Yoga practice helps to build awareness that touches all other areas of our lives. Sometimes this awareness is easy to notice. For instance, right after a yoga class you may find yourself tempted to eat a nutritious salad rather than a hamburger because you can sense that it will make your body feel better. There are a few situations, though, that it is really hard to be in the moment and your job may be one of those situations.
Jobs are joyful, stressful, boring, interesting, or a combination of those items. Everyone will need to remember at some point during the workday that there is life outside of that job and need to refocus in order to get through the rest of the day. Although breaking out a mat and jumping into downward dog is not an option, there are little desk yoga exercises that you can try.
Neck rolls may be used to "tune in" to classes and function as a small moving meditation. It is perfect for giving your neck a little bit of love. On an inhale drop your right ear to your right shoulder. Exhale and roll your head down to center so that your chin meets your chest. On the next inhale bring your left ear to your left shoulder. On every exhale, move your head through center and drop your chin to your chest. On every inhale bring your ear to your shoulder; moving from right to left and left to right. It is not necessary to do a full neck roll by dropping your head back.
Shoulder shrugs are sometimes done in Kundalini yoga classes and are a great exercise to reduce tension in your shoulders and chest. Sitting at the desk exacerbates shoulder pain and chest tightness. Although this exercise is good to do standing or sitting in easy cross-legged posture, it may be done at the desk, as well. Sitting with your back away from the backrest, inhale and bring your shoulders up to your ears. With an exhale, drop your shoulders quickly. Repeat with a slightly quicker pace. On every inhale bring your shoulders up to your ears and on the exhale drop your shoulders quickly.
This shoulder and upper back stretch is half of a balance pose, but can be beneficial on its own. Focus on the movement and intention of moving the back of your shoulders across your back and towards your elbows to get the best stretch. In order to do eagle arms stretch your right arm in front of you, parallel to the floor. Cross your left arm over your right and then bend them at the elbow with your left elbow nested in your right. Bring your palms together with your left hand open to the right and the right hand open to the left. Make sure that your elbows are raised so that your upper arms stay parallel to the flow and you can look through the space in between your wrists. You can see the full pose here.
This is a yoga exercise. There are moments where the job may feel stressful. Think of your favorite yoga teacher saying "remember to breathe" in those moments. You cannot control everything in the workplace, but you can remember to do your best to distance yourself from those stresses and breathe.