Every time I finish a yoga class, I challenge myself to maintain my peaceful state for as long as possible. My mind may start to wonder at irritating sounds of sirens or plans for the rest of the day, and I can guarantee by my first meeting at work I have usually lost the zen feeling I worked so hard to achieve. When I started working later hours and often missing yoga class altogether, I began hacking my work day to introduce yoga anywhere possible.
Whether you need to clear your thoughts before a big presentation or stretch your body after sitting for hours on end, it is important to carve out time for wellbeing at work. By integrating mindfulness breaks, you tune into what your body and mind needs. Lucky for you, if your body needs a yoga break there are plenty of ways to do so in your office.
- Meditate: You may not be able to take your 10 minute tune-out-the-world meditation break at your desk, but scheduling meditation breaks is one of the easiest ways to disconnect at the office. Book a conference room, turn your back to the door, and take some time to focus on breathing, eyes closed or not. Conference rooms are often the only quiet space I can secure and if I am having difficulty tuning out work, I bring my phone and turn on a guided meditation.
- Yoga Poses: I am not advocating you break out any downward dogs in the middle of your cubicle. However, integrating calming and stress-reducing poses into your day can be as simple as taking a spinal twist in your desk chair. Here are some poses I recommend for easy accessibility at the office:
- Seated Chair twist: Sit tall in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place your right hand on your right armrest or the back of your chair. As you twist toward the right, use your left hand on your thigh to rotate your spine in a comfortable way. Make sure you switch sides to maintain balance in your body.
- Standing forward fold: This pose allows for your head to drop below your heart which calms the brain and helps to relieve stress. It is a therapeutic pose to hold and is often used as a resting position in yoga. Bending at the hips reach down to touch your toes. You can modify by standing with your back at a wall or bending your knees to allow your hamstrings to release.
- Seated heart opener: Using your desk chair as a prop, sit at the edge of your chair with your feet on the floor. Take your arms behind your back and interlace your hands. Inhale to draw your knuckles toward the floor and your chest to the sky. If you have a high back chair, you can modify by grabbing the armrests and draping your back over the top of the chair.
- Get outside: We all need to take breaks throughout the day. One of my easy wins as I began to integrate yoga into my workday came at my lunch break. Even if you can only take 30 minutes, try to step away from your desk to enjoy your food mindfully. My wellness improved most when I started taking walks during my breaks. Getting outside to sit in the park or walk to a further lunch location serve to remind me that there is life outside of work. If you have a standing meeting with someone, suggest taking a walk instead of sitting in a stuffy conference room.
We will always have reasons that work can take us away from being our most healthy selves. Some of us are lucky to have gyms, organized yoga classes, and healthy meals in our offices. If not, you can take wellness into your own hands and implement the tools to keep your moments of peace intact on and off the mat.
Cameron Cler is traveler at heart, obsessed with seeing the world and discovering ways to contribute to positive global change. As a registered yoga teacher, she balances her constant travel and work in the startup world by channeling her inner yogi and welcoming peace in chaotic moments. Her passion is cultivating creativity and inspiration while sharing travel stories, yoga classes, wellness tips, and smiles with her friends, family, and students.