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Yoga, A Workday Essential

Once you decide to move intentionally through life, you owe it to yourself to challenge your mind, body and spirit through activities like yoga. Yoga is a good practice to incorporate into your daily routine to help bring about harmony between body, breath, mind and spirit. Anxiety and stress can be reduced by doing yoga, and yoga offers a host of other benefits by transferring focus and attention to the body and breath.

I find so much beauty in practicing a new pose, that seems difficult, and eventually mastering it. The human mind and body is capable of transforming, stretching and pushing beyond what we can imagine. I used to always view yoga as solely a physical practice without realizing that it could become a way of life. Yoga is a mental reminder that through work and dedication, you have the power to become the best version of yourself.

Yoga poses can help relieve backaches and neck pains, especially from sitting or standing at work. If you have not already, I encourage you to incorporate yoga into your weekly routine. I included a few pictures below to show you poses that help me decompress.

 

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

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+ Stand tall and have your feet barely touch each other. Relax your shoulders and let your arms hang down by your sides in a relaxed way.

+ Breathe deeply, drawing air into your stomach. Feel your diaphragm expand and contract.

+ Be present in the moment. When thoughts arise simply acknowledge them and go back to the breath.

+ Slightly tighten or flex the muscles in the knees, thighs, stomach and buttocks maintaining a firm posture. Balance you weight evenly on both feet.

+ Inhale through the nostrils and lift the buttocks off the legs arching the back and thrusting the abdomen forward and tilt the head as far back as possible.

+ Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing easily.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

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+ Lay on the ground with your arms bent and place your hands directly under your shoulders, as though you’re about to do a push up.

+ Press the tops of the feet and thighs and the pubis firmly into the floor.

+ On an inhalation, gently straighten your arms, bringing your chest up off the ground.

+ With the elbows close to your sides, press down into the palms and use the arms to lift you up even higher. Drop the shoulders down and back and press the chest forward. Keep the legs, buttocks, and pubic bone pressing down into the floor.

+ Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.

+ To release: exhale and slowly lower the chest and head to the floor. Turn the head to one side and rest, rock the hips from side to side to release any tension in the low back.

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

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+ Begin in mountain pose with your hands on your hips.

+ Exhale as you bend forward at the hips, lengthening the front of your torso.

+ Feel the spine stretching in opposite directions as you pull the head down and in and press the hips up.  Work on straightening the legs to deepen the stretch in the backs of the legs.

+ Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths, actively pressing the belly into the thighs on the inhalation.

+ To release: bend the knees keeping the back straight, inhale the arms out to the sides and inhale the arms and torso up back into Mountain pose.

Yoga has been a beautiful teacher. My hope is that this daily routine and habit will eventually pour into how I overcome obstacles in my daily life.  Patience is gained because I am reminded that everything is a process, and we are always evolving every day. Each step is progress in the right direction, similar to when my hands get closer to my toes, or when I’m able to hold a pose much longer and eventually get off of the ground.  Similar to life, we must always focus on small positive steps or wins throughout the process.

Remember, yoga is an ongoing practice, not a competition. Some of these poses will take time to master. To avoid injury, listen to your body and don’t push further than what feels good. Start where you are.

Ready to deepen your practice? Be sure to visit www.talentdefined.org and sign up for our "Life In Balance" newsletter. We consistently have tips and tricks to incorporate mindfulness and yoga into your everyday life.

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