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The secret to enjoying desk yoga

Doing yoga at your desk can feel a little awkward—taking a few minutes to settle into the idea can go a long way



Last week, I chronicled my first attempt at desk yoga—essentially, taking ten minutes out of your workday to try and destress through basic stretching. While there were plenty of unforeseen issues that arose (my failure to take into account the restrictive nature of headphones, for instance) there were also some clear benefits to be reaped from the exercise.  Turns out, a little deep breathing during a Monday can go a long way.

With my initial skepticism waning, I decided to do a little out-of-office research: I dusted off my sad, abandoned yoga mat and made my way over to the studio behind my house. The results of an actual hour-long yoga session were dramatic. I felt looser and calmer than I had in days. The class delivered a potent cocktail of endorphins and some badly-need “me time.” I’ve been back twice since then.

So why was my experience of classroom so much more positive than what I did at my desk? Probably because yoga was never designed to happen in a cubicle. In fact, the environment plays a major role in the efficacy of yoga practice. Doing a series of stretches in a room full of other practitioners, where I was encouraged to put my work-related anxieties aside and focus on breathing and technique, made a world of difference.

That discovery cast my experience with desk yoga in a new light. Is it even possible, I wondered, to achieve a blissed-out, zen headspace amid the distractions of a modern workplace?

Eager to find out, I entered into my second week of practice determined to implement a new-and-improved system. I watched a five-minute video at my desk outlining some positions. Then, I dedicated five minutes to sitting with my eyes closed and mindfully breathing. Canadian Business is conveniently a very quiet workspace, so this proved surprisingly helpful. Then, I went through some of the poses I remembered from the video. It wasn’t quite as serene as the studio setting, but with a bit of effort to disconnect from my surroundings, I found desk yoga to be much more effective.

Week two takeaways:

  • Not that this is necessarily a great revelation, but my rekindled familiarity with actual yoga has proven extremely helpful in doing asanas at my desk.
  • By far the most helpful part of the new process was taking a few minutes to breath and ground myself in what I was doing. I spent the first week feeling self-conscious and flustered—the time spent getting into the right headspace was well worth it.
  • While I felt a little looser after practicing the yoga moves, it would have been helpful to have had someone guiding me through them instead of trying to remember them from memory. Yet, trying to watch the video at my desk last week proved difficult (see: headphone fiasco.) I’ll have to work on that one.

Have you ever tried desk yoga? Let us know in the comments bellow, or share your experience on Facebook or Twitter