Need a Break?


The following yoga tips can help you reenergize, refocus, and realign.

1. Better than caffeine? When you feel yourself dragging at the end of a long, hard day at work, it might seem intuitive to race to the closest coffee shop for a pick-me-up, but a short yoga stretch at your desk may do the trick. Try this energizing pose you can do at your desk. On an inhalation, lift your chest, making a high backbend. Stay here and draw three full, rich breaths into your body. As you exhale, release your hands, place them on your knees and round your spine. Tuck your pelvis and pull your navel away from your knees, coming into a seated Cat Pose. Let your head dangle to open the back of the neck. Repeat several times. (For more information see Office Yoga Tips.)

2. Take a deep breath. Your breath is a relaxation tool that never leaves you. You can access it at work, while you're running errands, or whenever you feel stressed. Why not try it now? Close your eyes and observe as you take 10 slow, deep breaths in and out through the nostrils. When you're done you'll feel calmer, more centered, and more focused. (For more information see Inhale, Exhale, Relax.)

3. Go for a mindful walk. When you think of meditation, you may think of something very serious and focused, but the practice of meditation includes a wide range of techniques you can practice anytime, including many that are appropriate for a mid-day yoga break at home or in the office. To do a walking meditation, simply keep your mind in the present as you take a mindful walk around the office or the block. The idea is not to walk to get somewhere, but simply to enjoy the walk. (For more information see Meditation in Motion.)

4. Pamper your peepers. If you work with computers, detailed documents, or small objects that strain your eyes, you may find that your vision starts to get fuzzy by the end of the day. Taking a break from the intense concentration of work—whatever work you do—is good for everyone. The yogic practice of withdrawing from the senses (Pratyahara) can be both spiritual and mental. When we close our eyes, we move into ourselves and away from the external world. This creates a deep sense of peace. On a physical level, closing our eyes can protect them, calm our bodies, lower our blood pressure, and make it possible for us to concentrate for longer periods of time.So take a yoga break at your desk, or wherever you are, during your work day. Close your door, close your eyes, and surrender to the moment. Your eyes—and your mind—will thank you. (For more information see Cyber Eyes.)