Yoga For Office Workers:

Placing aside time for yourself is important. Whether that’s from a physical, mental, emotional or even spiritual perspective. Oftentimes, people lose themselves in their work, family life, or other events going on within their lives. Thus, un-purposefully neglecting their own health. From first hand experience, going through COVID-19 as a front line worker, I know this to be true. Importantly, we must take action to combat this well known issue. In fact, many companies are making the concept of “work related stress” a main area of discussion. In this article we’ll discuss one way to combat stress in the workout. Here is yoga for office workers.

workplace stress

Is Yoga The Answer?

Yoga is utilized by many as both a short and long term answer to common ailments. This includes not just stress, but also improving physical health. For example, balance, endurance, strength, flexibility, mobility, cardiovascular health and respiratory health. In fact, yoga can even be utilized to help in therapy programs after acute injuries, or for long term chronic ailments, like lower back pain.

Improve Stress Management:

Impact: Short term

Oftentimes, we use the term therapeutic yoga, when discussing it in regards to stress relief or increasing positive emotion. Like general fitness related activities, one way yoga does such is by increasing the release of endorphins or “happy-hormones”. Studies also suggest it’s ability to decrease stress hormones, like cortisol.

Newer research has “suggested yoga reduces stress by changing ones psychosocial resources.”

Most often “therapeutic yoga” is achieved by combining the usage of body movement (asanas), breathing techniques (Pranayama), and meditation to help relieve said stress.

Develop Self-Awareness:

Impact: Medium-long term

Prolonged yoga exercises and breathing practice help develop greater awareness not only of your body, but also of your mental state.

In fact, MRI scans have even been done, along with other brain imaging showing people who practice yoga REGURALY, had a thicker cerebral cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for information processing. Secondly, a thicker hippocampus, involved in learning and memory.

Also, by practicing yoga constantly, we become better at independently realizing that we are sitting in the office incorrectly (body awareness). In addition, better able to control our impulses.

Yoga has even been studied in relation to the impact on children. One study suggests that yoga improves “resilience, mood, and regulation skills related to emotions and stress” in children.

yoga in the office

Develop Soft Skills (managerial, team work):

Impact: Medium-long term

This concept has to deal with bettering our self-awareness. Consequently, resulting in improved external responses and management of interpersonal relationships with our colleagues. Thus, benefiting soft skills, such as the ability to work in a team.

Control and management of oneself is essential for an expansion to the management of others. With a clearer mind, we can better problem solve and enhance our creative side. Potentially, leading to a better ability to find resolutions to problems, whether that be within our selves or others.

Boost Your Immune System

Impact: Short term

Studies done by the Journal of Behavioral Medicine show how yoga can help increase immune defenses and decrease inflammation in our body.

Particularly, increasing levels of anti-inflammatories. For example, IL-10. This suggests that yoga can have an impact on our bodies on a gene level.

Decrease Absences and Health Problems

Impact: Medium-long term:

It’s not uncommon to see benefits early on in your yoga practice. In fact, 1 session of aerial yoga proved to help burn an average of 320 calories and yielded cardiovascular benefits of low-moderate intensity, according to a study done by ACE fitness. However, ideally this will become an investment in yourself long term. Hopefully it will become a way of life. As this same study revealed long term benefits, like, decreased body weight, body fat percentage, and even blood pressure.

yoga for work stress

Yoga At Work Is Possible:

Yoga for office workers is an easy on the go practice for anyone. 

Oftentimes, the word “Stress” takes on different meanings, dependent upon the individual. To some, it’s intertwined with feelings of anxiousness, restlessness, malaise and/or apprehension.
Stress comes when you think you are unable to have control over every aspect of life. This tendency to control, itself, is a source of discomfort, since in nature and in life not everything can be controlled.

Fact is, stress & anxiety can become a vicious cycle that can have you feeling helpless at times.

Anxious systems arise, and then more feelings of anxiety arise from the fact you believe you can cope with the current situation. Then, oftentimes playing avoidance with the perceived “thing” that makes you anxious, can actually make it worse long term.

