10-Minute Yoga to Reduce Workplace Stress

Every January, major magazines throughout the world publish stress-related articles with good intentions.  Often, they try to empathize the importance of well-being, and heavy costs that U.S. corporations are paying to address employees’ stress at work.  In 2015, Forbes estimated workplace stress are costing up to $190B in annual U.S. healthcare spending, because stress could lead to trouble with sleeping, headaches, and other health issues.

At the mixed-level vinyasa yoga class I teach, I often target poses that help my students to relieve stress and re-align their spines.  In traditional yoga perspectives, stress can be reduced by slower-breathing and chest-opening poses that calm minds and stretch lungs.

If you are feeling anxious or stressed at work, try out a 10-minute yoga sequence below.  Before doing any yoga poses, please consult with your doctors for any health concerns.

Set a 10-minute timer on your phone.  If 10 minutes is too long for you, then set it for 5 minutes for the first few weeks and gradually work your way up to 10 minutes.

  1. Nostril Breathing: While seated, breath slowly in from one nostril & slowly out from another for 10 breaths; then alternate other side of nostril for inhalation and exhalation.  Each inhalation, try to fill up your lungs; each exhalation, empty your lungs.
  2. Mountain Pose:  Stand with straight spine and hands by your sides.  Breath in & out deeply for 2 minutes.Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 10.04.54 PM
  3. Standing with Chest Open:  Stand on the floor with both feet together and press firmly to the floor. Cross your arms from behind and grab your elbows with your hands.  While standing straight with your head lifted and arms cross behind, each inhalation opening your chest even more.  Breath in & out slowly for 2 minutes.
  4. Standing Forward Bend: Maintain your standing posture.  Now, cross your arms in front of you, grab your elbows with your hands, and fold over.  Let your head drop.  Allow the gravity to stretch your legs, your hamstring, and your spine.  Continue to breath slowly for another 2 minutes.  Then, roll your upper body up to standing posture.
  5. Standing Salute Mountain Pose:  Maintain your standing posture, and raise your both hands toward the ceiling.  Palms together and stretch your upper body one more time, by lifting your hands.  Look between your palms and continue to breath in & out for 2 minute.  Then, bring your arms by your sides and back to neural mountain pose.

Work can be chaotic.  I hope this 10-minutes yoga sequence can bring you a bit of yoga zen that put a smile back on your face.

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