We've hit that point in the fall. Summer is beginning to feel like a distant memory, and Thanksgiving is still several weeks away. The semester is in full swing, and whether you're spending your days in a classroom or office, it's easy to feel buried.
Even in the midst of fall craziness, it's important to be true to your yoga practice. Whether you're hitting the midpoint of your semester, slogging through your workweek, or simply in need of a break, making time in your day to stretch is essential and can assist your productivity. Here are some ways to keep yoga a part of your daily routine (without necessarily busting out a headstand in the office break room!):
Practice downward facing dog in your office with the against-the-wall variation: Stand facing the wall, close enough to lay your palms flat against it. Press both hands against the wall around the height of your belly button, fingers pointing up. Keeping your hands there, walk slowly backwards until your arms and torso are fully elongated and roughly parallel with the floor. Plant your feet hip width apart and enjoy this gentle downward facing dog variation. In a pinch, you can also use the edge of your desk. You'll stretch out your shoulders and spine, and enjoy a few moments away from your computer screen.
Perform simple twists in your chair: Sit up very tall, keeping your spine as straight as possible. With your right hand, reach for the left arm of your chair. Place the left hand on the chair back and enjoy this gentle twist for several cycles of breath. Return to center, and repeat on the other side. Twisting postures are thought to aid digestion and wring the toxins from the body. They're simple enough to practice at any point in your day, so why not start now?
Enjoy meditation in motion: Of the eight limbs of yoga, asana (the practice of physical postures) is but one. Meditation is of paramount importance in yoga, but can be a challenge to practice. If you don't have a meditation practice of your own, consider taking a head-clearing walk. No headphones, no texting, no checking emails - just focus on the present moment. If you find it difficult to leave your thoughts behind (and let's face it - that's many of us!) try to observe the present through all your senses. Notice what your shoes sound like when they hit the ground. Notice the beauty of the trees, the feel of your clothing. Concentrating simply on the moment at hand will help prevent stressful thoughts from infiltrating. A 15 minute walk and a chance to get some fresh air can do wonders for your concentration. You'll return to your desk feeling refreshed and ready to work!
Busy though we are, we can all benefit from routine breaks. Taking a few minutes every couple hours to care for your body will not only make you feel better physically, but will refresh your mind as well. It's easier than you think, and your deadlines will thank you!