Staying centered is all the more important in difficult times. As many of us transition to working from home, we have to find new ways to maintain a sense of stability, stay healthy, and put our minds at ease. Fortunately, yoga can help us ticks all of those boxes.
Here are 4 ways yoga can help keep you grounded and focused:
1. Yoga can help keep you active.
Exercise boosts the immune system and can make you a bit more confident about your health. The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity workouts and at least two muscle strengthening sessions per week.
The right style of yoga can very much help you maintain your health and wellness from the comfort of your home. Try something flowy like Vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga at least twice a week to get the heart rate going. You can also work on specific asanas, like balancing poses or inversions, to tone your muscles.
2. Yoga can help relieve stress.
Yoga is a highly meditative practice and is one of the most effective stress relief tools. Other than giving you the feel good hormones from moving on your mat, working on your breath can induce feelings of calm and counter the effects of stress. You don’t even need to unroll your mat to utilize this technique!
To start, Pain Free Working suggests trying the deep breathing technique. Adjust your work chair so that it fully supports your back. Then, place your left hand on your chest and the right on your belly. Close your eyes and take long and deep inhalations and exhalations through your nose. Focus on your breath and how it moves your body under your palms. Do this for at least five counts and see how it makes you feel more peaceful almost immediately. Deep breathing and other breathing exercises counter the fight-or-flight response of the nervous system, which can make you feel more relaxed and clear-headed even under pressure.
3. Yoga can improve cognitive skills.
Boosting cognitive function is another way yoga can help your brain. According to the journal Brain Plasticity, Hatha yoga can increase the size of specific regions in the brain. These help with clarity of thought, decision-making, memory, and regulating emotions. Getting that cognitive boost can help you stay more focused at work. More importantly, you gain better control of your emotions, so they don’t negatively affect the other aspects of your life, and not just work.
Aside from Hatha yoga, you can use mindfulness and meditation to get these brain-boosting benefits, too. Set up a meditation area in your home using our ‘Create Your Own H(om)e Meditation Altar: A Sacred Space’ guide. Having a specific area or time of the day to center your mind can help you cope more effectively during these unprecedented times.
4. Yoga can reduce aches and pains.
People who work from home don’t often have big office amenities like ergonomic furniture. But spending a lot of desk-bound hours without the proper tools can lead to a variety of bodily aches and pains that take away from your productivity.
The good news is that yoga is the perfect way to undo those knots. With back pain, which is commonly experienced with a sedentary job, there are a couple of poses that can help. Child’s Pose is a classic resting pose and relieves pressure in the lower back. Other poses you can try are Downward-Facing Dog, Cat-Cow, Sphinx, Bridge, and Supine Twist.
All in all, yoga can help anyone, not just expert yogis, stay grounded and focused. Yoga may not be the answer to the pandemic, but it can help you cope with the mental and emotional effects it may bring.