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3 Desk-based exercises to calm your busy mind at work

Find a moment of peace in the middle of your busy day without leaving your desk.

 

Nowadays I split my time between business consultancy and yoga teaching. These two roles keep me busy and imply a lot of hours in front of a screen answering emails, preparing presentations, and planning and creating content.


At the end of a work day, I feel drained and my eyes are heavy and tired.


Is this you too?


To relieve some pressure, especially on the days I'm not teaching or attending yoga classes, I try to incorporate some exercises within my day that help me feel lighter and more refreshed.


Here's what I do:


Gazing Exercises (Trātaka)


Trātaka are exercises aimed at the eye globes that can improve visual acuity and stimulate local immunity through the production and release of prolactin. They are invaluable in maintaining visual health and relieving eye strain and tiredness.


I do this particular exercise once or twice a day, depending on how intense my workload is to give my eyes a break and relax. It goes as follows:

  1. Seating comfortably. Gaze at a point in the distance and slightly above the level of your eyes.

  2. Concentrate deeply, without blinking.

  3. Let tears start prickling the corners of your eyes. The exercise is working.

  4. Maintain your gaze for a minute or two.


Full Breath Retention (Kūmbhaka)


Your breath is probably your biggest ally against stress and overwhelm. Yoga Masters explain that when you control your breathing, you control your mind. This is because our breath is intimately connected to our brains and our vague nerve, which activates our Parasympathetic Nervous System and helps de-escalate our stress response after we experience triggers.


This is a simple breathing exercise to help you slow down and calm your busy mind:


  1. Bring your chair away from your desk slightly and sit upright with your feet firmly planted on the floor.

  2. Breathe in, filling your entire lungs - from the diaphragm to the thorax.

  3. Hold your breath in.

  4. And then exhale emptying your lungs completely.

  5. After you've become a bit more experienced you can add a rhythm to this exercise. For example, breathing in for 5 seconds, holding the breath in for 10 seconds, and exhaling for 10 seconds.



Stretch and do a mental body scan

Halfway through the day, stretch - stretch your arms and your spine and bend forward, reaching down on your chair and taking your hands to your feet.


Another thing I've been really enjoying recently that allows me to release tension and relax is a mental body scan or mindful body scan.


Here's how you can do it:

  1. On your office chair, sit upright and rest your hands on your lap.

  2. Now mentally, go through the several parts of your body, bringing awareness and intentionally relaxing and releasing tension.

  3. So you make sure you're covering your entire body, start on your feet, and move upwards as if your attention is a flow of energy that moves through your spine.

  4. The intention to release tension and relax makes all the difference because we're consciously giving ourselves permission to rest and let go.



 

Give these three exercises a try and notice how much lighter you'll feel at the end of a difficult day at work.


➡️ Let me know also which one you've found to be more helpful?


In the meantime, if you're looking for a more solid practice that holds you and supports your physical, emotional and mental health, I'd love to invite you to join our online yoga monthly subscription - The Yogaful Membership.


Through the Yogaful Membership, you access 4 online yoga classes a week plus an on-demand library with more lessons and complementary content to ensure you're always supported, even when you can't join live. The membership also includes access to a monthly in-person class in London, an exclusive FB group to ask questions and share experiences, and discounts for workshops, events, and yoga retreats.


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