A.M. Yoga Helps with Workday Focus, According to New Survey

Yes, the time of day you exercise matters. Here’s why. Plus, a sequence to jumpstart your morning.
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Still struggling to find your WFH groove? A recent survey of nearly 1,000 full-time professionals in health care, education, and the food and hospitality industries just prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic found that a morning yoga routine helped people focus better on work throughout the day.

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The research, funded by FitRated, studied the effects that various exercises at certain times of day have on job performance and satisfaction.

Results indicated that a morning yoga routine was most effective for workday focus. The survey results also showed that remote workers practiced more yoga during the workweek than those who worked onsite, and those who worked a combination of remote and onsite.

Practicing in the p.m. had its own benefits, especially when combined with aerobic activity: yoga paired with running was the best way to work out problems and find solutions after a long day of work, according to survey responses. And 26 percent of survey respondents said they used yoga during the workday as an alternative to sugary energy drinks and caffeine to help beat midday slumps.

“We were surprised most by how strategic people were when they practiced yoga,” said Mel Kasulis, the lead researcher. The research team observed that the intention of a yoga practice varies from morning to evening, depending on what type of benefits the practitioner is seeking—from cardiovascular exercise and muscle recovery to stress relief to improved focus.

Yoga’s positive neurological effects on the brain are well-documented and praised, and the benefits of exercise among the workforce in general are widely lauded. A 2018 study details the biological and psychosocial benefits of regular exercise, noting that anaerobic, mood-boosting exercises like yoga that incorporate “rhythmic abdominal breathing, enjoyment, rhythmic, and repetitive movements, and relative absence of interpersonal competition,” can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. A 2010 study published in the International Journal of Yoga found that the practice increased job satisfaction, goal orientation, organizational performance, and productivity. Yoga not only makes us fitter and happier, but also more productive.

A Morning Asana Practice for Finding Energy and Focus

If you're looking for sequence inspiration, try this short practices when you wake up.

Start Your Day With This Energizing Morning Practice

sunsalutation

Use this 13-pose practice from teacher Claire Mark to wake up and enter the rest of your day with your best foot forward. Keep a strap or towel handy in case you feel stiff in your shoulders and could use a prop. 

See the sequence here.