You’ve probably been there before; hunched over your desk with what feels like the weight of the world on your shoulders. Deadlines are looming, colleagues are panicking… the office can be a stressful place. But amidst the chaos, a spot of yoga can be the perfect way to ease the strain of busy office life.
Yoga is a great and effective way to decrease stress, improve flexibility, posture and balance, regardless of where you are.
With the increased rise of yoga apps, we have rounded up the top 5 that you need to know about in 2017 so you can practice regardless of location. It can also be hard to get approval for initiatives such as yoga in the workplace, so we have spoken to some industry influencers on how they are changing the way people think about office wellness. To get you started, we have listed some great tips on how you can practice simple but effective yoga poses whilst at your desk.
Yoga positions to try at your desk
The great thing about office yoga is that it can be done anywhere without the need for a lot of fancy equipment. Here are three easy office yoga poses to try from the ‘comfort’ of your desk.
This simple move will help to improve posture, easing the tension built up in the back and across the shoulders.
- Sit up in your chair, keeping your back straight, and reach up towards the ceiling with your arms, taking a deep breath as you extend your arms upward
- Exhale slowly whilst gently bending forwards, folding your upper body over your knees and bringing your arms down with your body in a fluid movement.
- Hold the position for about 10 seconds, inhaling and exhaling slowly
- Repeat the pose 2-3 times
For people who constantly have their hands hovering over computer keyboards, this pose helps to release forearm tension, as well as building strength in the wrists.
- Using one hand, gently pull back on your fingertips, to feel the stretch in your wrist and forearm.
- Try to keep your arm at 90 degrees and don’t pull your fingers too far back, only do what is comfortable for you
- Now do the opposite and turn your hands over, pressing down on the top of your hand, pushing your fingers towards the inside of your wrist
- Repeat with the other hand
When you’re sitting all day, your legs often get forgotten about. Taking regular walks from your desk helps to boost circulation, and this easy desk yoga pose will improve your flexibility and reduce tension in your legs.
- Sit up straight on the edge of your chair and put one of your legs up on another chair across from you. Be sure to keep your leg level, at hip height and your other foot flat on the floor.
- Don’t pull back on your toes, but instead reach as far down your leg as you can. The more flexible you become the further you will be able to reach.
- Gently bend forward towards your foot, try not to hunch over but instead keeping your back straight as you lean forward.
- Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths (around 10 seconds)
- Repeat with the other leg
Top 5 yoga apps for 2017
If you want to expand your yoga workout a little further, there are several smartphone apps that can help you practice in the early morning, during breaks or even in hotels when travelling for work. Here are five of the best smartphone apps for this year that are worth checking out.
1. Pocket Yoga – iOS and Android
Including soothing instructions and calming music, Pocket Yoga helps ensure you have the correct breathing and movements to master your yoga workout.Sergio Tacconi, President and CEO of Rainfrog, LLC says
Sergio Tacconi, President and CEO of Rainfrog, LLC says
Our app, Pocket Yoga, allows you to practice yoga anywhere at any time. You can start the app, select how long you want to practice, select your level of expertise and the app will guide you through a full yoga class. All you have to do is roll out your mat and follow along.
2. Asana Rebel – iOS and Android
A modern way to improve your mind and body with interval
training to speed up metabolism, muscle toning and fat burning.
3. Daily Yoga – iOS and Android
With more than 100 yoga and meditation classes, the beginner-friendly
tutorials promise to help you find a better self in only two weeks.
4. Down Dog Yoga – iOS and Android
Provides a studio-like yoga experience with clear
vocal instruction and matching playlists.
5. Yoga Studio – iOS, Android, Amazon and Windows 10
Includes easy to follow, instructor-led 30 minute classes,
as well as tutorials to help you master your poses.
Improving employee wellbeing
Wellbeing is key to keeping an office full of workers motivated. When you work at a desk all day, your body becomes less flexible and your posture can cause discomfort.
Selecting the right office chair can make a big difference in how you feel at the end of the day as it helps you maintain the correct posture to reduce discomfort. Approved by doctors, a posture chair includes multi-position arm pads to help prevent repetitive strain injury.
Along with looking at how you sit at your desk, you might also want to consider changing to an ergonomic keyboard which features a comfort curve that is designed to encourage natural wrist positioning.
However, even those with perfect posture can still suffer from aches, pains and lethargy after a full day sitting stationary, which is where yoga can be most beneficial. With employee welfare becoming more of an important factor in modern workplaces, it’s easy to see why many businesses are starting to understand how yoga and other wellness programmes can help.
Workplace yoga businesses
Corporate wellness programmes are on the rise, as more and more businesses realise the importance of a healthy and happy workforce.
Richard Brook an acupuncture, yoga and holistic
coach from creativewellness.co.uk says:
Yoga relaxes, supports your posture, self-awareness, balances your mood and builds team spirit, which make it a fantastic addition to any workplace, but the big thing is that it reminds you of your authentic human nature and innate ability and desire to thrive. We can become acclimatised to the stresses of corporate life; often hours in front of a screen with the humdrum of technology as the soundtrack in an air con office lacking natural light and rushing lunch.
Yoga calms you and makes you aware of your body, thoughts and feelings so you not only become less susceptible to stress you also become less willing to compromise your innate desire for balance which makes you a more creative and harmonious person, and thus a more effective employee.
Fern Ross from fernrossyoga.co.uk teaches yoga
across London and specialises in workplace yoga.
I slowly found a deeper appreciation of the practice beyond postures, leaving each class with a calmer mind and a stronger sense of self. No matter how busy my day had been, I just always felt more grounded and emotionally lighter after each practice.
I specialise in workplace yoga, going into companies and sharing the practice with employees. The difference in people after just one session is incredible, from the obvious physical benefits, to the sense of calm that comes from allowing yourself the time to step away from technology and incorporate a bit of mindfulness into your day.
I firmly believe that yoga should be offered in all workplaces: it makes everyone more focused, energised and productive, and equips them with the tools they need to manage stressful situations with ease.
Martin O’Rourke, Commercial Director at Birchwood Park (Warrington’s leading business park) explains how landscaped surroundings, community events and regular exercise classes put employee wellbeing at the forefront. This is of benefit to small businesses who might not have the resources to focus on office culture in-house.
In reality, a small effort can go a long way where employee wellbeing is concerned. Group activities and classes can have a real impact on the wellness of staff and increase productivity levels. We’ve also seen how this can impact on staff retention and recruitment.
Cultivating a community feel in the workplace, ensuring that employees feel part of something more than the four walls of the office is really important and often proves the difference in keeping staff motivated.
If you’re interested in workplace yoga, why not try introducing it to your office to see the benefit it has on your team! Let us know how you get on – tag us in your social media snaps with #EurofficeWellness