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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 August 13, 2020

                  12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

                  12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

                  As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

                  1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

                  I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

                  Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

                  Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

                  2. What is the purpose of meditation?

                  The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

                  It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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                  Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

                  In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

                  You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

                  This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

                  The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

                  Less Physical, More Psychological

                  Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

                  This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

                  The First Benefit of Meditation

                  The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

                  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
                  2. Relaxation of the body

                  Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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                  Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

                  That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

                  When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

                  When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

                  Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

                  Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

                  This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

                  Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

                  Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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                  This benefit takes you to the second one.

                  The Second Benefit of Meditation

                  While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

                  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
                  2. Observance
                  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
                  4. Patience

                  Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

                  You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

                  This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

                  1. Energy

                  Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

                  2. Observance

                  The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

                  3. Peacefulness

                  Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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                  4. Patience

                  The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

                  The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

                  Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

                  Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

                  The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

                  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
                  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
                  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
                  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
                  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
                  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

                  These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

                  Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

                  Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

                  More on Meditation

                  Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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