In celebration of International Yoga Day, Garager and Posture Plus Hong Kong’s Director, Judith Anne Gould, shares the many benefits of yoga for workplace wellness, from increased energy to reduced stress, improved physical wellbeing, posture and more.
Yoga has numerous benefits for physical and psychological wellness, making it an ideal choice for people looking to improve their overall wellbeing. Dive in below to explore six ways regular yoga practise can help your overall wellbeing:
A sedentary lifestyle and working long hours decreases blood circulation and increases muscle tension which leads to fatigue and lowers your energy levels. While getting up and moving around regularly is an excellent idea, even very gentle yoga stretches at your desk will increase your blood circulation and help reduce fatigue.
Stress is one of the main contributing factors affecting productivity in the workplace. Not only does this have a personal cost, companies also literally pay for the extra sick leave stress can cause. Many studies have shown that increased stress leads to increased absenteeism, staff turnover, and accidents at work. Research has shown that yoga is able to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone as well as lower inflammatory markers.
Yoga movements and poses are designed to improve flexibility, stretch out tight muscles and improve strength thereby helping to prevent musculo-skeletal injuries. It is a highly beneficial adjunct to other sports and hobbies such as golf, tennis and running.
Hours spent in front of the computer and even more hours looking down at your phone have serious effects on your spinal posture - particularly your neck. Yoga poses and movements help relieve pain by stretching tight muscles, mobilising stiff joints and strengthening postural muscles.
The meditation aspect of yoga is a useful skill to develop as it can help you cope with everyday stresses both at work and home. Your mind will be clearer, enabling you to be more productive, more focussed and alert. A more stable mood will not only help you remain calm and be able to reason rather than react to stressful situations but will also have a calming effect on those around you.
Our natural breathing pattern has been altered over the last few years due to the long term use of masks. We have had to use more neck muscle activity to assist us to breathe in, we’ve been over breathing, and breathing more through our mouth as opposed to our nose. This can lead to neck pain, hyperventilation, as well as a lack of filtration, warming and humidifying of the air we breathe. More relaxed and effective breathing patterns lead to relaxation of the neck muscles, improved lung capacity and increased levels of oxygen in our blood.
Time poor but keen to explore some of the benefits of yoga? Posture Plus has shared some modified yoga exercises below that can be done at your desk, making it easy to incorporate yoga into your daily routine!
Sitting slightly forward in your chair, sit up straight and tall, feet flat on the floor.
Place your left hand on the left arm rest (or the seat of the chair) and place your right hand on the outside of your left knee.
Lengthen through your spine and gently twist to the left.
Have a deep breath in and then twist a little further if you can.
Slowly breathe out as you return to your start position and then repeat on the other side.
As with any activity there will be some people who should avoid specific movements and this is the case with some yoga poses. Make sure you speak with your yoga instructor or health care professional if you have any specific health issues or concerns about a pose and ask how it can be modified or if an alternative be provided.
Some of the common conditions which may limit your ability to perform a yoga position are: Hypertension, wrist problems, pregnancy, eye conditions, heartburn, musculoskeletal disorders and bone density issues such as osteopenia and osteoporosis. If in doubt, always ask your physiotherapist or physician before you attempt a pose.
Yoga can be an excellent way to improve your physical and mental wellbeing, and some exercises fairly easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Whether you're at home or work, you can do modified yoga exercises at your desk to help you feel more energised, less stressed, and more productive.
Judith is the founder of Posture Plus Hong Kong, a leading wellness centre providing outstanding treatments in physiotherapy, Pilates, massage therapy and osteopathy to help clients recover faster and maintain their health. She has over 35 years of experience in musculoskeletal rehabilitation and holds degrees from the University of Queensland and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Throughout her career, Judith has successfully treated a variety of work-related and sports-related injuries, from professional athletes to members of the armed forces in Australia and Saudi Arabia. Since moving to Hong Kong in 1994, she has continued to enhance her expertise by completing Pilates training certifications, training numerous physiotherapists in the Bionketic Exercise Technique (B.E.T), and working as a research assistant at HKPU. She has also formulated and designed the Pilates Plus training programme, which utilises Pilates equipment to improve how people move in order to prevent or change postural dysfunctions that contribute to pain, discomfort or stiffness.
Judith is passionate about helping her clients achieve optimal physical health and wellbeing through personalised treatment plans and holistic approaches.
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