Coping with stress and anxiety from the workplace is an ongoing task that you must deal with. Something that can help with this is starting a beginner yoga routine.
The practice of yoga has you concentrate on your breathing and staying calm, all while engaging in difficult poses. Doing this can retrain your brain to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety much more effectively.
Medical professionals are now prescribing yoga too! According to a study done by the International Journal of Yoga, yogic practices actually promote recovery to people with anxiety and depression.
Also, the masses are starting to realize the benefits of this ancient practice. According to a “Yoga in America” survey, there has been a growth of more than 50% from 2012 to 2016 of yoga practitioners in America. Approximately 36.7 million people in America practice yoga. It’s time you took this into your life!
With these nine yoga poses anyone can do them and everyone will benefit from them. This post is strictly for executive beginners, a beginner yoga routine.
We provide 9 easy poses to de-stress (just 15 minutes!) and useful tips to add the yoga routine into your busy executive schedule.
The Basics Before Starting Your Beginner Yoga Routine
1. Start with letting go of any expectations you have about yoga. Your yogi colleague might tell you she does handstands and backbends in her yoga class. Well, we’re not going there!
You don’t have to be thin and you don’t have to be flexible to start a yoga practice. Yoga is for all body types. In fact, with continued practice, you will become more flexible over time. Flexibility comes from a continued yoga practice; it isn’t necessary to be flexible from the start.
And you do not have to be a woman to do yoga. Yoga is for all genders. Men do yoga, too! Russell Simmons, LeBron James, Orlando Bloom, and Mick Jagger practice yoga!
Yoga isn’t only for flexible women… anyone and everyone can benefit from this practice.
Yoga isn’t just for young people! Yoga is for all ages. The ”Yoga in America” survey explains that the vast majority of yoga practitioners were over the age of 30. 30% of them even fell into the 50+ category.
Drop any other previous yoga expectations and don’t knock it before you try it. The body, mind, and soul benefits of a yoga practice make it unique from other workouts and especially beneficial for executives with stressful schedules.
2. Consistency is key with yoga, so don’t give up after just one session. A study done by the International Journal of Preventative Medicine states that after just 12 yoga sessions women experienced a significant decrease in depression, anxiety, and stress.
3. Schedule just 15 minutes a day to start your beginner yoga routine. Sometime in the evening, after your workday, would be best to reduce stress and induce relaxation.
4. Find a space to practice. This can be at your office, at a gym, yoga studio or even a hotel room when you’re traveling for business purposes.
5. Stop all distractions and get comfortable. Turn off your phone, computer, and television. Take off your tie and shoes if you’re at work or else make sure you’re in comfortable workout clothes.
6. Get a yoga mat. This is really the only piece of equipment that you need (and if you’re in a pinch you don’t need one at all). Yoga blocks, straps, and blankets can be really helpful but aren’t necessary for a simple beginner yoga practice.
9 Easy Yoga Poses to De-Stress
The goal of these nine yoga poses is to open and stretch the muscles of your chest and rib cage. With this beginner yoga routine, you will learn to retrain your breath to reduce the stress hormones effects on your respiratory system.
Stress can affect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems and cause you to breathe faster and heavier. This puts an adverse effect on the body’s nervous system, which in turn will lead to muscle tension and pain.
Through the breathing exercises:
– You will increase the supply of oxygen to your brain to promote a level of calmness.
– You will reduce muscle tension in the body.
– You will calm the mind from anxiety.
With this beginner yoga routine and by learning to control your breath, you will be able to better cope with your stress and calm anxiety.
In fact, practicing yoga strengthens many of the qualities needed to excel in business!
1. Easy Pose (Calms Your Breathing & Reduces Stress and Anxiety)
Easy pose is a great starting point for beginners because it allows you to be still in a simple posture and focus on your breathing. The benefits for executives are to slow down the breathing and work on proper posture. Sitting tall with your spine in alignment can also reduce stress and anxiety.
