.   Without these basic building blocks, we become depleted and unable to perform at our best.  Yoga provides us a means to care for our body through movement and attention to our breath.  And those with a regular yoga practice often make better nutrition decisions and report improved sleep habits.   Result? When we feel good about ourselves, we tend to be more engaged and productive in all areas of our life. We can get more done in shorter time without sacrifice to quality.  And here’s how...

2. Yoga cultivates clarity/ clear thinking/ problem solving

A few minutes of connecting breath and movement allows one to see the bigger picture, yet stay grounded in the moment.  Yoga teaches us to pay attention to smaller details of self and surroungings, without judgement or labels, or expectation.  Setting aside time to dedicate to deliberate focus on breath, movement and/or mindfulness has powerful effect on body and mind.    Many practitioners of yoga report that when met with challenges they have found  new insight, courage or strength needed to overcome the hurdle through mindfulness, meditation and/ or focused breathing.

3. Yoga improves interpersonal relationships. 

We have all had a challenging moment or conflict that leaves us feeling less than hospitable or perhaps resentful towards others.  When we make time and show compassion and acceptance for ourselves and our emotions, we are better equipped to extend that same compassion and acceptance to others.  Sometimes we just need a time out to disconnect from the conflict and to engage our parasympathetic nervous system by accessing our yoga tools (breath, focus and movement).  We may come back with a new perspective & without feeling emotionally attached to the problem.

Next time you are feeling conflicted, try this:

Take a short break, turn off your notifications, close your eyes and take 10 wide inhales and 10 complete exhales.  Pay attention to to the quantity and rhythm  of your breath. Notice the inhales and exhales, as well as the pauses in between.    If previous conversations or thoughts pop into your mind, gently dismiss them, and start your count over.  Or set a timer for 3-5 minutes and allow your focus to stay with your breath.  

4. Yoga can reduce the many harmful effects stress has on our body

  We all know how damaging stress can be to the entire body, including our mind and spirit.  Many physicians now encourage patients to explore yoga as a compliment

 to traditional western medicine offerings.   Research now reports that Yoga may decrease blood pressure & inflammation, improve breathing and circulation, alleviate pain and stiffness, increase serotonin levels, and may lead to healthier choices. 

5. Yoga can stimulate effective teamwork (partner tree pose/ yogi squat back to back, matching breath, guided meditations and imagery)

Yoga shared as a team-building project can improve office relationship leading to better productivity and outcomes.  When shared in this way, yoga can build trust between coworkers, communication is strengthened.  A sense of support, mindfulness, courtesy and accountability towards self and others may be felt, resulting in improved motivation,  increased collaboration and unity of staff. 

There are so many resources available to learn more..find a teacher that resonates with you, attend a community class, or watch a video.  Taking a few minutes in your day to slow down, be aware and connect with Self has numerous benefits, some which extend beyond your immediate experience.  You will be happy that you did!

Seated Cat cow pose ( seated pelvic tilts) Seated arm/ leg stretches 10 breaths/ mindful breathing/ matching breath and movement

Meditation/ mindfulness d yoga to your work day

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