River’s Guide to Mindfulness for the Office
Much of our tension and pain from work is simply due to a lack of regulated breathing. Shallow breathing restricts muscles which leads to tension.
Remember to breathe. Find a touch stone in your office, whether its your water cooler, a little statue, or a picture. Let it remind you every time you see it to pause and take three deep breaths, then resume your work.
In the office we often sit for too many hours and simply get up and walking or other basic movements can help with pain and tension.
Office Walks. If you have to sit at a desk for many hours, have a bottle of water always on hand and aim to drink twice as much as you usually do. This helps keep you hydrated and also gets you up and moving.
Stretching the back of the neck and shoulders
Our trapezius muscles (the tops of our shoulders) are nick-named the “traps” because they “trap” all our tension and stress. Many of us only half engage these muscles, so our body never gets the message they are fully engaged at all. In order to relax them, we need to ENGAGE them fully in order to let our bodies RELAX them.
Shoulder Rolls. Relax your arms, can do this seated or standing (good for the office, the airplane, or anytime you notice you are harboring tension around the neck).
- Lift your shoulders as high as you can to try and touch your ear lobes.
- Roll the shoulders back as far as you can,
- Then lengthen away from the ears.
In the office, we often hunch over and create tension in the spine, causing back pain. Twisting detoxifies the body while creating space between the vertebrae, allowing for motion and openness in the back.
In a twist, think about spiraling towards the ceiling like a barber pole rather than torquing towards the back wall.
Chair Twist. Stand to one side of the chair. Lift one leg onto the seat and hold the back rest with the same hand and twist. This can also be done by reaching behind you and twisting while seated.
Mindfulness for the Car
Feeling the Inner Smile
Send the sensation of smiling throughout your entire body. Even if it feels fabricated, there are still health benefits. This helps loosen your shoulders, balances blood pressure, and boosts your immune system, as well as creates calm during stressful times while driving.
Yellow Light, Red Light Meditation
Whenever you see a yellow light, slow down your breathing and feel a sense of slowing down. When you see a red light, pause, breath, and elevate your world view. Drop inner commentary and be present with the physical world around you.
Before a Hectic Work Day
When you wake up in the morning remind yourself of three things you are grateful for! Internally recite and acknowledge your blessings throughout your busy draining day.
This is proven in the medical field to have significant health boosts!
River has a lifelong study of movement and the body which has guided her 19 years as a teacher. She is the co- director of aspen-tree.org out of Aspen, Colorado where she lives. For more on River and for upcoming retreats visit yogariver.com.