Executives can use this Easy Pose to their advantage at literally anytime during the workday because all you’re doing it sitting!
For this pose sit comfortably, if possible in a crossed-legged position. Sit nice and tall with your spine long and shoulders down your back and away from the ears. Hands can fall wherever comfortable. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and evenly, in and out through the nose. Do this for at least 20 breaths.
If you’re having trouble sitting comfortably that’s okay, it will get easier in time. Try sitting with your back against the wall or with your bottom on a pillow if you have tight hips.
2. Standing Seal Pose (Harmonizes the Connection Between Your Heart and Mind)
Standing seal pose is beneficial for executives as it opens the shoulders, hamstrings, and lower back. All which suffer when we sit for long periods of time and from tension or stress at work.
This pose is meant to remove tension from specific body parts affected by stress. It will also help with mental function and the heart and mind connection.
Start standing with your feet hip-width apart. Clasp your fingers together behind your back and slowly start to bend at your hips into a forward fold, keep the knees soft. All the while, reaching your clasped hands up towards the ceiling behind you. Hold this pose for 8-10 breaths.
Avoid rounding the shoulders in this posture as it will put unwanted stress on them. If necessary, don’t fold all the way down and bend the knees as much as needed. Avoid this pose if you have a shoulder, elbow, or wrist injuries.
3. Revolved Chair Pose (Powerful Detoxification of Toxic Thoughts)
Revolved chair pose is a little more challenging and takes some core strength. A triple threat pose it will stretch the lower back, spine, and shoulders and challenge your balance- all in one move!
Twisting allows for detoxification of the body and mind, releasing toxic thoughts. This is great for executives with anxiety disorders.
Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Slowly lower your hips back into a squat, as if you were going to sit in a chair. Bring your palms to prayer position at your heart and gently twist to the right, bringing your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Keep your shoulders, back, and spine long with abs pulled in tight. Hold this pose for 8-10 breaths then switch to the other side.
If staying in the squat is too intense, try straightening the legs slightly. This pose is great for core strength and back stretching.
4. Downward Facing Dog (Helps You Focus and Calms Your Mind)
Downward facing dog is one of the main poses in any yoga class and a good foundation for beginners to build from.
While in downward dog, it will reduce tension in your neck, arms, back, and legs and will also calm the brain.
Having the head below the heart brings blow flow to the brain, which will lift energy and support greater focus.
Start on hands and knees with hands about should distance apart. Curl toes under and lift hips toward the sky, making an inverted ‘V’ shape. Keep pressing into both palms, pull your navel in towards the spine, and send your hips to the sky. Take 8-10 breaths in this pose.
Even though this is a beginner yoga pose, it can be quite intense. If holding for a full 8-10 breaths is too long come down to your knees and rest for a few seconds until you complete all the breaths.
5. Pigeon Pose (Removes the Negative Energy From Your Body)
Pigeon pose is a deep hip stretch and can help combat all the hip tightness executives experience after a stressful day at the office. Excessive stress can trigger a primal response of tightness in the body. This often builds in the hips, making them very tight.
This stretch will open your hips and allow for the release of negative energy. Pigeon pose will also stimulate the digestive system, which is often affected by stress.
From downward facing dog pull your right knee forward toward your face. Keep the knee bent and flex your foot as you set the leg down on the ground beneath you. Keep your left leg straight behind you with the top of your left foot pressed into the ground.
You can keep your torso up and prop yourself up on your hands, or you can fold forward to bring your forehead to the ground. Hold this pose for 8-10 breaths and then switch sides.
This is a more advanced pose and can cause problems for people with hip or knee issues. Avoid this pose if it causes pain. To take some pressure off the knee, try placing a yoga block under the hip of your bent leg. Elevating your hips this way can allow you to experience the stretch without compromising your knees.
