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25 Healthy Snacks for Work: Decrease Hunger and Increase Productivity

25 Healthy Snacks for Work: Decrease Hunger and Increase Productivity

Snacks are awesome. They bridge the gaps between our meals, provide us a little mental reset, and can oftentimes lead to a healthier weight.

How does this magic work exactly? Well, let me tell you:

Incorporating snacks into your mid-morning and mid-afternoon can balance out your blood sugar, preventing those dreaded spikes and crashes. A proper snack can also lead to sustained energy by providing you with energy all day long.

Remember, food is fuel. So without adding gas to your tank, you will quickly run out leading to decreased productivity and a crabby mood.

What about the healthy weight you may ask? When you provide your body with proper fuel throughout the day, you don’t meet meal time with starvation. You have more control when you dinner plate lands on the table, leading to decreased portions and less chance of over-eating. In fact, oftentimes I recommend snacks to most of my nutrition clientele.

The perfect snack follows a simple formula: Protein + Produce. This will give you carbs for a quick energy bump combined with fiber and protein for sustaining that energy. This snack duo also lends itself to be quite portable. A no fuss approach to feeling better throughout the day is always welcome.

Here are some healthy snacks for work to sustain your energy, keep your focus locked in, and promote that healthy weight:

1. Cucumber Sandwiches

    Cucumber sandwiches follow that perfect snack combo of protein + produce. The light and refreshing cucumber “buns” are a great delivery system for the protein-rich turkey slices.

    Cucumbers are also a great source of hydration as they are made up of mostly water! And, yes, you can eat your water.

    ~ Get the recipe here!

    2. Tuna Salad Cucumbers

      Cucumbers again?! Yup, these little fruits (not even a veg) are so easy and friendly for all snackers.

      Creating open-faced tuna salad sandwiches is a great way to have snack that will keep you going until your next meal. The tuna provides you with healthy fats that pairs nicely with the crunch of the fibrous cucumber.

      ~ Get the recipe here!

      3. The Classic: Trail Mix

        This classic combination is a tried and true method of snacking for a reason. It’s super easy, fun to mix up, and provides a nutritious punch.

        Check out this list of some great trail mix variations and ideas! Be sure to go for low-sodium nuts and no sugar added dried fruits to keep unwanted empty calories at bay.

        ~ Get the recipe here!

        4. Apple Cookies

          You can call these dessert nachos or apple cookies. But either way they make one heck of a snack!

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          Easy to pack and prepare, these apple cookies are loaded with delicious fuel for your mid-morning pick-me-up. And as a bonus, these are very simple to customize to whatever flavor combinations you fancy!

          ~ Get the recipe here!

          5. Banana Hemp Seed Sushi

            Hemp seeds are great! In case you don’t know why, hemp seeds are loaded with vitamin E, iron, and healthy fats.

            Pair these little powerhouse seeds with the power of peanut butter and a nutrient dense banana, you have the perfect combination for a snack! Thinking back on perfect snack formula of protein + produce, this snack follows that to a T!

            ~ Get the recipe here!

            6. Almond Butter and Banana Open Sandwich

              Another classic as it should be; but with a twist. In order to save time and shave off a few extra calories, use your banana as your delivery system. Top it with extra goodies and eat with a fork and knife or dive in to make it finger food!

              This recipe is great to have all the ingredients for in your desk drawer!

              ~ Get the recipe here!

              7. Baba Ganoush

                Baba Ganoush is like hummus’s forgotten cousin. It’s delicious and in my book, doesn’t get enough recognition! This eggplant based dip is a great source of fiber, copper, and vitamin B. You can use carrot sticks or seeded crackers to much this perfect snack down!

                ~ Get the recipe here!

                8. Blueberry Pudding

                  Chia seeds are little protein packets. And when soaked, they make a delicious pudding.

                  Bump up that pudding with fresh fruit and you have the perfect sweet treat to keep you going until lunch-time!

                  ~ Get the recipe here!

                  9. Cowboy Caviar

                    Cowboy caviar is a typical Sunday football food, however, have you ever thought of making a little extra for the week’s snacks? With all the beans and veggies, it is loaded with sustaining energy.

