Most of us are now easing back into the five-day work week. For many, waking up lethargic, drained and dispirited — to the extent that you contemplate a sick leave — has become a common feature. According to experts, erratic shifts in our routine have impacted the overall well-being of many in the workforce. While some crib that they can’t hit the gym anymore, since travelling to office consumes time, many others are suffering from body ache thanks to being glued to their chairs from 10am to 6pm. Other common complaints include drowsiness, neck ache, back ache and eyestrain. This is where yoga for office comes into the picture. “Companies should inspire their employees to practice yoga daily at workplace. It can prove to be very helpful in keeping a check on absenteeism in a post pandemic world,” says Laxmi Yadav, yoga trainer. Taking regular Y-Breaks during office hours can be super energising and calming, say yoga trainers.
Y-Break@workplace- yoga at chair
Last week, the Government of India advised its employees to take Y-Breaks of short duration to de-stress, refresh and refocus during work. Introduced by the Ministry of AYUSH, the concept consists of simple practices that one can do while sitting at their desk. To illustrate them, the ministry shared videos titled Yoga at Chair, Yoga for Workaholics and Yoga Break, on its website.
Why workplace yoga
There are three basic elements in yoga: Posture (asanas) , Breathing (pranayama) and Meditation (dhyana). Each can be easily practised on the chair while working in the office. These simple yoga techniques can help release tension and bring our thoughts and feelings into alignment and can give us clarity on what to do next. Your decision making skills are sharpened and you are able to deal better with conflict situations.
“I started practising yoga in 2008 during my corporate stint. I experienced a huge transformation. It calms your mind, keeps body pain away and helps you control negative emotions. You respond mindfully to stressful situations rather than mere reacting, which enhances your productivity and helps build healthy relationships with your colleagues,” says Shynee Narang, yoga instructor.
Pranayama helps balance both your body and mind. It releases tension, combats fatigue and promotes a more alert and energetic state. Some breathing techniques that can you can practice in office are: 1. Breathing consciously – take a deep breath in and out.2. Alternate nostril breathing- take a deep breath in from one nostril and out from the other.3. Pursed lip Breathing – Breath in from your nose and count to 2, purse your lips (like you whistle ) and slowly breath out.
These yoga postures aim to alleviate common problems people experience from being seated at a desk all day, including poor posture, a tight neck, sore backs and tight hips. It stretches your lower back, which is commonly tight due to prolonged sitting. These asanas also tone the internal organs, including the kidneys and digestive organs. You can master these poses with the help of a trainer or by following online tutorials can help deal with body ache and also rejuvenate your mind.
Chair twist: Chair twists help decompress the spine and relieve pain
Forward Fold: For good posture, core stability and strength, try forward folds
Gomukh arms: The gomukhasana helps relieve stiffness in the back, arms and shoulders
Prayer Twist: Prayer twists help stretch out your chest and shoulder muscles
Seated Pigeon: The seated pigeon pose alleviates mild lower back or hip pain
Meditate for a calm mind
Dhyaan is an integral part of yoga and has been practised for thousands of years for its numerous benefits. “Short meditation sessions during work breaks can help office workers manage stress, improve focus and cultivate a more productive work environment,” says Laxmi Yadav, yoga trainer.
Find a quiet space, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Observe each inhalation and exhalation without judgment, allowing thoughts to come and go. Whenever the mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to the breath. Practice for a few minutes.
Sitting in the same posture for long hours can have a serious impact on our muscular system, joints, bones, and on the functioning of our internal organs. It restricts our blood circulation which leads to obesity, joint pain and mental health disorders. It’s also the primary cause of rising back pain, sciatica and cervical issues.
Tips to keep in mind
After every 1-2 hours, do some mindful stretching to help release tension from the body and mind.
Don’t practice yoga after a heavy lunch. Maintain at least a two-hour gap.
Keep yourself hydrated before, during and after your practice.
Set an alarm or reminder on your phone so you remember it’s time to take a yoga break.
Try to move around in office whenever you are on a phone call.
Pay attention to how you sit. Are your tensing up certain muscles unnecessarily, especially the shoulders, neck and jaw? If so, gently bring yourself back to a relaxed physical state.
Practice eye rotation exercises to relieve screen exposure strain.
When working at your desk, sit with your feet flat on the floor, aligning hips and knees at a 90-degree angle.
Inputs by Harshit Chhabra, fitness trainer; Laxmi Yadav, yoga trainer; Shynee Narang, yoga instructor and influencer; Radhika Gupta, yoga teacher