It’s hard to care for yourself and meet your many responsibilities with only twenty four hours in a day. Between work and sleep, eating and exercising, socialization and relaxation, it’s nearly impossible to get it all done.
Multi-tasking can help, but not every task can be combined. Exercising with friends? Sure. Relaxing and eating? Absolutely. Eating while you sleep? Doesn’t quite fit. Sleeping at work? Not advisable. Exercising and working? Not only possible, but criminally overlooked.
Work and exercise both tend to consist of a fair amount of mindless repetition, which makes combining the two tasks remarkably easy. Of course, not every exercise will pair well with your work situation. It might be frowned upon, for example, to bring a treadmill into a board meeting. Or if you’re the first face clients see, you might not want to be sweating and puffing as you finish a set of deep squats complete with dumbbell.
So what you’re looking for is a subtle, highly adaptable way to nurture and tone your body while you work. Yoga lovers already know that nothing beats yoga if you’re looking for a wide range of holistic exercises. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, here are a few creative ways to integrate a little secret yoga while on the job.
At Your Desk
You don’t need to drag in your mat or come dressed in yoga pants to work a little yoga into your professional routine. Many exercises are simple and subtle enough to complete while still at your desk.
Neck exercises like rolls or twists are perfect for workers who are chained to their desk. They don’t require a large amount of space (good news for those in cramped quarters) and provide little to no interference with other tasks. Poses and movements that work your ankles, feet, arms and wrists are also easy to implement while seated, as are breathing exercises.
Try implementing one of these exercises the next time you’re on the phone with a client or as a quick break between emails. These stretches won’t just serve as multi-taskers, they’ll also provide needed relief from the bad postures and other physical stressors associated with desk work.
On the Floor
Almost everyone can find a little floor time. No, really. Maybe you’re a preschool teacher who regularly gets down on the ground with your charges. Maybe you frequently require a flat area bigger than your desktop for spreading out a large project. Or maybe you’re lucky enough to have a few minutes here or there where no one will be around to notice if you’re laid out on the floor.
While floor exercises won’t be possible with every job, you’d be surprised at how many people can fit a few simple floor-based exercises into their work day.
Next time you’re circled up to lead show and tell, try implementing the double pigeon or the lotus. Have five minutes alone? Break out the plow. (You might want to double check your privacy before you try this one, your coworkers might feel a little awkward if they stumble upon you in this pose.) Seated amidst a pile of papers or a half completed project? Try the head-to-knee forward bend as you reach for the next paper or component. Don’t stop there, compile a list of stretches and poses so you’re always prepared when an opportunity presents itself.
The In-Between Moments
Almost every job provides a few empty moments between tasks. Maybe you have to wait for copies to print. Maybe you’re waiting for a program to download. Maybe you’re in a lull between hotel bookings. Regardless of the reason, these little moments are the perfect places to slip in a few standing poses.
Between customers at a restaurant or beauty salon? Move into a wide-legged forward bend. Try the half-moon while you’re printing ID badges for your newest employees. Waiting for your latest instructional video to upload? Go for a classic with downward facing dog.
No matter what job you hold, you can always find scattered moments to slip in a few exercises. Whether you complete a surreptitious stretch while seated or indulge in an intricate standing pose, there’s plenty of time for a multitude of exercises. So get creative. Discover your hidden pockets of downtime and invest in a little workplace yoga. Your mind, body, and schedule will thank you.
Image by Betabrand.