How to do yoga at work
This is not your typical yoga studio.
There are no windows. No mirrors. Industrial carpet lines the floors, and there’s a conference table in the middle of the room. One might call it “corporate.”
There’s also no instructor (well, not in-person). The instructor lives in computer-land and is projected on the screen which descends from the ceiling with the click of a button.
Not typical at all.
We can fit up to 5 people at once. Three squished together at the front and one on each side of the table between the chairs and the wall. I like to think of it as “cozy.”
To most, this is the conference room where meetings are held, pastries are eaten, and important business discussed. But to me, this is my sanctuary.
This is the place where I first held a yoga push up without going to my knees. This is where I learned to embrace shavasana for all it is worth. This is where I learned that my body could do so much more than I ever thought possible. And where I’ve learned that I may never hold crow pose but it sure is fun to laugh while trying.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, a few of my colleagues gather in this space for our practice. Sometimes it’s a quick 30-minute session because we have far too much going on. Sometimes we take almost the full lunch hour to unwind our desk-ridden bodies. No matter the time, though, I always walk away feeling refreshed and ready to take on the latter half of the day– the most challenging part for a morning person like me.
It’s not that our yoga practice is super-peaceful, or an especially quiet time to rest our minds. We’re usually gabbing and laughing all the way through (which, in a way, is when I feel most at peace). We’re just five women, trying to follow along with the instructor, admiring/hating the freakish flexibility of the yoga models, and trying our best to make this practice our own.
Since I’ve joined this small band of yogis last summer, I feel a bond with my colleagues and workplace that I never felt possible. I find myself setting my intention for the day (every day, not just on yoga days). I find myself repeating my mantra “it’s your practice” at my desk and in meetings, because this truism applies to spaces beyond the yoga mat. It calms me. It brings me to the present. It centers me.
So how can you get this yoga-zen at work?
Start with a deep breath for yourself. Take five minutes (you probably have five minutes) and breathe. In. Out. In. Out. Lengthen your breath. If you have the private space, lengthen your body. Find a mantra that works for you. “Cheesecake for dessert” might be yours. Whatever works!
Then ask someone to join you. Go on a walk together at lunch or on a break. Spend time being present with that person, intentionally engaging in life with that person.
And if you literally want to do yoga at work, try to find a space in your office/building or find a local studio that has lunch-time classes. If you opt for in-workplace yoga, there are lots of online classes or apps. Take a Bad Yogi class, or follow one of Erin’s sequences she posts in the Bad Yogi club.
But in my opinion and experience, yoga is more than a physical practice. It’s a mental one as well. So find a way to get in the yogi head space. End your work day with a “namaste.”
Anybody else have a “corporate” yoga sanctuary? Let me know below in the comments section!