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Yoga Hacks That Will Loosen You Up at Work

Yoga Hacks That Will Loosen You Up at Work

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    Does your neck freeze when you look up at the clock and see there are five or six hours left in your workday? Before you reach for a painkiller, there is something you should try. Yoga. Not your mother’s kind, where you stand on  your head, but a more gentle and mindful approach. You can ease muscle and mental tension with a few exercises that you can do while sitting in your chair or taking a five minute breather in the bathroom stall. The health benefits of yoga are well known, and it is a low-impact exercise. Here are some yoga hacks which nearly anyone can do whether at a desk, in your car, or at home.

    Warning: As with any exercise, do it only as far as you are comfortable, and be gentle with your body. Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen. Yoga is not meant to be exhausting or physically painful. These exercises can be repeated 3-5 times.

    Mandukasana

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    mpuech_Uttana_Shishosana

      Good for small spaces, and even something you might be able to attempt from your desk chair, Mandukasana involves sitting in a kneeling type pose and leaning forward. Start on the floor, with a good thick carpet, towel, pillow or yoga mat under your body to give it support. Bend your legs at the knees and tuck them underneath you so that you are sitting on your calves in a kneeling position. Left palm on belly button, right palm on left hand. Now press both hands on your abdomen. Exhale and bend yourself forward as if you are trying to touch the ground with your forehead, keeping hands on abdomen. Stay there for ten to fifteen seconds and then bring your upper body back up on an inhale.

      Modified Mandukasana: start sitting in your chair. Position your hands as in the usual Mandukasana. Be careful when bending forward to only go as far as is comfortable. If you are able, try folding your legs crossed or straight as though kneeling underneath you while sitting in your chair. Make sure your head does not hit your desk or other furniture. This position may not be possible for everyone, so just give it your best shot.

      Cat-Cow Modified Bend

      sport_Khagarnasana

        Begin sitting in your chair, both feet flat on the ground, even distance apart. Rest your palms on your knees. On an inhaled breath gently arch your back (like a cow’s arched back) and look up toward the ceiling. As you exhale, round your spine (like a cat’s rounded spine when startled) and let your head drop forward.

        Forward Bend

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          With both feet flat on the floor and even distance apart, sit in your chair, pushed away from your desk with enough room to lean all the way forward. Clasp your hands behind your back, over your head, fingers gently laced together. Now straighten your arms. Inhale and hold. Feel your torso gently bend at the waist as though it’s on a hinge, body bending forward and hands over your back. Exhale and rest your upper body on your thighs.

          Eagle Arms

          sport_garudasana

            Bend your arms with your fingers pointing at the ceiling. Try to make a 90 degree angle with your bent arms. Now bring your right arm over your left arm. Rest right elbow inside left inner elbow and let your palms gently touch. Gently lift your elbows, trying not to lift your shoulders. Reverse and repeat.

            Sectional Breathing

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              A basic tenet of yoga is the breath. The breath is the foundation of all other poses and the tempo at which those poses are formed. Sectional breathing focuses on regulating your breath and releasing muscle tension. Sit comfortably, head up and even with spine, back against your chair, feet flat on the floor and not crossed. Put your palms on your abdomen, fingers barely touching, heels of hands facing sides of body. Breathe into your hands, feeling your abdomen rise as your breath comes in. Exhale, feeling your abdomen deflate like a balloon. Take six even breaths.

              Now bring your hands up onto your ribcage with thumbs on the back ribs. Breathe into your ribs, as above. Repeat six times.

              Finally, bring your hands to the front of your shoulders, fingers touching your collarbones. Breathe into your collarbones and feel them rise and fall, filling your upper body and making your shoulders rise toward your head as your chest expands. Repeat six times.

              Half Lord of the Fishes (adapted), a.k.a., Seated Back Twist

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                Sit sideways in your chair, the back against one side. With both feet even distance apart and flat on the floor, begin to gently twist toward the back of your chair while holding the back with both hands. Turn the chair’s back to your other side and gently twist that way while holding on to the back.

                Chair Pidgeon

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                  Bring your left ankle up until it is resting on your right thigh, keeping your right knee lined up with the right ankle. Hold for five breaths. Switch sides and repeat. For a more intense stretch you can bend forward while holding this pose.

                  Remember to Breathe

                  You may find now that your shoulders, arms, legs and back are stretched you no longer feel quite as seat-bound and pained. These poses can help wake you up or energize you throughout the day, and will definitely improve your posture and breathing—both important in jobs with mental work and sitting involved.

                  Featured photo credit: yoga-dancer-sky-blue-rocks-241609/Public Domain via pixabay.com

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                  Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                  The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                  The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                  Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                  your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                    Why You Need a Vision

                    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                    How to Create Your Life Vision

                    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                    What Do You Want?

                    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                    Some tips to guide you:

                    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                    • Give yourself permission to dream.
                    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                    Some questions to start your exploration:

                    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                    • What qualities would you like to develop?
                    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                    • What would you most like to accomplish?
                    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                    A few prompts to get you started:

                    • What will you have accomplished already?
                    • How will you feel about yourself?
                    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                    • What does your ideal day look like?
                    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                    • What would you be doing?
                    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                    • How are you dressed?
                    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                    Plan Backwards

                    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                    • What important actions would you have had to take?
                    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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