by: Amanda Huggins
As a yoga teacher with a separate full-time job, it used to feel a bit like I was living a double-life: I’d wake up and meditate, rush to the office where I’d find myself rigidly stressing from a chair for 9-10 hours at a time, then rush back home to decompress with a home practice. My days were bookended with yoga, but what lied in-between was a far cry from the mindful, meditative states I’d create before and after.
Of course, a mindset shift was in order. As I worked to create more balance in my life (no checking email between 7PM and 7AM, less stressing over the small stuff, etc), I also found a few fun ways to integrate yoga and mindfulness during my workday.
Here are my favorite ways to make work feel a little bit less like work, and more an extension of your personal practice:
Congratulations - you’ve chosen to work from a standing desk! Standing at work has been proven not only to boost productivity, but overall health as well. I struggle with SI pain, and I’ve found that switching between sitting and standing each day has done wonders for easing any pain or tension in my sacral area.
Gaiam’s Evolve Balance Board has been my favorite addition to my corner office desk that’s literally in the corner. Stand on this board while you’re working to subtly challenge your core, back, and legs...and don’t worry: the textured padding ensures you won’t slip, fall, and knock that hot cup of coffee over (again).
(Pro tip: if you don’t currently have a standing desk, don’t be afraid to ask your employer. All of my previous employers were open to purchasing them upon request.)
When it comes to olfactory stimulation, the office can be a tricky place to navigate. One minute, Susan is heating up a pungent tuna salad that may or may not be 3 days old, and the next, you get a waft of another coworker’s too-strong cologne. Not only are situations like these a total affront to your senses, they’re a potential new layer of unintentional stress.
The solution? The Gaiam Relax Aromatherapy Diffuser.
I was shocked that I hadn’t found something like this before. Plug the tiny USB device right into your laptop, sprinkle a drop or two of your favorite essential oils on the diffuser tip, and voila - your desk space suddenly becomes a sweet-smelling, sacred space. I recommend using an energizing citrus blend in the AM, and a soothing lavender after that big meeting you’ve been stressing over. ;)
Trust me, I get it. You have piles of work to do, your inbox is a far cry from organized, and that 2PM headache has already started to creep in - you can’t possibly get away from your desk, right?
Wrong! Going for a walk mid-day is a great opportunity to practice what we preach - creating space between moments.
You know that moment when you finish what you’re working on and have about 12 minutes to spare before your next meeting? It’s probably not an ideal time to start something new, but it is a perfect opportunity to sneak out and go for a walk in the sun: a moving meditation that can help you refocus your thoughts and get grounded before starting something new. Much like anything else, we’ll find time for things we value - and the value of an afternoon stroll becomes immediately clear once you leave your desk.
Do you have any other tips for bringing yoga into the workplace? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Amanda Huggins is an LA-based yoga teacher, body love coach, writer and speaker. Follow along with her adventures at @thefiestyyogi.