                    Pack this in a small to-go container with your favorite chips and you are all set from lunch to dinner!

                    ~ Get the recipe here!

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                    10. Greek Yogurt & Crushed Almond Banana Popsicles

                      Greek yogurt and crushed almond banana popsicles are the perfect snack swap for when you are feeling something sweet. Much better for you than the vending machine but they are just as indulgent!

                      In this snack recipe, the Greek yogurt and almonds provide the protein that covers the banana (aka produce of course).

                      ~ Get the recipe here!

                      11. Roasted Garlic Kale Hummus

                        Hummus alone should be on everyones list of superfoods! And this one is blended with kale for an extra nutrition bump. The roasted garlic provides a great flavor without making it too spicy.

                        I highly recommend this hummus with your favorite whole grain crackers or cut veggies!

                        ~ Get the recipe here!

                        12. Avocado Deviled Eggs

                          Deviled eggs always feel so fancy to eat. Now add whipped avocado into the mixture and they are indulgent! Another great example of creating a snack that follows the winning formula of protein + produce.

                          As a bonus, the avocados provide a hearty dense of good for you fats and flavor!

                          ~ Get the recipe here!

                          13. Peach Caprese Skewers

                            This snack couldn’t be simpler to make and take! You can keep them in skewer form or throw all the ingredients into your Tupperware container to eat as a salad.

                            Be sure to slice a ripe peach as the sweetness of the peach pairs wonderfully with the creamy mozzarella, fresh basil, and the acidity of the tomatoes!

                            ~ Get the recipe here!

                            14. Hard Boiled Egg and Avocado Bowl

                              Eggs are an excellent source of protein, packing 6 grams in each large one. This seasoned snack bowl is great for an afternoon break or morning nosh. Plus the red bell peppers not only add flavor but also a great dose of vitamin A, C, and B!

                              ~ Get the recipe here!

                              15. Protein Packed Oatmeal Cups

                                You can probably go ahead and call these muffins, but they are healthy muffins!

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                                Using your favorite protein powder, these protein packed oatmeal cups are fully customizable to your liking. You can add fruit (yes, please!), nuts, spices, and a bit of sweetener.

                                The oatmeal base gives you a nice dosing of fiber that will help these muffins last you until you get to sit down for your next meals.

                                ~ Get the recipe here!

                                16. Salmon Avocado Toast

                                  One man’s Sunday brunch order is another’s power snack. To keep from getting too out of control with the calories, opt for a thin slice of toast and 1/4 of an avocado. Top it with high-quality smoked salmon to bask in the Omega 3 healthy fats!

                                  ~ Get the recipe here!

                                  17. Kale Berry and Acai Power Smoothie

                                    Smoothies are a wonderful invention. No time to eat? No worries, drink your snack!

                                    This kale berry and acai power smoothie is chockfull of nutrients, fiber, and protein creating a winning combination!

                                    ~ Get the recipe here!

                                    18. Vegetable Quinoa Chickpea Salad

                                      This is a great snack that can be made in bulk for the whole week. With the chickpeas and quinoa paired with the cucumber and other veggies, this is a light salad that does a wonderful job of bridging the gap between meals.

                                      ~ Get the recipe here!

                                      19. Apple Chai Energy Balls

                                        These are so perfect for those cozy days when you are stuck inside working. These apple chai energy balls are packed with fiber, antioxidants and protein.

                                        Be sure to use old-fashioned oats for more nutrient dense energy balls.

                                        ~ Get the recipe here!

                                        20. Peanut Butter Smoothie

                                          Everyone loves peanut butter. This peanut butter smoothie is the perfect combination to make it a great snack! Pour yourself a small glass and sip away the hanger!

                                          ~ Get the recipe here!

                                          21. Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies

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                                            Is this permission to eat brownies for a healthy snack? When they are made of black beans it is!

                                            The best part about these brownies is that you can’t tell they are healthy at all. The beans provide the protein that compliments the antioxidants of the chocolate and nuts.

                                            ~ Get the recipe here!

                                            22. Chipotle Lime Edamame

                                              Edamame are whole soy pods that are excellent covered in any flavor combination you can think of! You can make these little guys right at the office with a bag of frozen edamame heated in the company microwave and then topped with all the ingredients.

