Yoga For Work Stress: 3 Mindful Techniques to Try

Many people might spend more time on work-related activities than anything else in their lives. Unsurprisingly, a sizeable portion of that workforce suffers from significant stress associated with their job.

There are numerous stress reduction techniques that are ideal to try while at work. However, practicing yoga for work stress is one of the most effective methods for troubled employees to improve their well-being and promote good mental health.

Stress Response

Stress at work is common for most people

Job stress is the culmination of harmful physiological and emotional responses employees experience when facing job requirements that they do not feel equipped to handle.

Healthy challenges motivate workers, but excessive demands can be detrimental to your physical and psychological health.

Your body’s stress response begins with fight or flight hormones released by your brain when confronted with difficult situations. This response helps you react quickly in emergencies, but prolonged stress states can create several troublesome symptoms.

Adverse effects of stress include headaches, fatigue, insomnia, high blood pressure, and depression. Taking action to reduce stress levels at work is critical for personal health and business productivity.

Benefits of Yoga When Dealing with Stress at Work

Yoga practice involves stretching the body and controlling your breath to build mindfulness. Potential yogis can participate in a variety of yoga classes that teach different styles. All participants enjoy a feeling of energized relaxation from yoga that can provide numerous health benefits.

Yoga reduces anxiety and depression caused by prolonged stress using the same self-soothing techniques as meditation and exercise. The incorporation of breathing techniques improves mental health by creating mental clarity.

Decreased perceived anxiety reduces physiological arousal. As a result, consistent yoga practice can help ease the stress response. Practicing yoga can relax respiration, lower blood pressure, and slow your heart rate.

Research reveals that people who practice yoga techniques regularly can feel a significant decrease in stress, anxiety, and insomnia related to work in as little as eight weeks.

The physical aspects of yoga provide benefits similar to other types of exercise. These include increased flexibility, muscle tone, and cardiovascular health. A healthy body helps cultivate a healthy mind.

By presenting an opportunity to connect mind and body, yoga enables us to focus solely on the present moment.

Although regular practice will transform your overall experience, you can even practice certain poses and exercises when you need to reconnect at work.

Three Yoga Breathing Exercises To Do at Work

When you start to feel overwhelmed at work, taking a few moments to focus on your breath can help calm your nervous system and reduce stress.

Yoga breathwork is called pranayama, which means controlling your breath and energy.

Stress causes your breath to become shallow and rapid, so techniques that slow down your breath to quiet your mind are best.

Here are some excellent yoga breathing exercises to try at work.

1. Mindful Breathing

This inconspicuous technique draws your awareness to your natural breath.

Sit with your back straight in a comfortable seat, relaxing your body and breathing naturally. Feel the flow of air as your breath in and out of your nose.

Then, proceed to follow that flow of air down your throat, to your lungs, and notice the expansion and contraction of your chest as you breathe. 

This simple technique will help you reconnect with yourself in the present moment.

2. Abdominal Breathing

This technique helps correct poor breathing habits and regain control of your breath while increasing oxygen intake. It can help calm an anxious mind and deepen natural breathing over time.

Inhale deeply and slowly in a comfortable posture, fully engaging your abdomen. You should breathe slowly and quietly. Focus on feeling the air reach the bottom of your lungs before you start to expand your chest.

Inhale fully and rhythmically for five deep breaths to recenter.

3. Moon Breath

Pranayama – Alternate nostril breathing, often performed for stress and anxiety relief

This pranayama helps channel calming energies to the body and mind by breathing from the left to right nostril. This technique is useful for stress, but you should not continue if you feel any discomfort.

To begin, sit with your spine upright, and your eyes closed. Use your right thumb to close your right nostril before inhaling with your left. Then, close your left nostril with your finger and exhale through your right.

Start with five rounds of breath and gradually work up to more.

Three Essential Yoga Poses For Work

You don’t need a yoga studio to practice yoga.  There are several poses that you can practice in your office. Yoga at work is a great way to reduce stress, improve energy levels, and relieve pain.

Before starting these poses, use breathing exercises to establish mindfulness.

1. Seated Twist

A simple seated twist is one of the best ways to practice yoga at your desk.

Sit up straight in your chair before inhaling as you lift your arms over your head. Then, exhale as you twist to the right, placing both hands on your armrest. Inhale deeply and lengthen your spine as you hold the pose for up to a minute, then switch sides.

2. Shoulder Rolls

Improper position in front of a computer can create tension in your back. Prevent shoulder pain with a few simple rolls to regain your range of motion.

Draw your shoulders to your ears as you inhale before drawing them back down. Sink your shoulders further down and forward on your exhale before repeating and reversing directions as needed.

3. Wide-Legged Forward Fold

Wide legged forward fold bend yoga pose

Stand beside your desk with your knees slightly further apart and your hands on your hips. Slowly fold forward from your hips as you exhale while keeping your spine straight. You can modify this pose by bending your knees.

Hold this pose before rounding your spine to rest your hands on the floor if you can. After you’ve released your back, use your core to stand up straight again.

Final Word on Yoga for Work Stress

Even jobs we love can be harmful sources of stress in our lives.

However, just taking a moment to recenter ourselves by connecting with our breath through yoga can help us regain control of our bodies’ stress response.

You may not be enthusiastic about doing a downward dog in the middle of the office, but you can find ways to practice at your desk.

Just don’t forget to breathe the next time your boss drives you crazy.