6. Seated Twist Pose (Decrease Feelings of Anxiousness)
Seated twist is another hip stretch but with a deep twist. Twists are wonderful if you’re dealing with stress or anxiety!
This twist will help open up the chest, shoulders, and back. As with any twist, you will be releasing tension.
Seated twist pose is great for executives because it is a gentle stretch for the lower and upper back, which are areas that can hold tension and stress. Release tension has a calm effect on your mind and decreases feelings of anxiousness.
Sitting down with legs straight in front of you, bring the left heel back towards your body, bending the knee and keeping it on the ground. Bring your right foot across and place it on the outside of your left thigh.
Once here sit up tall with spine long and arms at your sides on the ground. Reach the left arm up high and twist, bringing the left elbow to the outside of the right knee. Hold this pose for 8-10 breaths.
If your hips are too tight to get into the full posture, try working on that first. Master the seated portion with just the legs and then add in the twist when you feel ready.
7. Triangle Pose (Removes Your Worries)
Triangle pose is a standing pose that is great for improving flexibility and core strength.
Executives will benefit from this triangle pose because of the concentration and patience involved, which help you focus and calm the mind.
This pose will improve balance and stability, both physically and mentally, while also opening the chest, shoulders, hamstrings, and lower back.
Start with feet a little wider than the hips and turn your right toes out so that the heel of your right foot is perpendicular to the arch of your left foot. Bending at the waist, reach your right arm toward the right foot while sending the left arm up to the sky. Your chest should be facing out, not down towards the right leg.
Press firmly into both feet and look down toward the ground to be gentle on the neck. Hold the pose for 8-10 breaths and then switch sides.
This pose can be intense for the stretching and strength it requires. If you find yourself concentrating so much that you start holding your breath, return to the beginning and start again when ready.
8. Bound Angle Pose (Unwinds Your Mind, Stabilizes Your Blood Flow)
Bound angle pose is a restorative posture that helps calm the body. It will help regulate blood pressure to decrease anxiety and stress.
Executives should do this yoga pose at the end of their practice or at the end of the workday to unwind.
Starting by laying on your back and bringing the soles of your feet together. Let the knees fall to either side and place hands on your belly. Breathe slowly and deeply. Stay here for at least 20 breaths.
This pose can be bothersome to the knees, so if needed, place a yoga block under each knee or a pillow to reduce the pressure.
9. Child’s Pose (Helps You Rest and Recenter)
Childs pose is a yoga favorite because it is the pose you take whenever you need to rest or recenter.
Executives can use this throughout the day to stretch the hips and lower back while focusing on the breath.
Being in this child’s pose calms the mind and gently relaxes the whole body. It is a passive stretch that relieves stress.
Start on hands and knees, keeping big toes close together and separating the knees to your comfort level. Bring the hips back so that they’re resting on your heels and lower your forehead to the ground. Arms can be outstretched past your head or palms can be resting back by the feet. Hold this pose for 8-10 breaths.
Place a blanket under the knees for any knee pain. This posture can be done between any of the poses as an active resting pose before moving onto the next.
Yoga poses are measured in breaths. Instead of using reps, sets, or minutes, use long and slow breaths to hold each pose and reduce tension in the body.
Ideally, you want to take the breaths through the nose and expire by mouth. If you are uncomfortable in a pose, think of sending your breath to that specific area, targeting the tight muscles or sore spots.
If it becomes difficult to breathe in any posture, stop, and rest. Some poses will be more difficult than others, but none should make you short on breath or cause any pain.
Maintain constant, deep breathing throughout your whole practice. This will help oxygenate the body and rid it of stress.
For more instruction on this watch this video on deep breathing and see where you can improve and learn techniques to make it effortless:
All executives deal with some level of anxiety at work, so using a beginner yoga routine can help alleviate stress while allowing you to thrive at your job.
Have you ever done a beginner yoga routine? How has it helped your workplace stress? Let us know in the comments below!