                                              Simple, easy, and beats that weird buttery popcorn smell that floats down the hallway on Friday afternoons.

                                              ~ Get the recipe here!

                                              23. Cheesy Spinach Quinoa Cups

                                                These are great for on the go and freeze really well! That means you can make them in batches to last you weeks at a time!

                                                The spinach and cheese creates an indulgent snack that won’t cost you tons of calories and hold you over to make it to that 4 o’clock meeting.

                                                ~ Get the recipe here!

                                                24. No Bake Sweet and Salty Granola Bars

                                                  These bars are loaded with good-for-you nuts and seeds. Keeping these in your desk drawer will help curb those hunger pains and afternoon 3 pm slump we all know so well.

                                                  ~ Get the recipe here!

                                                  25. Fancy Rice Cakes

                                                    Rice cakes can be bland on their own, but when you top them like this they are anything but!

                                                    These rice cakes are transformed into delicious snacks that will have you rushing to the break room!

                                                    ~ Get the recipe here!

                                                    Final thoughts

                                                    Snacks are an essential part of balanced eating! It is so important to keep our bodies fueled with good ingredients to keep them working as proficiently as we need them to.

                                                    Adding snacks to your day will help you meet deadlines, improve productivity, and not fall asleep on your keyboard each afternoon.

                                                    Featured photo credit: Roman Rodriguez via unsplash.com

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                                                    Julia Whelan

                                                    Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist

                                                    13 Brain Healthy Foods That Keep Your Brain Sharp Naturally 25 Healthy Snacks for Work: Decrease Hunger and Increase Productivity 17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals How to Drink More Water Easily When It Seems Like a Major Chore

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                                                    Published on October 3, 2019

                                                    7 Beginner Yoga Exercises for Men to Increase Mobility

                                                    7 Beginner Yoga Exercises for Men to Increase Mobility

                                                    Isn’t amazing how the culture of the (physical Yoga) Hatha Yoga evolved mostly among women? Are we men ashamed to practice this body-mind-spirit wisdom because it became a women’s thing, or discriminative of the idea that we men are tough enough and don’t need this kind of “activity”?

                                                    We know that the practice of Hatha Yoga was brought to our western culture in the 20th century by masculine Yoga masters, and that mostly men are the creators of the original Yoga Sutra of Patanjali approx. 200 B.C.E – 200 C.E., known also as Raja Yoga or King’s Yoga – the basis of all other Yoga forms practiced around the world.[1]

                                                    Keep in mind that Yoga goes much deeper than the physical posture and breathing, yet they are the start and the basis for the inward journey of self-inquiry and self-discovery. The deeper you immerse in the practice, the more you’ll happen to find out about it. An Asana – aasana[2] or Yoga posture is practiced with a purpose to mobilize the body and mind for achieving mental skills. This tells us that Yoga indeed is great for men.

                                                    Not long ago, when I invited a friend of mine to a Yoga Asana session I was teaching, he looked at me discouraged with a shy smile on his face, saying “Really, Yoga for men? I don’t know about that. Me, with this belly, tense as I am, it would be an embarrassment to show myself in front of the other more flexible people, let alone perform postures.” I smiled back, and with encouraging voice told him “You always talk about getting in shape! Just come over please and see how simple yoga exercises can change the way you feel about yourself!”

                                                    With the 7 exercises that follow, in just an hour, we succeeded to remove his misconceptions he had about yoga for men, and changed his attitude positively. Although he was never fond of practicing in groups, he got hooked up – he liked all the beginner postures and started practicing at home regularly and diligently.

                                                    The most important and ideal Yoga posture are: “sthirasukhamaasanam” – steady and comfortable posture. Sthira meaning steady, stable and strong and sukham meaning comfortable, easy and peaceful, and aasana meaning body posture or pose.

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                                                    This is the entire instruction from the whole Yoga Sutra (YS, 2.46-2.48) on how a Yoga posture ought to be performed. As long as you apply the elements of stability and comfort to your body posture and align it with your breath (YS, 2.47), you perform the aasana correctly.

                                                    Every man who wants to gain control over his physical and mental well-being and achieve a healthier lifestyle has the reason to get into Yoga. And here is the deal, in the next seven Yoga exercises you’ll see how to get into Yoga safely and successfully. Get ready and get healthier now!

