Some of the latest stats suggest that 87% of people who have tried yoga are in better moods after their class. That’s because yoga works on the mind so successfully, it quite literally infuses the brain with happiness. When you practice yoga, the happy-making chemicals – seratonin and oxycotin – are elevated in your body.
Yoga’s objective is to create a sense of harmony and connection between your mind and body. It teaches us to go deeper into ourselves and to connect with our thoughts, our breathing and our postures. It quite literally exercises our minds and the benefits are far-reaching.
Read the fascinating article about WHAT YOGA DOES TO THE BRAIN. In the piece Jonathan Greenberg, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School says, “Yoga has been used in the treatment of anxiety conditions, depression, insomnia, eating disorders, and others.”
So, it goes without saying that this age-old form of exercise is perfect to build wellness in the workplace. It effectively eliminates stress, anxiety, insomnia and other conditions, which are prevalent in today’s work-force because we are challenged with more workload pressure than ever.
An ideal form of yoga to practice at the office is Ashtanga (ashta = 8 and anga = limb) or the 8 Limbs. It works well in an office space because it can be practiced anywhere and at any time.
The 8 Limbs of Yoga involves synchronizing the breath with a progressive series of postures which ultimately work to strengthen the body and calm the mind. When practiced regularly we feel happier and live more meaningfully. That’s because each limb focuses on a moral or ethical code. For example, one limb may focus on practicing truthfulness and generosity while another may help with self-discipline.
Of the 8 Limbs at least half of them will help your mind become calmer and more focused. They can have a profound effect on your mental state and by taking a pair of headphones to work you can practice them quite easily at your desk.
The 3 Limbs which flex the brain muscle can be practiced in 3 steps while sitting in your office chair:
Step 1. Pranayama are breathing techniques which are designed to help with physical and mental balance. Breathing helps us to focus on the here and now. It opens us up and allows for more oxygen to reach our brain. This helps us to immediately eliminate stress and anxiety, and think more clearly. Practicing to breathe correctly is something you can do anywhere.
How to at your desk: Put your headphones on (you can listen to relaxing yoga music or simply wear them to keep noise out). Sit with a straight posture. Relax your shoulders. Close your eyes. Practice breathing deeply in and out. Focus on your breathing and nothing else.
Step 2. Pratyahara is a conscious effort to draw awareness away from the external world, away from all the distractions and focus on the internal process. This allows us to see where we are resisting anything or giving in to cravings and negative emotions. When you get Pratyahara right you will know the true value of meditation as you reach a profound state of relaxation, expanded self-awareness and inner stability.
How to at your desk: Keeping your headphones on, your posture straight but relaxed and your eyes closed, you now need to close yourself off from the outside world. Keep inhaling, exhaling, inhaling until you feel far from where you are.
Step 3. Dharana is concentration. Dharana teaches you to strengthen your mind against distractions and focus better. It helps concentration and makes you more productive.
How to at your desk: After removing yourself from all outside distractions, your mind can be focused on a point, idea or object. To look deep inside yourself imagine something pleasing in your mind. Visualise looking into yourself. Focus on only what’s in your mind (and on your mind). What are you struggling with. On each exhale slowly let your worries out.
Don’t allow stress to deplete your mind this winter. Practice group yoga at work to eliminate the workplace blues. Learn the 3 Limbs for the mind, which once mastered can be practiced anywhere. Want a yogi to help get you started? Contact us and we’ll send an instructor plus the yoga mats.