Yoga class at the workplace

Mastering overstimulation thanks to yoga

Distraction versus relaxation

The yoga class at noon was exceptionally popular that day. All the yoga mats had been handed out, and even the welfare officer in charge who initiated the class had passed his mat on to another colleague.
And just then, another staff member appeared at the doorway, stepping into the class for the first time. When she gathered from the situation that the room was egg-full and no more mat available, she made preparations to turn right around and walk out.
This is sometimes how it goes when you take a step towards something new. As soon as something resembling an obstacle crosses your path, the creature of habit in us is quick to give up immediately.

A pathway to more serenity

The yoga teacher greeted her and the colleague confided to him: “I have been thinking of joining this class for some time, and today I felt like I really need it …”. The deal was quickly struck when the teacher also exceptionally made his yoga mat available.
About an hour later, after a yoga series of concentration, physical and breathing efforts, ending with a final relaxation in flat rest, the staff member in question spontaneously came back and shared her experience.
“We had exceptionally unexpected and demanding situations in our department this morning, and I really thought the building was going to come crashing down on me figuratively. I had to do something to regain my composure. However, I had my doubts because I had no idea exactly what kind of yoga this was going to be. And lo and behold: during that final relaxation, as I lay there on that mat on the floor, it was as if in the depths of me, in all serenity, an agenda was being drawn up automatically. And so I saw step by step how I could resolve this chaotic and unexpected situation. Everything fell into place. Thank you for this hour!”
Realxation after a yoga class

Putting overstimulation on hold

This personal testimony shows very clearly one of the facets of an afternoon yoga class at work. Much has to do with the impact of the nature of professional activities. Many employees find themselves in positions where outside requests and workloads are particularly erratic. This is accompanied by moments of acute overstimulation, which puts and keeps their mental levels in a state of fight, flight or freeze. Such a state is unsuitable for calm, strategic and creative planning or solution seeking.
So it comes down to getting into a different state mentally. And an hour of yoga is just perfect for that.

Returning to yourself

Living in this world inevitably presupposes interaction with the outside world. Energetically speaking, that interaction is healthy if it is balanced. That means you don’t give away more of your energy than you take back or receive. Let that be exactly one of the pitfalls in the modern office environment. Your energy goes where you focus your attention. And if you sit for eight hours permanently focused on permanently changing outside situations or screens with files that also exist outside yourself, then you are bleeding energy. One solution may be to take regular micro-breaks, aiming to bring your attention away from the outside back inside yourself. Take a slow and deep inhale, and then, exhale completely. Listen to how your body is feeling. Mindfully drink a glass of water or eat a healthy snack. Or you could do some mindful moving by stretching your limbs. And then your are ready to bring your attention and energy out again. In a never ending, swinging back-and-forth motion, like a pendulum. Those micro-breaks keeps your battery running smoother and longer, so to speak. Even in these situations, an hour of mindful yoga at noon has the function of a reset button.
Yoga at the workplace

Is distraction a solution for those seeking relaxation?

It is a common misconception that if you are in need of relaxation, you can just seek some distraction. The whole social media and smartphones with their endless supply of apps and games online are floating on that false assumption as well as addiction mechanisms. All you achieve with aimless scrolling on your phone is that you just now addict your mind to overstimulation even more. It may not seem like it, but in fact you are fleeing from a situation, instead of facing it and just resting for a while and then resolving it purposefully and creatively. Because – again – you are giving away your attention, and thus your energy, to the voracious little screen of your phone.
No wonder you feel your energy drain and are left feeling empty.

Me-time is essential

A good strategy to rebalance and unwind your mental level is by purposefully moving to the level of your physical body with your attention and senses. By doing something purely physical, moving, taking deeper breaths. Actively and consciously engaging with the unique physical body in which we spend our lives on earth. After all, as human beings we are genetically programmed to function in a physical body. Entrepreneur Chloe Macintosh, who herself made a career jump and started doing more body-oriented work, put it very wisely in the following way in a podcast:

We humans are born in a body and we are also completely set up to function in a physical body. So if you don’t spend at least two hours every day consciously engaging with your body, why on earth did you come to this planet?”

Yoga is ideally suited for that shift towards the body . Because it combines three ingredients, three efforts: mental focus, breathing and physical activity. It blends them together into a unique and powerful mix that guides you into a totally different mental state after the practice. More calm, balanced and gentle than ever before.

Read more about yoga at the workplace

Check out the video and read about organizing yoga moments at work:

Yoga at work

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