#Yogaeverydamnday & surviving the corporate world.

It’s 07:45 on Monday morning and I’m a world away from www.theyogaclubuk.com and stretching it out on my yoga mat. I’m already in my other life. When I’m not bare foot and in leggings I’m wearing make-up and rocking it in the corporate world.  When I’m not teaching yoga I’m implementing change in a financial services environment.  The two worlds really are polar opposites, but that’s maybe a subject for another blog.

My yoga partner, Laura Brady, will tell you I am something of a social media Luddite but I do like the hashtag #yogaeverydamnday because that really is what The Yoga Club is all about – relaxed, friendly yoga in and around Milton Keynes; accessible and flexible community yoga.

But surely it’s not possible to do yoga every day? Yes it is, and I do, in one form or another. 

Yoga is not about throwing fancy shapes and looking fab in Lycra. It’s far more than that; it’s about about how you approach your life and engage with the world. And no I’m not talking about drinking gallons of green juice and eating chickpeas whilst om’ing at anyone that’ll listen to you. Well you can if you want to but it’s not strictly necessary. 

Today I want to talk about the use of breath to improve your mental & physical state, lower your heart rate & improve your ability to focus – you’ll be surprised how much the breath can affect your health.

When I feel beside myself, distracted or anxious I take a moment to breathe consciously. It’s an easy practice and can be done anywhere without drawing attention to yourself.

 This is one of the techniques I use:

  • Sit at your desk with your feet fully on the floor and your back lightly pressed into  the back rest of the chair
  • Place your hands on the keyboard and look at your computer screen (make sure the screen is at eye level)
  • Once you’ve found a relaxed but alert seated position concentrate on your breath. The breath you want to use is just like the ujjayi breath we use in yoga class, an easy inhale through the nose and easy exhale through the nose. There is no need to alter the depth of the breath; it’s just slow and steady
  • Start to tune in to the natural flow of your breathing, noticing all the sensations as you breathe in and out:-
    • Notice the coolness of the breath on the inhale, the warmth on the exhale 
    • Feel the chest rise and fall
    • Allow the belly to expand and then release
    • Notice every subtle movement of the body 
    • Imagine the effect of this breath on the internal organs, the lungs, the diaphragm and so on 
    • Be aware of the natural pause at the top and at the bottom of the breath (just like the ebb and flow of the ocean)
  • All this time you’ve been looking at your computer screen but not focusing on it, it’s a bit like staring into the mid-distance

Hopefully, you’ve got this far without being interrupted but if not just restart the process when you get the chance or feel the need.

Now back to looking at that screen:-

  • At the same time as directing your gaze toward your computer screen start to look out of the corners of your eyes, the peripheral vision
  • What can you see? Notice every detail, the colours, the movements, the people
  • Take that peripheral vision as far as you can, you can see further out of the corner of your eye than you think
  • Continue to breathe slowly and steadily for as long as you need to ……

What has the rest of the office been up to whilst all this has been going on? Have they clocked what I’ve been up to? NO, clearly I’ve been deep in thought and catching up on my e-mails 🙂

Now I feel ready to face my day in the corporate world and I’ve done a short yoga practice.

I hope you find this technique useful. Let me know how you get on at theyogaclubuk@gmail.com

 Until next time, happy breathing!

 Gaynor 

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