We're excited to welcome the thoughts and guidance of one of our Online Yoga Teachers, Lex in this article. Lex is a 500-RYT Yoga Alliance instructor, based in Ohio and provides an incredible series of Virtual Vinyasa Yoga classes, encouraging us all to manifest our authenticity and embrace the intuitive movement of our bodies and mind.
Even when we feel we can handle stressful situations and think that we thrive on pressure, sometimes our bodies find other ways of addressing the balance. You may find that you become prone to catching colds or headaches, or perhaps you find that you are never fully recovering from the tiredness of the day. These high-pressured environments or regular feelings of stress can have an impact on the immune system, which can have a deeper effect on us later on. Regular yoga practice can help to keep your body and mind in spiritual alignment, supporting your immune, emotional and digestive systems. If all of these are working as they should be, you continue to shine in the workplace.
The past 12 months or so have been tough for many of us. A global COVID19 pandemic has entered us into a new world of work and socializing, and we're all now finding our lives are spent more within the confines of our homes. Lex has taken the time to create a guide for some yoga poses that you can do whilst working from home to help keep you focused, assured and in-tune with your overlapping work/life balance.
"This is my first blog since the outbreak of a global health pandemic. Needless to say, my head has been swimming with thoughts, uncertainty, confusion, but also -- lots of ideas, which means my mind is feeling very active. If you are anything like me, you need to find some stillness in your day. You need yoga now more than ever. So, if you are seeking harmony with your Hatha Yoga, a sense of calm with your Kundalini Meditation or a little tranquility within your Theta Yoga - I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite yoga poses that I have dubbed 'Covid-asana'.
Taking time away from your work doesn't need to be a full yoga session - if you are tight on time and struggle to fit in an online yoga class around your conference calls and deadlines, these simple movements may aid in easing and calming your mind, body, and spirit -- all from the comfort of your home, without interrupting your workday.
I truly hope you enjoy.
Sukasana -- For those long hours sat at your desk
This seated meditation pose is a great check-in for the spine. If you are staying inside or working from home, it is a good idea to always check-in with your posture. Typically, our furniture at home is not designed to support the structure of our spines and our physical and mental health is often sacrificed. Sitting in this pose allows you to sit with a tall and supported spine.
● Sit on your floor, crossing your legs. Notice your hips and allow both your tail bone and pubic to be pointing directly down. Sometimes the hips can tuck too far forward or back. When they are pointing too far back, we feel lower-back pain or tension.
● Draw your shoulder down your back and lift your chest. This takes the pressure off the spine.
● Finally, bring your hands either to prayer or resting on your thighs.
● Sit and breathe for a few moments and notice how you feel. You are likely able to take deeper breaths when your spine is sitting tall.
Tree -- Balance for your body & mind
"Find balance and you'll find courage."
Tree, or any other balance pose, will allow you to find your center. Balancing requires that you come into the present moment. This can be very beneficial and ease some of the uncertainty and anxiety we might be feeling during a pandemic.
● Standing on one foot/leg, bring the opposite foot to rest either on the ankle, calf, or inner thigh.
● Keep your low belly engaged and draw your shoulders down your back.
● Keep your focus on something that is not moving, in order to stay still. This aids in becoming more mindful.
● Don't forget to breathe and do the other side.
Forward Fold -- Cool your body and destress
Forward folds are great for cooling the body. This coolness promotes calmness and de-stressing. Plus, they just feel good!
● Begin standing with feet hip-width distance apart. Depending on your own body (everyone is different), either bend your knees a little or a lot.
● Begin to hinge and fold at the hip points and let your torso waterfall over your legs. Bend your knees enough that your belly comes in contact with your thighs.
● Ground down into the earth with your feet and legs as you gently raise your hips towards the ceiling.
● If it feels like there is pulling in the hamstrings, bend the knees even more.
● Allow the head and neck to be heavy, with the crown of the head pointing toward the floor. Allow arms to either dangle as deadweights or grab opposite elbows and picture frame your head.
Cobra -- Energize your chakra
Feeling tired while at home? Backbends are naturally energizing and awakening. We all need backbends right now when our beds are calling us to nap during self-quarantine. Creating the action of the spine and chest opening invites old energy to be released so you can get work done! Let vitality be restored and try to incorporate a backbend into your morning routine.
● Begin by your lying down on your belly. Let the tops of your feet rest on the floor and push down into the ground with the pubic bone. Bring your hands next to ribs just under your shoulders with elbows hugging in by your sides.
● On an inhalation, begin to push the hands into the mat to straighten the arms and lift the chest and belly off of the floor.
● Draw the belly in and engage the core while pushing the chest forward. Remember to keep the collar bone long. If it feels like there is pinching in the lower back, attempt to bring the lower ribs back into alignment. It is possible that the ribs are popping outward.
● Breathe into the pose for as long as it comfortable and gently ease back down to the floor.
Pigeon -- Secure your confidence, release your hips
Pigeon pose is the heartiest of all hip openers! Hip openers are essential in a time of global pandemic because much of the tension and anxiety that we feel lives directly in the hips. Our hips are also where our felt sense of safety and security lies. By allowing the hips to release and expand we can feel more connected to the material world while we are isolated.
● Begin from Downward Facing Dog, bend the right knee and bring it through to meet the right wrist. Allow the shin to come down onto the floor at a diagonal.
● Sink the hips down towards the mat with the back leg resting long behind you on the floor. You can put a blanket or towel underneath the right hip for support.
● Either stay up with the torso or bring it down to the mat and rest. Hold for as long as feels good.
● Remember to breathe and do the other side!
Benefits of Yoga in the Workplace (in office, or at home!)
Finding inner peace to your working day will help you breathe and take in all the challenges that day holds for you. Taking a few moments each day to practice these yoga moves means some immediate soul-boosting benefits:
● Helping you to become refocused and re-motivated when you return to work.
● You've stretched, flexed and feeling more comfortable back in your desk seat.
● Less prone to repetitive strain injury
● It's a great excuse to create your very own Yoga Space
Taking some time to readjust your mindset by doing yoga can give you the boost you need. It will help you tackle the varying demands and obstacles and enable you to get them done with a smile on your face.
I'd love to hear about your home practice and whether you give these movements a try. Tag us in your home Yoga sessions.
I'll leave you now with one of my favorite quotes:
When you reach your edge, soften. Soften until you lift through the constraints and can create a new rhythm, a new route, and new release."
As always, if you're looking to connect with a like-minded community and practice alongside others, you can join our online community. Think of it as a sanctuary for your soul.
Where can I join online yoga and meditation classes?
VIVAYA offers 14 days completely free before you join, with no obligation, so you can take your time to really become familiar with the platform and teachers, so you have the peace of mind when you are ready to make your membership official.
Choose from over 50 different classes, workshops and 1:1 coach sessions at your leisure, and experience a whole new sanctuary of self-care, at your fingertips.
Meditation and yoga are considered to be a practice, it isn't about "achieving" - it is about connecting to where you are at, in this moment and working with what is present for you. Can you notice thoughts without reacting to them? Can you notice pain without telling a story about it? Can you sit with the discomfort of uncomfortable feelings without reacting with mean thoughts about yourself?
Yoga Corporate Wellness Programs
We also work with organizations to help build and provide an effective corporate wellness program so employees have an accessible haven for meditation, healing and yoga and more. You can explore our diverse array of health and healing offering and join us for a free corporate trial of live and interactive yoga and wellness classes.
Find out more on how we can help reduce work stress by getting in touch.