Stressed at work? Try desk yoga.
Needing only a chair, a surface and a little bit of room, desk yoga can be the key to getting a little calm during a stressful workday. It involves seated and standing yoga poses that are designed to release stress and tension and focus on gentle movement and slow breathing to help participants reset their body and mind.
“Both yoga and meditation can be done anywhere, by anyone, inside or outside, with no experience or equipment necessary,” says Jennifer Dean, an integrative wellness coach at Aurora Sinai Medical Center. “These practices focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do, and are easy to customize and modify to meet the needs of all.”
Dean hosts a virtual desk yoga during the lunch hour and says there’s no “magic number” for how long to meditate or do yoga. Like many other healthy living practices, the most important thing is to be realistic and consistent. For those who have a busy schedule, have trouble sitting still or are skeptical, Dean recommends starting slow, with just three to five minutes a day.
“As these practices become part of our routine, there’s a subtle shift where we realize the emphasis isn’t on ‘achieving a goal’ or ‘arriving’ or “mastering”, it’s about showing up, moment to moment, observing what’s happening in the body and mind – as it’s happening – while letting go of any expectations,” Dean says. “This is sometimes a new concept for folks – especially high achievers.”
The sessions she hosts focus on themes related to stress relief, mind and body awareness, relaxation, guided imagery and compassion.
“By slowing down, we cultivate the space to decide how we want to relate to our thoughts, emotions, sensations and stories; creating the conditions to respond vs react,” Dean says. “We get an opportunity to observe and witness the fluctuations of our minds with curiosity and kindness.”