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Blog: Simple Yoga Techniques to Increase Effectiveness at Work

As a business leader your effectiveness is directly related to your personal productivity and efficiency, on a daily basis. Therefore, in order to sustainably operate at high levels in business, you need to be able to maximise your personal potential.

At a time when sustainability is becoming more important at a macro or global level, we believe it is also important for business leaders to create a sustainable or people-focussed culture at a micro level, within their businesses. And yoga can be an effective contributor to this culture.

“Yoga believes in transforming the individuals before transforming the world. Whatever change we want to happen outside should happen within.”

Swami Satchidananda

We can draw inspiration from yoga, the ancient spiritual system from India, and apply 3 very useful techniques to your work day. Each one takes a couple of minutes and will give you numerous benefits, such increased oxygen intake to keep you alert, a calm mind for good decision making and reduced fatigue for stamina.

We have selected these three yoga techniques as they require no previous experience of yoga and can be applied during your working day in order to get the very best from yourself.

Note: yoga is a healing system, therefore only move in ways that feel good and supportive to your body, do not overdo it as you could cause injury.

1. Seated Chest Opener

This is very easy to do at intervals when you are working at your desk. Shuffle forward on your chair and reach your arms behind you to hold onto the back of your chair, press your upper chest forward and upwards while lengthening through the neck. Stay there for 5 – 10 deep breaths in and out of the nose, drawing the breath all into the bottom of the lungs on the inhale and expelling the air completely on the exhale. Once complete release and as you go back to your computer try to maintain the sensation of the shoulders staying back and down with the chest open as much as you can. The main benefit of this technique is maintaining a steady flow of oxygen to the brain and allowing you to feel alert and engaged for longer.  

2. Seated Forward Fold

With your feet planted evenly on the floor start to fold forward from the hips, working towards bringing your head towards your knees. If your flexibility doesn’t allow you to move into the pose as deeply as shown in the illustration, that’s absolutely fine… , go as deep as you can without causing any discomfort. If you do have the flexibility, you have the option of taking hold of the chair base with your hands to deepen the stretch. Hold and breathe deeply into the bottom of your lungs for 5 – 10 breaths, breath into abdomen even though it may feel somewhat restricted. This technique calms the brain and helps to reduce fatigue and anxiety, increasing your effectiveness by helping you to make good, clear decisions and reduce distractions caused by a racing mind.

3. Seated Arm Raises

Doctors say we should lift our arms above our heads more often, for a variety of reasons, including helping to prevent lower back pain. Many, many adults suffer from back pain, especially those who have mostly sedentary work lives. Therefore, this technique can help to reduce and prevent lower back pain, giving you more focus and increased comfort as you concentrate on the task at hand. Sit up straight in your chair with your feet planted firmly on the ground. As you inhale reach your arms out in front of you and up over your head, keeping them straight the whole way. As you exhale circle the arms back down by your sides. Continue for 5 – 10 rounds of breath, moving your arms up and down as you go.

“Yoga is 99% Practice & 1% theory.” 

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

The only way to make these techniques helpful in increasing your effectiveness at work is to do them regularly, there is no ‘one-and-done option’. Ideally every 30 to 60 mins chose one technique and rotate them throughout the day. We look forward to hearing how these techniques have supported you to be your most productive and high performing self at work.

Published Aug 6th 2019

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