“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.”
We are increasingly witnessing the prioritization of wellness practices in the corporate world; over the last five years and since 2020, as a wider community, humanity has been called to reassess its approach to work and wellness. These concepts were once considered separate, where an individual's well-being came second to their productivity and working output. In recent years, and as rates of anxiety, burnout, stress, depression, and mental depletion have skyrocketed, the tables have started to turn towards maintaining a sustainable work-life balance.
Yoga is a system of living that prioritizes the health of practitioners. The teaching, practices, and living of yoga have evolved over thousands of years and still have profound applications in the modern world. We see benefits in the power of this practice to manage stress and anxiety (LINK!). More and more, we see those from corporate backgrounds deepen their knowledge of this holistic way of living, taking yoga practices back into the corporate world.
Here are some simple yet impactful practices that can become part of daily work life that can invite and maintain balance.
Studies show that we are more productive with regular, intentional breaks and set 20-minute timers where you intentionally move your body, look away from the screen, breathe, drink tea or water, or change tasks for the day.
As humans, we are greatly rejuvenated being in nature; take the opportunity for a lunch break outdoors if you can!
It’s no big shock that spending 8+ hours a day at a screen isn’t going to be great for our bodies. Taking time to move during your work day can be beneficial not only to your physical health but also to your ability to focus. Here are some simple stretches or movements that can even be done at your desk!
Raise your arms over your head and interlace your hands while keeping the lower body still reaching your interlaced hands towards the right; breathe into the opening along the right side of your body and the shortening along the left. Hold for 5 - 10 breaths and repeat on the left side.
Bring your right hand to your left knee and allow the left hand to support behind your hips. Keep both hips squaring forward while twisting the upper chest to look behind you, take 5 - 10 long deep breaths, and repeat twisting to the right.
Cross your right ankle over your left knee; you can press the right knee away from the body deeping the sensation into the hip or bringing your upper body forward to create space at the lower back. Hold for 5 - 10 breaths and repeat on the left side.
Come into a handing position with the feet wider than hip-width apart, interlace your hands behind your back, and fold over the thighs. Keep the hands interlaced and direct them over the head. Hold for 5 - 10 breaths - Option to bend one knee at a time to incorporate a twist.
Bring your hands onto your knees, and on an inhale, shine your heart through your arms, lifting the gaze to the sky as you draw shoulder blades together. Exhale, draw chin to chest, and round the spine. Shoulder blades pull apart. Repeat 5 - 10 rounds.
As the day-to-day stressors of work-life challenge us, we begin to breathe unconsciously take a moment of pause to notice our breath. Where are you breathing, into the belly or the chest? Is the quality of your breath deep or shallow? How does it feel, easy or sticky?
Practice elongating your breath to re-establish balance; you can practice inhaling into the belly for a count of 4 and exhaling for a count of 4.
When stressed or overworked, it is common to reach for quick, nutrient-lacking, comfort meals to fuel our ‘on the go’ lifestyle. To eat at desks or to skip meals entirely. None of this stimulates proper digestion or health. Prioritize healthy, balanced meal breaks and healthy snacks that can be enjoyed in nature.
“TELL ME, WHAT IS IT YOU PLAN TO DO WITH YOUR
ONE WILD AND PRECIOUS LIFE?”
- Mary Oliver