Guest Blog: Yoga – Mindfulness in the Workplace

In our latest Guest Blog, Anne from Yoga Quota suggests how you can use some simple techniques to make yourself more productive and calmer at work, whilst helping you to manage stress – something we all suffer from periodically.  Take a read – it may just be the best advice you get…

When we get in the ‘thick of it’ it’s sometimes hard to focus. Emails keep flying in, the phone goes…the more frantically you try and do your tasks – the more just seem to pile up! And you ask yourself when are you ever going to get the brain space to do that big picture strategy piece your client really wants???

I’ve been admiring the stoicism of my Oxford students juggling their exams, and a fellow worker in the place I hotdesk at has been telling me about his panic haze when he gets so much on his plate he becomes paralysed. So I thought it was about time to blog about yoga for work.

Yoga is not just moves and stretches – there are 8 ‘limbs’ and these 3 can help at work (I have some subtle ways to practice ten which have worked for me – see the website).

1) Take time to carry out some of the asana – the moves. It’s not just about calisthenics on the mat but some movement does help the old happy hormones so they start to course around your body. What used to work for me when consulting was just 2 sun salutations a morning (more if you can muster the courage). You could try scurrying to the toilets and doing some side stretches sat on the loo. Some movement. Any movement. Or find a friendly yogi in your office who would like to take a class at lunch or before work…! That’s how I started teaching so it could be the start of someone’s new career!

2) Breath….deeply! Eyes closed and fully filling your lungs. Yogi 3-part breathing is a subtle one you can do at your desk with no one noticing. Here you fill the top, middle and bottom of your lungs sequentially, and then breathe out of the bottom, middle and top. This just lowers your racing heart rate and fills your blood with oxygen. All good. I love some Nadi Shodhana too – alternate nostril breathing. Less subtle, but very effective.

3) Mindfulness. This is a practice of being aware of the present and just letting your thoughts come and go with no judgement. I don’t explain this terribly well- I would recommend you try ‘Headspace Take 10’ (for free) for explanations from an ex Buddhist Monk who gives amazing tips and guided meditations. They are BUILT for busy people- 10 mins, no nonsense, maximum chilling. I promise clarity will come your way after trying some of these techniques.

Try it and see!

If the cafe owners are anything to go by – they guarantee yoga works. They tell me that when people come through the cafe to my studio before the class they look tense, they’re rushing, they’re stressed. As they leave they’re ‘floating’ and ‘happy’.

If you’re suffering more than ‘just’ stress and are edging towards mental ill health your doctor is a good bet- some of my charity classes are for people recovering from mental illnesses and I’ve had good feedback for the use of yoga in recovery.

Hope some of these tips work for you! Look after your brains!

How do YOU manage stress and remain calm – share your thoughts below?

Anne’s awesome website is at www.yogaquota.com – pop along and get some great tips and advice.

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