In the most recent times, we are witnessing a rush of people working around the clock. Essentially corporate lifestyle is of a unique kind, with routines, desk jobs, overtime, weekend work, travelling and much more.
Some key corporate lifestyle habits:
- Spend a lot of time on the computer/phone/gadgets (emails, presentations, video conferences and other important tasks.)
- Due to busy schedule, they tend to skip breakfast or lunch.
- They do not get much sleep.
- Too much traveling for networking & business collabs.
- Usually consume more unhealthy choice of food because of mismanaged busy lifestyle.
- Overstressed due to the role of a key decision maker/other responsibilities.
Common problems that occur:
- Heart Diseases
- Digestion Problems (Constipation)
- Hormone Imbalances
- Fatigue/Weight Gain
Why is Yoga helpful for a corporate lifestyle:
Yoga is essentially a union of body. mind and breath. With a regular practice of yoga postures, people at work will experience a better understanding of their body, enhanced energy, posture correction (the incorrect posture acquired from long desk jobs), better sense of food habits, relaxed state of mind to take better decisions and responsibilities with awareness.
With a regular yoga session, we become equipped with an enhanced manner of working diligently and actively.
Yoga is not only about postures, but an equal amalgamation of breathing and meditation. A dedicated practice of meditation at workplace will create higher stability among employees, helping them further to perform with their best. Good will of the employer also increases with employee wellness programs that include ancient indian science as yoga, which is safe, result oriented and compatible for all ages.
How can we incorporate yoga into the workplace:
Yoga can be included through regular morning office yoga sessions, or desk yoga with a certain series of postures that can be performed without acquiring too much space and constrained time. After certain yoga postures, few rounds of breathing exercises and meditation for ten minutes is mandatory. Some important Yoga Postures for a corporate session:
- Downward Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana: This Posture stretches the hamstrings (back of the thighs), calves and builds strength in the arms and back. It is very effective for people who sit and work all day.
- Extended Side Angle or Utthita Parsvakonasana: This helps in stretching the sides of the body entirely, works on the kidneys, pancreas, strengthens leg muscles.
- Hasta Padasana: This pose calms anxiety, lowers heart rate, stretches the hamstrings, works on the core and is extremely relaxing for people suffering from panic attacks.
- Anjanaeasana or Low lunge: It stretches the upper back easily, relieving pain from stiff necks from working all day at the computer, stretches lower abdomen and inner thighs.
- Cow Pose or Gomukhasana: A very effective pose for stretching the arms, opening chest muscles and therefore supporting easy breathing, with thigh stretches.
- Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose: This posture decreases stiffness from lower and upper back, works on the back of the neck, tones arms, chest and abdomen. For women, this pose relieves menstrual irregularities and elevates mood.
- Shashankasana or Hare Pose: Effective in relieving anxiety, massages the digestive system, lowers heart rate, relaxation of the anterior or back muscles, increases focus.
All poses can be done twice or thrice depending your flexibility and strength. Respect your body’s limitations at a certain stage and follow your own range of motion.
All yoga asanas must be followed by a 2 to 5 minute Corpse Pose or Shavasana. This pose helps relieve stress, anxiety, creates a sense of stability, satisfaction and letting go of toxic thoughts. Meditation and breathing exercises for about 15 minutes, will increase concentration and improve performance.
Breathing and Meditation:
Two important breathing practices can be performed –
1. Alternate nostril breathing or anulom vilom: This type of breathing balances our right and left hemispheres of the brain. Each nostril corresponds to energy channels, and they correspond to right and left brains. Regular practice of this breathing, creates stability in our creative and rational minds simultaneously. This will in return improve the decision making skills of employees, reduce anger, stress and impulsiveness promoting better work culture and employee performance and relations.
Procedure: Sit comfortably in easy pose/sukhasana or vajarasana/hero’s pose. Use the right hand (middle and ring finger) to close the left nostril, and inhale from the right nostril completely without too much exertion, and close the right nostril with the thumb and hold for 4 counts. Gradually release the air from the left nostril, and inhale again from the left, closing it with the thumb till 4 counts and release from the right nostril.
Complete this cycle for 10 counts initially, and increase it with regular practice.
2. Yogendra Pranayam 1 or Equal Breathing: This breathing form is super efficient in combating the damage that smoking has caused inside. This is also an abdominal breathing, with equal inhaling and exhaling of air slowly. This immediately calms the mind, rejuvenates and lifts mood.
Procedure: Sit comfortably in easy pose/sukhasana or vajarasana/hero’s pose, and inhale deeply but slowly till 5 counts and hold the breath for 4 counts, releasing the air gradually till 5 counts again. Repeat the cycle for 10 times initially. The idea is to equalise the inhale and exhale duration. Increase the duration with regular practice.
Meditation: Meditation creates space in our never ending train of thoughts, helps us identify what is relevant and control unnecessary clutter. Meditation is proven to decrease stress, anxiety and trauma with regular practice for at least 10 minutes a day. As a part of the employee wellness program, meditation can be used as a tool to increase work efficiency and manage mental health.
Breathing Meditation: One of the easiest ways to start a meditation practice is to sit comfortably, with straight spine, hands on knees, eyes closed and start inhaling and exhaling easily. The only way to keep the mind focused is to watch the breath that is being inhaled and exhaled. The mind will wander at times and thoughts of various kinds might interfere. Try to not fight against the thoughts, and slowly guide yourself back to your breath and keep watching it as your keep breathing in and out. A session for about 10 minutes, will prove to be rewarding in many ways than one for all the people at work.
About Sayanti Adhikari: I live in Indore, Madhya Pradesh currently and work as a freelance yoga teacher especially for women and girls who lack self confidence or body confidence. I conduct corporate yoga workshops promoting better mental health. I am a Registered Yoga Teacher 500 hours and a Certified cognitive behavioral coach. I also love to teach, write and dance. Through yoga I want people to become not just physically healthy, but also mentally, emotionally strong and stable. To become more free in their mind, in their body, in their choices.