I work at a social media software company and teach yoga to kids & families. While I work, I often sit on a Swiss ball, do some stretches, breathe deeply, and remind myself that we are all connected in some mysterious way. This refuels me throughout my day. I try and bring my yoga practice into my work to help make the days smoother and more productive. So, here are my top 3 best practices that combine yoga and work:
Breathing is life. Breathing is almost everything.
Take some deep breaths. We automatically tend to hold our breath when stressed. We have to teach ourselves to do the opposite. A timed breath where the exhale is longer than the inhale will help immensely to calm you down. This sends a signal to your brain to turn down your flight or fight response, a response that is hardwired into humans for survival. It also turns up your relaxation response.
Some fundamental biology: The sympathetic nervous system controls your flight or fight response and releases stress hormones, such as cortisol, throughout your bloodstream. When cortisol is elevated for too long or released too often, it can cause damage in your body, disrupting your hormonal system. The parasympathetic system, on the other hand, induces a relaxed state of body and mind.
Deep and timed breathing influences the latter.
So, a simple breath sequence can be as follows:
(Using deep and smooth breaths):
Breathe in: 1-2; Pause to the count of 1
Breath Out: 1-2-3; Pause to the count of 1
Repeat several times until you feel calmer. Approximately 5 minutes of breathing in this manner should make a difference.
2. Stretch: Stretch your body whenever you are able to. Stretch at the desk. Get an exercise ball and sit on it for a while. Get up and walk around every now and then.
Some basic yoga stretches that can be done at work. There are several more, but below are three that I commonly practice.
1. Interlace the fingers of your left and right hands and stretch arms upwards, palms facing the ceiling. Stretch up and above your head. Hold for a few seconds. Release.
2. Interlace the fingers of your left and right hands. Bring them behind your back. Now, move them as far away from your back as possible while bending forward from the waist. Hold for a few second. Release.
3. Stretch your neck by rolling it. Drop the chin to your chest. Roll it to the right, taking the right ear close to the right shoulder. Then, roll back. Then, left ear to the left shoulder. Do this 2-3 times and then reverse directions. Keep your shoulders relaxed and do not hurry in tight spots.
4. Stretch your mind, too. Always be willing to learn new things. This will keep your mind young and agile.
A fragile thread weaves humans together to form the web of mankind. In yoga, we realize we are all connected- a single family of collective humans- all colors, races, sexes, and personalities. Too often, we are ignorant of this or just plain forget.
Try and remember this simple philosophy- We are all connected. It can possibly transform your attitude at work. So, when a co-worker misbehaves with you, it will not bother you as much.
Forgive people for their minor trespasses and you will be much happier. I am not asking you to be passive or meek. Speak up when you have to, but hold the philosophy in mind at all times- We are all connected.
Lend a hand at work to a harassed colleague. You will gain, not lose some. You will gain a friend, respect, and trust.
Since I work in a social media software company, I live and breathe social while working, and sometimes after work, too. So, I am connecting with people all the time and building my social footprint. I bring the same attitude to my social networks, that we are all connected in spirit. I give and take in my social network world and respect my connections.
Ask: What are some of the yoga principles you bring to work?