THE BLOG

Yoga and the Workplace: A Practice That Works Wherever You Do

01/23/2013 04:13 pm ET | Updated Mar 25, 2013
  • GAIAM TV Personal Growth and Spirituality Conscious Streaming Video Service

Let's set the scene: You're slumped at your desk, shoulders rolled forward, back hunched over, neck craning to move your skull closer to the computer screen, which is blurry through your watery eyes. It's been several hours since you've gotten up to move. You can't remember the last time you drank any water.

How many of us have been in this exact position?

Personally, I don't dress up and head to an office for eight hours a day. In truth, I often stay wrapped in comfy yoga clothes from morning to night. Part of me feels like a slacker for revealing this.

But let me assure you, I do work: I keep things humming at home, shuttling my two sons, volunteering and generally making sure everything happens that needs to happen.

I also teach yoga. That's a job, although it hardly feels like one. Sharing yoga allows me to move, breathe and connect with myself and my community, all of which relieves stress. Still, I only teach a few hours a week.

When I'm not at the studio or on family patrol, you'll find me sitting at a desk in the family room. I guess that's the closest thing I have to a real workplace. I'm fortunate to get to spend some time most days writing, which I love. It's aerobics for my mind and balm for my heart.

Now, my body is another story. I spend hours with butt planted on chair, shoulders slumped, neck crooked and eyes drying while I wait for a page to refresh.

Maybe that's how I can prove that I work. My body paints the portrait. If I were the slacker I think I am, I'd be more relaxed, right?

Even though my professional life is a bit slapdash, I was eager to check out Suzanne Deason's "Yoga Solutions for the Workplace" on GaiamTV.com. Yoga without leaving my desk, no mat or props required? This I had to try.

Here I am in the hypothetical "before picture": Imagine droopy shoulders, iron neck, saggy belly and locked hips. I'm rubbing my temples; I'd like to take a nap. But my kids are at a friend's house, and I know I should use the quiet time to do some work.

Less than six minutes after starting the Suzanne Deason's yoga at work sequence, I feel transformed.

Somehow, my shoulders are staying down of their own accord, blades nestled into my back. My neck is long and loose. My legs feel strong and alive. Even my fingers and toes have startled to tingle. The muscles in my face have softened and, when I peek in the mirror, my eyes are bright.

Even though I live and preach this stuff, I am stunned by the difference a few moments of breathing and movement can make in my comportment and mood.

I repeat the practice to see if I can crack the code.

I feel amazing again but still haven't solved the puzzle. The movements are simple and clean. It's as if a magic wand swept over me and dissolved all the tight areas.

This practice rocks for anyone who works at an office. It's also delicious for moms, truck drivers or anyone whose occupation involves sitting or lifting. It's definitely manna for someone like me who works out of her home, minivan, kitchen, the school -- you get the picture.

Take six minutes and see if you too feel transformed. The results will be well worth your time.

Amy Taylor is a freelance writer for GaiamTV.com. She also teaches yoga to students of all ages. Find her columns on yoga and parenting here.

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