• Barbara Newman

Yoga Breathing at Your Desk

The desire to practice yoga and the actual practice of yoga can be at opposite ends of the continuum. Lack of time and choices may prevent showing up to class. However, tension still accumulates in muscles and causes discomfort. After sitting for a while, you may not even realize how stiff the lower back, neck, hips or shoulders are until you stand.

Bringing yoga into your life in small ways can ease the stress of a hectic day. Remembering to breathe concentrated inhalations and exhalations helps the body instantly relax, calms the mind, and problems appear more manageable. Putting a breath and movement routine into the day for just a few minutes at a time can bring joy into your life. This feeling of inner peace may be unfamiliar, but over time has many benefits. The trick is remembering to implement the short practice so you calm your mind and body.

You can try all or some of the breath techniques described below. Remember every day is different and your body is different every day. Your body will thank you for the benefits from this breathing practice.

Breathing Techniques to Calm or Energize

Centering: Sit up tall in your chair with your ears over your shoulders (shrug your shoulders to the ears and then relax them down the back), shoulders over your hips, feet flat on the floor, and legs at a 90 degree angle. Close your eyes if possible. Breathe in and out through your nose.

1. Place one hand on your belly and another hand on your chest. Inhale and imagine a wave of air filling up the belly, chest, and lungs, feeling them expand slowly. Then exhale all the air from the belly, chest, and lungs, feeling them contract and relax. Do for 3-5 breaths.

2. Inhale for a count of 3. Pause for a count of 3. Exhale for a count of 3. Pause for a count of 3. During the pause, you may find a moment of insight. Do for 3-5 breaths.

3. Inhale for a count of 3 and exhale for a count of 6. When the exhale is longer than the inhale, the mind becomes calmer. Do for 3-5 breaths.

4. If you need to bring energy into your body, inhale for a count of 6 and exhale for a count of 3. When the inhale is longer than the exhale, the mind becomes energized. Do for 3-5 breaths.

Smile, open your eyes, and continue your day with renewed energy and perspective! Thank yourself for showing up. Practice for a few minutes each day just to get your body used to calming and energizing breaths. Notice the transformation that takes place with practice. If you like, add a comment to the website about your practice.

Next time the focus will be on combining breath and movement using yoga poses while sitting at your desk. Until the next blog update.....Namaste.

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