                                                    1. Tadaasana – The Mountain Pose (Variation A – Ideal Alignment)

                                                      1. Stand up on your feet (see type A), preferably bare feet so you can connect to the ground. Breathe deeply and slowly.
                                                      2. Feet aligned with the hips.
                                                      3. Kneecaps and thigh muscles slightly contracted.
                                                      4. Pelvis leveled horizontally.
                                                      5. Chest open.
                                                      6. Shoulder blades relaxed.
                                                      7. Connect the tip of the thumb with the tip of the index finger – energy re-circulation.
                                                      8. Face muscles relaxed (eyes slightly closed, mouth slightly open).
                                                      9. Breathe gently in this position.
                                                      10. On inhalation, your head is pulling (cranially) upwards, lengthening the spine.
                                                      11. Create a virtual thread inside your body from the heels up to the crown – tip of your head.
                                                      12. Breathe gently, make sure your whole body is aligned as instructed.
                                                      13. Connect to the thread and notice its movement.
                                                      14. Stay in this position for 12 breaths – 4 sec. inhale and 6 sec. exhale – approx. 2 minutes according to the deep breathing exercise no. 1 in my previous post.

                                                      When practicing physical Yoga, we are counting breaths instead measuring time. Aligning the breath with the body posture is an element for the connection with your inner clock – a closer look on what’s going on inside you – inner awareness. The goal of the Mountain Pose is:

                                                      • Stabilizing the nervous system through breathing.
                                                      • Building energy and releasing tension.
                                                      • Stabilizing the movement of the thread (inner stability) through the help of breathing.
                                                      • Developing inner awareness.
                                                      • Awareness of inner movement of body’s stability (the strength) and comfort (the easiness and lightness).
                                                      • Creating a rhythmical breathing.
                                                      • Improving focus, concentration and observation.

                                                      2. Virabhadraasana – The Warrior Pose (Variation)

                                                        1. From Mountain pose exhale gently make a step forward (approx. 3 feet) with your right foot (see picture above) and slowly bend you right knee so your pelvis sinks (only as far as it is comfortable) towards the floor. Tip: Place left knee on the mat or a pillow if your muscles can’t support this posture.
                                                        2. Make sure your body weight is balanced 50/50 on both legs.
                                                        3. Inhale gently, reach fingertips towards the sky – push palms together, chest is open, shoulder blades relaxed – go down.
                                                        4. Breathe consciously, deeply and rhythmically (abdomens relaxed). Be aware of the expansion of your groin area as you inhale.
                                                        5. Focus your gaze on one point and remain in this position for five slow, deep breaths (or for as many as it feels right for you).
                                                        6. Concentrate completely on the contractions of your thigh muscles and the pressure on your hip joints. Balance your weight 50/50 on both feet.
                                                        7. Build energy with each inhalation!
                                                        8. Release tension with each exhalation!
                                                        9. Don’t let the muscle contraction intensify too much and disturb your breathing rhythm. Float the pelvis up and down to balance the intensity of the muscle contraction.
                                                        10. Do the same with your arms. The moment you feel that the muscle contraction of your shoulders disturb you breathing, spread and lower the arms.
                                                        11. Exhaling, make a step back, lower your arms and come back to Mountain pose.
                                                        12. Have a break with one long, deep breath.
                                                        13. Repeat the same (step 1 to 11) with the left foot.

                                                        Make three rounds (3 x right foot, 3x left foot). The goal of the Warrior Pose is:

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                                                        • Building energy and releasing tension.
                                                        • Stretching and strengthening thigh and gluteus muscles.
                                                        • Stretching hips (groin muscles) and mobilizing hip joints.
                                                        • Strengthening back muscles.

