Improve Productivity with Office Yoga

Improve Productivity with Office Yoga

When staff is relaxed, you can breathe easy knowing they can concentrate on tasks at hand.

Most of us working in the healthcare industry know the importance of employee wellness, but we do not always take the time to take care of ourselves, or encourage our staff to take care of themselves. Research shows that when employees use wellness programs, they are happier at work, use fewer sick days, and are more productive in their jobs (“The Impact of Wellness Programs on America’s Workforce,” The Institute for Healthcare Consumerism). Not all employers have wellness programs available to their employees, however.

Regardless of whether your office has an official wellness program, there are things you can do to improve wellness for yourself and your staff. Some can even be done right at an employee’s desk.

For example, yoga has been proven to be an effective way to reduce stress and improve fitness (“Yoga: Fight Stress and Find Serenity,” Mayo Clinic). A five- to 15-minute office yoga session might be all that’s needed to get you and your employees motivated to finish the task at hand. Here are five simple yoga exercises that can be done daily without having to leave the office.

Neck

The-Neck-1The-Neck-2

Posture: Sit comfortably with a straight spine, either at the front of the chair or all the way to the back. Keep your feet flat on the floor, about hip distance apart.

Technique: Place your hands on your thighs and lower the right ear toward the right shoulder. Rotate your head back, making sure to lift your neck up and over your spine so you don’t compress it. Repeat on the left side. As you do these moves, make sure to take long, deep breaths. Continue this for one minute in each direction.

Benefits: 

  • Improves blood flow to the brain.
  • Reduces tension and calm the mind.

Shoulders

The-Shoulders-1 Shoulders-2_try-thisThe-shoulders-3

Posture: Sit comfortably with a straight spine, either at the front of the chair or all the way to the back. Keep your feet flat on the floor, about hip distance apart.

Technique: Rest your arms straight down to your side and begin rotating the shoulders forward. After a minute, reverse direction. Remember to breathe.

Benefits: 

  • Keeps the muscles around the shoulders flexible and reduces tension.
  • Improves posture. Counteracts hunching.

Legs

The-Legs-2 The-Legs-1

Posture: Sit comfortably into the back of the chair with a straight spine.

Technique: Hold the arms of the chair or the edge of the seat and raise both legs. You can start with just one leg at a time if that is better for you. Flex your toes towards your body and hold for 10 seconds. Then point your toes away from your body and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this movement five to seven times.

Benefits:

  • Stretches your feet and your hamstrings.
  • Improves blood circulation. Sitting at a desk for long periods can inhibit blood flow, which can create all sorts of problems.

Back

The-Back

Posture: Sit comfortably with a straight spine, either at the front of the chair or all the way to the back. Keep your feet flat on the floor, about hip distance apart.

Technique: Interlock the palms of your hands behind your back. Pull your arms down while inhaling; open the chest and bring the head and neck back to gaze up. Hold this posture for 10 seconds, or however long it feels good. Remember to breathe. Then, slowly release the arms and bring the head and neck back to a neutral position. Repeat as many times as needed.

Benefits:

  • Keeps the back and shoulders flexible and eases tension caused by hunching in front of a computer all day.
  • Reduces stress. Methodical breathing increases benefits.

Breathing

Breathing-1 Breathing-2

Posture: Sit comfortably with a straight spine, either at the front of the chair or all the way to the back. Keep your feet flat on the floor, about hip distance apart.

Technique: Alternate nostril breathing.

Use the right thumb to close off the right nostril. Inhale deeply through the left nostril. When your breath is full, close off the left nostril with the pinkie finger and exhale through the right nostril. Repeat.

Use the left thumb to close off the left nostril. Inhale deeply through the right nostril. When your breath is full, close off the right nostril with the pinkie finger and exhale through the left nostril. Repeat.

Benefits:

  • Focused breathing can help with headaches, migraines, and other stress-related symptoms.
  • Inhale left, exhale right: Relieves stress.
  • Inhale right, exhale left: Improves focus.

Bridget Toomey, CPC, CPB, RYT-200, teaches Kundalini Yoga at Heartland Yoga in Iowa City, Iowa. She is certified by the Kundalini Research Institute as a Kundalini Yoga teacher and is a member of the International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association. Toomey works for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Patient Financial Services as an education coordinator, where she trains new hires and current staff in many areas of the revenue cycle including denial management and claims. She is a member of the Iowa City, Iowa, local chapter.

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