The phone is ringing nonstop. E-mails are pouring in. The boss just dumped a 50-page report on your desk that needs to be proofed by the end of the day.
And it’s only Monday.
You can feel your shoulders starting to tighten and your jaw beginning to clench. You need to de-stress fast, but you’ve only got a few minutes because that report – and your boss – won’t wait. What can you do?
Yoga to the rescue! According to the Yoga Alliance, nearly 6 million Americans practice yoga and 14 million say a doctor or therapist has recommended yoga to improve their health. In May, the National Institutes of Health celebrated its first-ever “Yoga Week” to highlight the science and practice of yoga.
According to the alliance, yoga helps improve circulation and heart health, along with reducing oxidative stress and providing other anti-aging benefits. And if you’re overworked and overstressed, a few minutes of yoga can help loosen those muscles and let you face the rest of your day.
Yoga teacher Denise Dunn suggests frazzled workers try these four poses to take the edge off during a busy day at the office:
Side Stretch Raise both arms and stretch first to one side and then the other, holding the stretch for a few seconds on each side. This increases circulation and gets your spine moving the way it was meant to – much better than spending the entire day hunched over a keyboard.
- Rotation Now slowly twist to each side. Be careful not to twist your neck excessively, especially if you’re tense. Keep your chin lined up over your chest.
- Back Arch Sit at the edge of your chair and put your hands behind you. Slowly arch backward, raising your chin as you do so. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Forward Fold Cross one leg so your ankle rests on the opposite knee, and then lean forward gently. This is a great way to stretch out hip and back muscles, which can tighten after hours of sitting.
Dunn recommends starting each pose by slowly breathing through your nose. Hold each pose for at least three slow breaths, being careful not to overexert yourself. Remember, the goal is to relax and relieve tense muscles. This isn’t a workout; it’s a gentle, peaceful break from your stressful routine.