There is a trend in the corporate world moving towards supporting the well-being of employees by placing greater value on their emotional and psychological health. Introducing yoga and other meditational practises into the work day, will provide an environment focused on mental health, emotional support, and stress management.
Working long hours and sitting for long periods of time can leave your mind feeling less productive and your body stiff and tense. Yoga can improve brain function, raise emotional intelligence, and even heighten our ability to absorb and retain information.
Yoga helps people use their mind in different ways and also helps you relax within the work structure. Gentle yoga and breathing techniques can be practiced at the beginning or end of the work day or during the lunch period, to break up the long hours spent sitting and to inspire and rejuvenate you for the remainder of the day. Yoga breaks do not need to be long to be effective, as little as 15 to 30 minutes will help improve the work team’s ability to focus and problem solve.
Yoga in the office or meetings can even help prevent or alleviate shoulder and back aches commonly experienced by office workers. There is no need for a special space as yoga stretches, breathing exercises and mindfulness meditation can all be successfully performed in a chair. A study in The Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that 20 minutes of Hatha yoga stimulates brain function more than walking or jogging on the treadmill for the same amount of time.
Chair Yoga Postures
- Raise your right arm slowly over your head, gently stretching at the shoulder.
- As you fully extend your arm, feel the stretch along your side.
- As you lower your right arm, raise your left arm over your head, stretching at the shoulder.
- Alternate one arm and then the other breathing easily with each extension.
- Repeat 3 to 5 times per side.
- With your hands over your head and arms extended, slowly bend forward from the waist.
- Gradually bring your hands to the floor next to your feet.
- Let your head relax between your knees.
- Rest your abdomen on your thighs and breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your breath to massage your organs.
- After a few breaths, slowly come up one vertebra at a time.
- Cross your right leg over your left thigh.
- Place your left hand on your right thigh.
- Reach behind you with your right hand and grasp the chair, using it to assist a rotation in your spine to the right.
- Keep your head aligned with your spine and remember to breathe.
- Hold for a couple of breaths.
- Release and repeat on the other side.
- Sit up straight with your bottom on the edge of the chair. Stretch your arms out straight behind you and place both hands on the either side of the chair, grasping the back of the chair.
- Inhale slowly and deeply, lifting your chest both forward and upward, arching the lower back.
- Extend your neck and stretch from the lower back.
- Hold for two breaths and then relax.
- Repeat three times.
- Grasp below your right knee with both hands.
- On your exhalation, pull your knee up to your chest, feeling the stretch in the hip and thigh.
- Drop the shoulders back and down, lift the chin and pull the knee closer into the chest.
- Hold for several breath cycles and then repeat on the opposite side.
The benefits of bringing the practice and philosophies of yoga into your next meeting are endless. Yoga is mindful awareness of the breath, postural alignment and patterns of thought giving us more energy, and a deeper intuition.