Four excellent reasons to roll out a yoga mat
7th April 2021
We’ve all been there: there’s an important deadline to meet, time is flying by and it’s so tempting to skip that coffee break or even work through lunch to get the job done.
However, pushing on when you should be taking a breather could be counterproductive because the results won’t be so good when you’re tired and drained of inspiration.
At Landmark, our office workspace is designed to foster productivity and creativity, but we also believe in promoting wellbeing and we know that taking a break is an important part of getting the right work/life balance.
Once you’ve decided to take a break, the next question is what to do with that precious time. How about yoga? It’s already practised by something like 300 million people worldwide, but what’s the appeal?
Aletheia Katharine Hunn is a Director of Founded Wellness, a work-life wellness provider dedicated to bringing the benefits of yoga and other holistic health activities out of the studio and into the workplace.
She says: “The thing you need to know is that the rise in popularity of yoga is not about fancy yoga poses and being flexible. Yoga offers an entry point for an individual to connect with their personal wellbeing and is most appropriately described as a ‘practice’, which supports the idea that it’s not something to be perfected or be ‘really good at’, but something that can support how you feel each day. You can take (or leave) whatever you want from the class – from dealing with your tight hamstrings to taking time to breathe and destress after a tough day.
“Yoga can help us unpick some of the overuse and stress that we put on both our mind and body, in particular the stresses of day-to-day life sitting at a computer. And we can do that by focusing on movement, strength, better breathing and mindset – four excellent reasons to roll out a yoga mat.”
As the body is overused, aged, fatigued and worn out, things get tight and muscles get short. The introduction of slow and focused movements and repetitions will undo some of this. Regular articulation of the spine, hips, shoulders does the job of oiling and lubricating each joint to support healthy movement, just in the same way that you oil your bike.
As easy as it may seem compared to lifting weights, holding your own body weight in yoga poses for long periods of time (3-5 breaths) can strengthen all of the smaller supportive muscles as well as impact on targeted areas of the body.
Establishing a controlled pattern of breathing, a deep inhalation and full exhalation calms your nervous system, keeps you relaxed and efficiently delivers oxygen to your brain and muscles, particularly useful in times of stress.
Just as we flex our biceps, we need to flex the ‘muscles’ of the mind. Meditation, quiet time, mindfulness, call it what you like, yoga and its teachings can help with more positive and useful thought patterns.
Aletheia has a few quick tips before you get started with yoga:
- Don’t worry about making shapes or what you look like, just do it!
- Try a few different teachers and styles, no yoga teacher is the same, find a teacher that suits you
- Yoga is NOT a sport, it’s a way of life
- Once you’ve had a few classes and built up some confidence, doing yoga at home on your own terms is the easiest way to integrate it into your routine in the long term
- It all counts, five minutes or 60 minutes, it’s all yoga
- Don’t worry about any fancy equipment – just move and breathe.
As a first step, try this 20-minute practice with Aletheia on YouTube.
You can read more about Founded Wellness at www.foundedwellness.com
Founded Wellness and their partners SISU Psychology are hosting a three day conference from Tuesday 13th to Thursday 15th April, Workplace Wellbeing Virtual Conference. The event will offer workplace wellbeing decision-makers, HR Managers, advocates and champions a chance to reset, consider their strategy and find fresh inspiration for how they approach wellbeing and support their people at this time. Use code ‘LANDMARK’ for 50% off tickets to the three day conference!