Consequently, we have to find ways to face our issues. Alternatively, ways to cope with our issue(s).

Asanas At Work:

Below we illustrate 3 asanas for office workers that you can implement in the workplace. Keep in mind that some of these poses can be completed individually, or as a team. Believe it or not there is something called Corporate yoga. Corporate yoga’s goal is to teach simple yoga practices. Bringing together postures, breathing, and meditation to a larger staff of people within a workplace.

Surely, the end goal is to enhance both mental and physical well being. Thinking about this on a business side of things makes sense, right? It can be a way to make people happier. To make people within a corporation feel closer together. Ultimately, this can lead to better retention.

Yoga, Beyond the Studio references a slew of health benefits from workplace yoga. For example;

  • reduced stress;
  • improved health;
  • increased focus;
  • decreased burnout.

Begin With the Breath:

Most importantly is to focus on the breath, prior to beginning any yoga routine. Included in this concept is your posture. Seated in your chair, back strait, knees even with your hips. Feet flat on the floor, under the knees. Close our eyes. Then, begin to inhale deeply and exhale. Focus on the breath. Tune out distractions.

Long durations of time staring at the computer can leave us stiff, rigid and feeling downright tense. Loosen up with some shoulder rolls.

Shoulder Rolls:

Steps:

  • In a seated position as mentioned above, rest your arms on the chair arms or place down by your side.
  • Then, on inhale bring them up and back.
  • On exhale, allow them to descend forward and back down, repeating this motion for 30 seconds.

Now let’s loosen up the back with seated twists.

Seated Chair Twist:

seated chair spinal twist in the office

Steps:

  • Firstly slide you buttocks toward the edge of the chair.
  • Then, pivot your knees to left, sort of a diagonal position.
  • Now, reach back with your right arm to the opposite side, grabbing the back of the chair.
  • The left hand/arm can press into the right knee to help the stretch.
  • Then, begin to inhale, deepening your twist.

Let’s end with a standing pose, Standing Forward Bend.

Standing Forward Bend:

Steps:

  • Begin in a standing position.
  • Inhale, reaching you rms overhead, exhale.
  • Then, inhale and hinge at the hips, reaching the hands down toward the floor.
  • On each exhale attempt to deepen the stretch, bending the knees slightly if more comfortable.

Final Thoughts On Yoga For Office Workers!

Truly, yoga can be practiced anywhere. It’s an ancient practice that has evolved exponentially in recent years. Thus, fitting the needs of a wide array of individuals for a number of different ailments. Whether practicing the beforementioned yoga, or involving yourself in another relaxation/mindfulness practice, it’s important to learn to cope with stress.

We hope this post helps to open the doors of the versatility of the yoga practice, even within the doors of your office!

References:

  • https://www.acefitness.org/getfit/studies/YogaStudy2005.pdf
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/
  • https://ripplematch.com/career-advice/companies-that-prioritize-the-mental-health-of-their-employees-ebec5754/
  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-new-home/202104/new-study-explores-how-yoga-reduces-stress
  • https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/yoga-for-better-mental-health
  • https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00035/full
  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/urban-survival/201802/new-research-how-yoga-boosts-your-immune-system#:~:text=One%20study%20found%20that%20yoga,transcription%20of%20proinflammatory%20cytokine%20genes.
  • https://www.acefitness.org/about-ace/press-room/press-releases/5833/ace-study-evaluates-health-benefits-of-aerial-yoga/#:~:text=The%20study%20revealed%20that%20a,%2D%20to%20moderate%2Dintensity%20exercise.
  • https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/-/media/CCI/Mental-Health-Professionals/Panic/Panic—Information-Sheets/Panic-Information-Sheet—03—The-Vicious-Cycle-of-Anxiety.pdf
  • https://www.yogabeyondthestudio.com/blog/yoga-for-beginners/office-yoga-8-yoga-poses-you-can-do-at-work/