                                                        3. Trikonaasana – The Triangle Pose (Variation)

                                                          1. From Mountain pose, spread your feet approx. 2-3 feet laterally. Left foot 0°, right foot 90° to the right (adjust the degree of your feet as you see fit. Tip: For better alignment and results do this pose against a wall and adjust your posture with the hands).
                                                          2. Inhale gently, spread your arms at the height of your shoulders (palms facing forward).
                                                          3. Further slow, deep inhalation lengthens the spine upwards.
                                                          4. Slowly exhale and from the lowest vertebra begin to bend to the right (vertebra for vertebra, from the lowest upwards). The left hip goes lightly to the outside. Slowly! When bending you must feel firm and comfortable. Your right palm lays on your right kneecap (or lower, if you are more flexible). Your left hand stretches up vertically following the bending of your spine.
                                                          5. Focus your gaze on one point and remain in this position for five slow, deep breaths (or for as many as it feels right for you). Feel the flexibility of your spine and any tensions in the back, legs or pelvic area.
                                                          6. With each inhalation build up energy and with each exhalation release tension. Slowly adjust your pelvis, torso, neck, etc. if necessary during your rhythmical breathing.
                                                          7. With an exhalation, slowly, come back into position no. 3.
                                                          8. Have a break with one long, deep breath.
                                                          9. Repeat the same (step 1 to 8) going to the left.

                                                          Make three rounds (left and right). The goal of the Triangle Pose is:

                                                          • Building energy and releasing tension.
                                                          • Mobilization of spine, pelvis area and groin muscles.
                                                          • Mobilization of lower back (lumbar spine) and shoulders.
                                                          • Strengthening superficial and core back muscles.

                                                          4. Malasana – The Squat Pose

                                                            1. From Triangle pose come into Mountain pose and for a five deep gentle breaths, rotate the pelvis (in both sides) to align your muscles, tendons and ligaments.
                                                            2. Spread your feet approx. 2-3 feet laterally, open both feet approx. 45° outwards.
                                                            3. Inhale gently extending the whole body upwards, palms together pushed to the chest.
                                                            4. Exhale gently, go into squat lowering your pelvis – keep your back straight as you go down. Your upper body leans slightly forward and your elbows touch the inner side of your knees. Tip: Lower slowly only as much as you feel comfortable. If you have to inhale on your way down, just do it only to be able to exhale lowering further. The goal is to squat so your buttocks touch your heels, but you go only as much as your posture feels steady and comfortable.
                                                            5. Find your optimal position and stay there for five gentle breaths (or for as many as it feels right for you). Chest remains open at all times, push your elbows gently against your knees so you stretch the groin muscles.
                                                            6. Do gentle moves in this posture so you align your hips, thigh muscles and lower back optimally.
                                                            7. Use your thigh muscles to come up to Mountain Pose, but only after you have exhaled 50% of your air volume (don’t stand up while your lungs are under pressure full of air).

                                                            Repeat this five times (adjust repetition as you see fit, if you feel comfortable and energetic do more than five, if not, do less). The goal of the Squat Pose is:

                                                            • Building energy and releasing tension.
                                                            • More flexibility in groin muscles.
                                                            • Stretching and strengthening lower back muscles.
                                                            • Mobilization of hip joints.
                                                            • Strengthening thigh muscles and knees.

                                                            5. Bhujangasana – The Cobra Pose (Variation)

                                                              1. From Mountain Pose exhale gently and lower down to Squat Pose, place your palms and knees on the floor and gently stretch your body onto the floor. Your forehead touches the floor, your palms are placed right next to your chest – below your shoulders.
                                                              2. Relax your whole body, have a gentle deep breath, feel the connection of your whole body with the floor. Put a light pressure on your palms, as preparing for a push-up.
                                                              3. Inhaling gently, slowly lift up your head and neck and feel the pressure 50/50 on your hands and pelvis area.
                                                              4. Using the strength of your arms come up vertebra for vertebra beginning from the lowest one. The upper back, neck and head are straight, chin muscles relaxed, mouth slightly open. As you’re half way through, inhale further to open up the chest maximally and erect your upper body (only as much as possible). Remember, the posture must be firm and comfortable.
                                                              5. Exhale through your mouth and let the weight of your upper body hang on your shoulders. There should be light pressure on the lower back. Adjust the position of your hands on the floor so your shoulders support the weight of your upper body optimally.
                                                              6. Take five slow deep breaths in this position and feel the pressure (or relieve) on different parts of your body.
                                                              7. Experiment – adjust the position of your torso moving it, especially paying attention to your lower back.

