Since the day I started working at my current job back in August I noticed something pretty incredible: what makes each individual employee unique is not only embraced here, but it is what makes this such a special place to work. I think that sometimes, what makes me unique or different is my OBSESSION with exercise, and obsession is definitely the right word. Most people that live and/or work in NYC workout, or at least have a gym membership but the people who spend the amount of time that I do are a much more concentrated group. Sometimes I find that exercise is literally the only thing I want to talk about. Not only have the people I work with embraced this “quirk” but many of them have gotten on board. Since I started here, three people have signed up to do the half marathon with me, and one of my managers organized a team Flywheel ride.
Just when I thought that my coworkers couldn’t be any more on board with my love of working out, I found out my department has not one but TWO certified yoga instructors working in it. I am thrilled to say that they are going to be bringing yoga to our office. I spent some time talking with each of them about the benefits of yoga at work, and gathered a lot of great information and thoughts that I am so excited to share with you today.
While I am not someone who typically incorporates yoga into my regular workout routine, I am always willing to try a new form of exercise. Having access to a yoga class in the middle of the work day also made it seem all the more tempting. Jules and Cristina came up with the idea to bring yoga to our office after some particularly stressful weeks recently. After speaking with both of these amazing ladies, one thing became very clear, the strongest benefit of yoga at work is mental well being.
No matter what our jobs are, we all stress, we all sit for extended periods of time every day, and we all need a way to relieve the emotions that come with have to deal with it all. Jules talked a lot about breathing, including the fact that it is a simple way to apply yoga techniques in the office. She says…
“A main focus in yoga is on our breath. On the inhale and the exhale. Taking deep inhales that fill and expand the lungs and diaphragm and slow and steady exhales to release the breath, can dictate each yoga move while calming the mind. Inhale to stretch, exhale to hold and remain in a pose. Here we find growth physically, and a fresh supply of oxygen to the brain that can re-vitalize, focus, and calm the mind.”
This definitely made me begin to think about how I handle stress at work. I tend to take a different approach, either venting my frustrations, or spending the whole day looking forward to a long run. While both of these things absolutely help, talking with Jules and Cristina made me feel like there is a more direct and immediate approach to relieving office stress. Along with the breathing techniques that Jules suggested, Cristina offered some suggestions for some yoga I can do in my seat at my desk (which is great because I may not always be lucky enough to be working with two yoga instructors!). The two stretches that I feel I can and should use the most are a neck stretch and wrist rolls. Some days come and go and I realize I have hardly gotten up from my desk, hopefully these will make me feel less stiff.
“Neck Stretch: Stand or sit with good posture. Feel the spine lengthen. Gaze is forward and neck is long. Inhale bring your right ear towards your shoulder. Exhale return to center. Continue on the right side only for 10 breaths. Return to center and switch sides to the left for 10 breaths. Inhale left ear towards left shoulder. Exhale return to center.
Wrist Rolls: Bring the tops of hands together and roll your wrists towards you with the tops of palms pressing. Breathe into where you feel tension and relax. Reverse directions. This can help relieve any tension built in your wrists from typing on a computer daily.”
I have to admit, that currently, I am one of those people who just doesn’t get it when it comes to yoga. But maybe, the reason I don’t get it is because I’ve never tried it. When I think about working out my thoughts go to numbers of all kind. Pounds, Calorie burn, mileage, torque, etc. Removing those numbers in order to try something like yoga borders on terrifying for me- I guess thats all the more reason to try it though right…
Although I do not typically consider myself the “yoga type” I am going to take these small first steps to adding yoga to my workout routine. Maybe I’ll find that I want to regularly take both Jules and Cristina’s classes. After-all, there was a point in time when I didn’t consider myself the running type either. I’m looking forward to seeing how yoga will affect all of my other workouts, and my life as a whole. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on all of the missteps I’m sure I will have as I try to pick up this completely out of my comfort zone workout.
If you live in the NYC and want to find out more about taking one of Jules or Cristina’s classes, check out Yoga To the People (for Jules) or Cristina’s personal website below: