Stressed at Office? Yoga can Help!

Competition from peers, long office hours and perpetual traffic jams – an everyday story of an office-goer. After all, what much can we do to fight these? Challenges have become a part of our day-to-day life at work and stress is a common household name. In the newspaper, on the TV and the web, you come across a million stress-management advertisements daily.

Advantages of yoga at desk:

  • If you are feeling dull, yoga can help charge you up quickly.
  • Practicing yoga in a group at work builds synergy in the team.
  • Yoga can keep stress at bay.
  • Yoga stretches help to loosen up tensed body parts.
  • Yoga can help reduce the anxiety quotient.
  • Yoga improves flexibility not just at the physical but also at the emotional and mental level – you find it easier to accept different personalities at workplace and different situations.
  • Meditation helps you stay fresh throughout the day.

Each time there is an issue at office (your boss talking rudely to you, a co-worker bossing around or another colleague behaving irresponsibly), we keep reminding ourselves to relax. After all, why should we crib over something which is our bread and butter? But, at the end of the day, the fact remains that we just can't relax! We know that facing these challenges with a calm and composed mind can give us faster, more effective solutions, but where do we get such a peaceful mind from?

Yoga can be your answer, the science that comes with an experience of 5,000 years and has a solution to most modern-day issues we cope with. Today, we bring you 10 best yoga exercises which can be practiced at your work desk to help you keep stress at bay and also add a few minutes of fun and relaxation to your otherwise hectic schedule. Give your best shot at the office with these yoga stretches.

1.    Mind your head: Let’s start with the head first, for this is the region where it all starts from! Place your hands on the temples and massage them gently for a minute or two. Massaging relaxes the nerves that connect to the mind and wise decisions come from a calm and relaxed mind.

2.    Raise your eyebrows: Most of us raise them only to express our dismay or confusion! We only realize their existence when we touch and feel them or when we are at the spa getting a facial done. Take a break from work for a few minutes and pinch your eyebrows using your index finger and the thumb. Do this around 8-10 times and notice the difference.

3.    For your eyes only: Roll your eyes over from the left corner to the right and up and down. Try to increase the angle of your view with each circle. The eyes suffer a lot during long hours of staring at the computer screen. Give them a break every 30-45 minutes by looking at a far-sighted object. This would exercise the eye muscles for long-sightedness. Blinking them 10-15 times loosens the otherwise stressed nerves joining the eyes and the eye socket. Blinking your eyes more frequently throughout the day improves your vision.

4.    Lend me your ears: Hold your ears from the top with the index finger and the thumb and gently pull them towards the sky. Repeat the action holding the ear lobes and pulling them down. Ear lobes are connected to awareness. Do you remember your teacher pulling you by your ear in class? It was to increase your awareness so that you pay more attention. Don’t give people a chance to pull your ears. Pull them yourself regularly!

5.    Exercise your jaws: They are one of the strongest parts of an animal. All examples can be taken from the 'Ripley’s Believe It or Not' series (series of unbelievable acts on AXN). Place three middle fingers on the cheek bone and massage it gently, keeping your mouth open. This relaxes the cheek bone nerves which are always working for you while you are talking or eating. You can also exercise your jaw bones by opening your mouth widely and moving your lower jaw sideways around 8-10 times.

6.    Roll your neck: All the nerves connecting your body to the mind go through the neck region. Don't let the neck become a bottleneck in your daily work! Roll your neck gently clockwise and anti-clockwise, then from left to right and sideways. Repeat each of these actions for a minute or two and notice the sensation happening at the back of your neck. You will find that the muscles in the neck region start to loosen up as the stress gets released from the neck muscles.

7.    Stretch your arms: Your arms are in a relaxed position when you are typing or writing on the pad. Wake them up by stretching them. Hold your hands in a straight line and move the palms sideways and up and down. Repeat this 10-15 times, feeling the stretch in your arm region. You can also do some eagle arm stretches. The best part of these stretches is that they can be practiced right on your office chair.

8.    Twist it: Gently move your upper body, keeping the lower body fixed on the chair that you are sitting on. Then move it from left to right and vice versa. Try to increase your reach with each move. This will exercise your back and improve your physical flexibility.

9.    Stretch your legs: First raise your legs to a level where they are in line with your hips. Feel the stretch in your hamstrings. Move the ankles in the clockwise and anti-clockwise direction while holding in this position. It will relax your calves and make you ready for a sprint to your lunch place!

10.   Meditate: You are always on the move, getting the project delivery done for the client, negotiating with the finance team or chalking out road maps for your subordinates. Give your mind a break. Meditate. Take time out for 10-15 minutes during your office hours and meditate. This will reflect in the quantity and quality of your work too!

The above-mentioned yoga stretches can be a complete body workout at your desk. Try these when you are stressed out or bugged of doing any kind of work and notice the difference. Be instrumental in making office yoga a part of your daily chores as also of your entire team. Create a group yoga activity in office and encourage your colleagues to join in. Practicing yoga and meditation in a group has much more impact. Relax in your job, spread positivity around and see the difference for yourself!

Founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,The Art of Living is an educational and humanitarian movement engaged in stress-management and service initiatives. Read More