5 Reasons Office Workers Should be Practicing Yoga
With the advent of modern technology, an increasing number of jobs require sitting at a computer for 8 or more hours per day. This might seem to make life easier, but the human body was designed for movement, and sitting continuously for long periods of time can lead to a profound decrease in flexibility and mobility.
After months behind a desk, you can find yourself experiencing joint pain, as well as general overall tightness that makes it harder to move and affects your posture. As a result many office workers commonly deal with neck and back pain, insomnia, and poor circulation.
A Gallup Poll found that a whopping 80% of workers feel stress on the job. Nearly half of those workers said they felt they needed help with stress management. A follow-up poll found that 35% of workers felt their jobs were harmful to their health, and 42% reported that job pressure was interfering with their personal relationships.
While yoga cannot completely eliminate stress, it is the perfect antidote to sitting at a desk all day, and provides tools for dealing with the associated pressures. Yoga can reduce stress and tension. It can improve your concentration and ability to focus. It also detoxifies the body and tones muscles. Yoga helps your posture and flexibility and can even shift the way you see the world!* Many companies have begun to embrace yoga, as more of its benefits become known. Encouraging their workers to practice yoga is a win-win for both the employees and the company.
Here are 5 ways yoga can help if you have a desk job:
- Yoga reduces stress and tension
One of the first studies on yoga and stress was published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation in 1997. Researchers found that 6 weeks of consistent yoga practice increased the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) and decreased the influence of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). After yoga practice the participants were not only feeling more relaxed, their nervous systems were in a state of physiological balance driven by the rest and digest function, which is the type of balanced state that predicts greater resilience to stress.
- Yoga improves concentration and focus
Researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit, USA discovered that a single yoga class significantly improved a person’s speed and accuracy when tested on their working memory and concentration. The enhanced self-awareness a yoga practice brings enables you to focus more effectively. Attention to breathing helps you clear out mental clutter, making you feel more centered and alert.
- Yoga detoxifies the body
There’s a common misconception that hot yoga is more detoxifying than other forms of the practice. But sweating is only one way to detox, and it’s not necessarily the most effective. Sweating will eliminate the toxins you’ve absorbed through your skin – about 1% of your body’s total toxins. The vast majority of toxins in your body come via the food you eat, and are absorbed into your liver through digestion. The stretching, twisting and compression that occurs in yoga poses helps to stimulate your circulation and lymph system and regulates your digestion. Some poses actually compress your liver, squeezing out toxins and forcing it to send them on to the body’s disposal system. Other poses stimulate your lymph system, where toxins are stored on their way to the liver. Twists help to stimulate circulation, keeping all of your organs vital, healthy and functioning properly. In addition, research has shown that regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating. As you become more in tune with your body and the impact your choices have, you naturally make healthier food selections.
- Yoga shifts your perception
Feeling positive has everything to do with the biochemical reactions in your body. Yoga triggers the release of oxytocin, which floods your body with feelings of happiness and well-being. More and more, doctors are recommending the mind-body connection achieved through yoga as one of best and most natural ways to elevate your mood and deal with stress. When we feel unified and connected, we access a spaciousness within, a well of joy that shifts the way we see and interact with the world.
- Yoga is for everyone
Yoga is for everyone. It can be adapted to benefit people of all ages, from the young and fit, to elders with arthritis, and everyone in between. If you travel for work, you can practice in your hotel room. You can do simple stretches right at your desk. There are classes available in most areas, and plenty of videos available to practice at home. All you need is a mat and some comfortable clothes.
The most positive outcomes come from consistent practice, and the benefits are cumulative. The more you practice, the better you feel! Click here to join me for an in-person class, or here to join via livestream.