Carve out some quiet time on a busy work day with yoga
It is so easy to take our bodies for granted when we’re on the move, rushing to take that flight, or jet-setting to a different city. It’s important to get some respite every day and these breathing exercises and yoga asanas can help you feel good all day
We see you. You are at your prime. You are young and this is your time to shine. People like you and me, we love the rush, we love the movement that takes us to new places, be it professionally or otherwise. The flow of life can be intense for young entrepreneurs and working professionals, whether you live at home or away. The love for the profession and passion take centre stage; everything else takes a backseat. But when do we stop to breathe, take those few breaths of fresh air that rejuvenate, cleanse, and remind us of moments that are truly valuable?
Why is it so easy to forget to breathe? To take our bodies for granted when we’re on the move, rushing to take that flight, jet-setting to a different city? We understand ourselves as we are and we hold our highest value greatly linked to our productivity. This is a universal truth. We plan our days around our schedules; we have an extensive checklist that we must tick off by the end of the day.
The greatest thing in our lives is that our bodies support us through it all. The early mornings, late nights, skipped meals, meals on the go, long periods of a sedentary lifestyle, the stress of the numbers game. The body is constantly at a pace, a springboard, in a tense state of being.
What helps break this cycle? Massages, spas, short vacations, and the one thing that promotes a healthy lifestyle: yoga with mindfulness and breathing exercises. These are probably features that have shown up multiple times on your social media feed, blogs on LinkedIn, and of course in the form of articles like this one.
You are smart and know your way around things and so you make sure you squeeze a workout session in there somewhere, a relaxing activity to have you up and about. You may know exactly what works for you and how to up your productivity game. Entrepreneur to entrepreneur, sharing a few insights here which will help you have a balanced and an efficient day.
Start your day in silence
The first few minutes after you rise are the only ones where you can truly compose yourself and spend time with undisturbed and translucent thoughts. The few minutes of feeling yourself, entirely in sync with the universe. No rush to be anywhere, no stressed deadlines, no ringing phones, missed calls, or schedules. A time to reflect and be grateful for all in your life and a few moments of truly being yourself, before you dive head first into your day.
The 12-step Surya Namaskar can help to kick-start your day on a physical as well as a spiritual note. The full body engaging asana flow works your core and brings awareness of your mind, body, and soul in alignment with your reality.
Apart from this, make Pranayamas a part of your life. Breath work is the best way to change the composition of the body. Modern science shows that breath work can help you wade through the daily stressors of life. The ancient methods of controlling and working with breath can get you out of the most nerve-wracking situations. We list down a few pranayamas you can practise while at work.
Start in a seated position, close your right nostril with your right thumb, and inhale through your left nostril. Now close your left nostril with the middle finger of your right hand; at the same time, release your thumb from the right nostril to exhale. Then, breathe from your right nostril, and close it with your thumb, releasing the finger on your left nostril at the same time to exhale. Repeat this alternative breathing exercise for a few counts.
Start with two-three deep breaths, then form a tube with your tongue in your mouth and pout with your lips making a small “o” shape. Inhale with your mouth through the tongue tube and exhale through your nose. Repeat this five or ten times.
Take a few seconds from the task at hand and let the blood and oxygen flow to your brain. Stretching out your knots can really relax you, allow you to focus on work, and concentrate on your day with replenished fervour and new-found enthusiasm.
Set an alarm on your phone to ensure that you stretch now and then. You can practice the following stretches when at work.
Seated in an upright position, start tilting your head from right to left for a few counts. Then turn your head overlooking your shoulder as much as you can; hold on each side for 10-15 seconds. Do this as many times are you are comfortable.
Start in a seated position. Keep your feet separated and start rotating your ankles together in opposite directions for 10-15 counts. Switch directions and continue the rotations for another 10-15 counts.
Keep your arms straightened in front of your body. Widen your fingers and stretch them as much as possible, then contract them into a fist with your thumb wrapped inside your fingers. Do this process slowly and continue for as many counts as can comfortably.
Start in a seated position. Now turn towards your right, and grabbing the arm of your chair with your left hand, twist your torso as much as possible. Hold the twist for a few seconds, return to your original position, and then twist on the other side.
Try these yoga asanas at work to relieve stress and rejuvenate.
Tadasana or the Mountain Pose
The Mountain Pose is one of the most empowering postures in yoga. It allows you to feel on top of the world. In a simple standing posture, focusing on your breath allows you to get on top of things. In a relaxed place, you work through your core and all your minds’ clutter.
Uttanasana or the Full Forward Bend
This requires you to literally bend and touch your toes. The forward bend stretches the entire length of your body, allowing you to relax and promote blood flow. A quick stretch between calls will allow you to sit back with more space for movement and relieves muscular tension.
Quick tip: Hold this pose for a few seconds and breathe into your body. I assure you that you gain insights about your body, the workings of your mind, and even a seemingly stagnant situation.
Seated Cat-Cow Pose
Start in a seated upright position. As you inhale, arch your back, leading forward with your chest looking upwards. As you exhale, round your spine and let your head drop fully. Try to engage your core into this practice. Repeat this process a few times or as many times as you can comfortably.
Start in a seated position. Rub your hands together until they start feeling warm. Close your eyes and cover them with your palm. Make sure your nose is not covered to ensure proper ventilation. Apply slight pressure with your warm palms on your eyeballs; this helps to relax the eyes. Repeat this process for three minutes or more.
We all know what mettle we are made of. We are self-driven, we introspect, we like to stay on top of things and on the move. It is up to us to ensure we continue remaining on top of things and provide ourselves with respite for rest and relaxation during busy workdays.