                                                              Repeat five times. The goal of the Cobra Pose is:

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                                                              • Building energy and releasing tension.
                                                              • Mobilizing each spine vertebra.
                                                              • Strengthening arm, shoulder and back muscles.
                                                              • Stretching groin muscles.

                                                              6. Chaturanga Dandaasana – The Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Variation)

                                                                1. From the cobra pose – body and forehead on the floor, inhale deeply – put your palms close to the chest, put your toes on the floor, preparing for push-up.
                                                                2. Exhale, lift up your head, tighten your abdomen muscles, use the strength of your arms and lift up your body just a few inches.
                                                                3. You are in four-limbed staff pose, take five gentle, deep breaths (adjust body height accordingly, if necessary put your knees on the floor as support).
                                                                4. Exhale, come back to the floor – relax the whole body placing the forehead on the floor.

                                                                Repeat this exercise three times. The goal of the four-limbed staff pose is:

                                                                • Building energy and releasing tension.
                                                                • Stabilizing all muscles involved.
                                                                • Strengthening back muscles, anterior shoulder muscles, chest and arm muscles.
                                                                • Strengthening thigh and gluteus muscles.

                                                                7. Phalakaasana – The Plank Pose (Variation)

                                                                  1. From your relaxed position on the floor, inhale deeply, place your palms close to the chest, lift up your head, put your toes on the floor, preparing for push-up.
                                                                  2. Exhale through your teeth, tighten your abdomen muscles, use the strength of your arms, and push-up your body to come into a plank pose.
                                                                  3. Adjust your palms or feet to find the ideal position and stay in for five slow deep breaths. Tip: To mobilize (strengthen and flex) your body, do variations of this exercise by slowly lowering the pelvis (when exhaling) – the knees touch the floor and balance the pressure between the arms and knees.
                                                                  4. Exhale, come down to the floor and relax your body. Inhale – feel the energy coming in, exhale – feel the tension leaving your body.

                                                                  Repeat this exercise three times. The goal of the plank pose is:

                                                                  • Building energy and releasing tension.
                                                                  • Strengthening chest, arm, and shoulder muscles.
                                                                  • Strengthening overall back muscles and lumbar spine area.
                                                                  • Strengthening thigh and cough muscles.
                                                                  • Building endurance and flexibility.

                                                                  Your Yoga Session is finished. Spend a moment lying on the floor breathing gently and deeply, and store all the movements and experiences you have undergone in this practice. Now having more strength and vitality, take this experience and apply it constructively in your daily life. Know that you will come a step further in your next practice and experience a new insight.

                                                                  Final Thoughts

                                                                  The practice of these Yoga exercises should take some 45-50 minutes, however you can change the repetitions and number of breaths according to your physical and mental fitness.

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                                                                  Looking at all these simple yet highly beneficial postures, we can conclude that apart from the physiological benefits as mobilizing and strengthening the body, more important benefits out of these exercises are:

                                                                  • The development of mental skills such as focus, motivation, observation, confidence, concentration by turning inwards through the focus on gentle breathing.
                                                                  • The regaining of vitality and building of stamina and resilience through the repetition of movement.
                                                                  • The reduction of stress and neuroticism [3] as a result of the above two.

                                                                  The benefits mentioned above are perceptible when a balanced flow between breath and body movement is created.

                                                                  Yoga can take you to a new beginning for a prosperous change that sets new goals with great motive for improvement. Let these 7 Yoga Exercises be your goal.

                                                                  Make a routine (in your own rhythm – harmonically) by practicing these exercises every single day. You will see positive physical and mental changes in a matter of weeks.

                                                                  And if you choose to be a part of a yoga class don’t worry about how you look, and what you’re going to wear as long as your clothes are comfortable. Stay focused on what you want to achieve on a physical, mental and spiritual level.

                                                                  Keep in mind that everything you need for that new change in your life is sitting right here within you. Start to practice and the process of achievement will unfold! I salute the spirit in you!

                                                                  More About Yoga

                                                                  Featured photo credit: Artem Beliaikin via unsplash.com

                                                                  Reference

                                                                  [1] Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
                                                                  [2] Wikipedia: Asana
                                                                  [3] NCBI: Neuroticism

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