Today, I want to share some ideas on how you can apply your yoga tools off the mat. It’s important to recognize that yoga doesn’t end when you step off your mat- the asanas (poses) are only one of the eight limbs of yoga. There is also yama- moral disciplines, niyama- taking care of ourselves, pranayama- breathing, pratyahara- our senses, dharana- concentration, dhyana- meditation, and samadhi- spiritual enlightenment. For more info on each of the eight limbs, click here.
These eight tools can help you live your best life. I’m going to list my favorite techniques to use when I’m feeling stressed out at work:
This one is so obvious. When I feel frustrated or overwhelmed, I’ll either go in the bathroom our outside to take some breaths, or I’ll do them wherever I’m standing at the moment. Taking three deep breaths and having a longer exhale than inhale, letting out some sighs, or even envisioning your breath as a wave crashing and receding on the shoreline can help calm your nervous system, reduce cortisol, and increase the flow of oxygen to your brain.
Pratyahara- the senses
My favorite mindfulness exercise is really easy to use while you’re at work. You start by finding five different colors in a room. Find as many things as you can in one color, and then move on to the next. Then, notice five different smells. Five different sounds. This exercise helps bring your awareness back to the space.
Picking a point of focus (or drishti) and doing a few simple balancing postures can help bring balance. This can simply be standing on one foot. Or, you can cross your wrists, hands, or feet as doing so brings communication between the two sides of the brain.
Part of yoga is learning to forgive yourself and your body for your limitations. Once you have completely accepted and embraced yourself, you can do the same for others. This skill is especially helpful if you interact with people a lot at your job.
Being present will help you to make less mistakes and be fully aware of what’s going on at the moment. There are hundreds of articles and books on mindfulness at the moment, and if you’re curious about it, I recommend checking out Mind Body Green.
Being kind when other’s aren’t always kind to you is one of the most important skills you can have. Yoga teaches us to accept that everyone comes from a different background and that we shouldn’t let our ego judge. It never hurts to be kind to everyone- including yourself.
Those were all my tips for how to use yoga during your work day. As you can tell, there’s a lot more to it than poses!
Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you!