Do you know that over 300 million people globally practice yoga? It is the second most popular form of exercise, especially among women.
The good news is that if you haven’t tried yoga before, you have a great chance because the 21st of June is the International Day of Yoga. This is a perfect opportunity to take out your yoga mat and join either in person or an online class.
There are many benefits of yoga, but have you ever asked yourself if yoga can help with your productivity?
Read on to find out the many benefits of yoga, how to get started if you are a newbie, and how you can increase your productivity with yoga.
What is Yoga
Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India. But it is now an $80 billion global industry. And for a reason.
I have been practicing yoga for more than 20 years now. And although at the beginning I was skeptical about the chanting, prayers, or yogi postures I saw in National Geographic, I gave it a try.
Yes, yoga consists of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that help to still the mind and grow body awareness. But yoga is much more than that.
For me, yoga is the ultimate mind-body connector. And I cannot stress enough how important the mind-body connection is. We like to think that our mind is separate from our body, but this can’t be further from the truth.
Don’t be fooled. Whatever happens in your mind has an impact on your body. And vice versa. If you sit all day, you not only feel stiff, but you also lose focus and have more depressive thoughts. You lack energy and motivation to carry on and you know what that means.
There may be other forms of exercise that can get your blood moving, break a sweat, and build muscle mass. But yoga not only provides benefits for your body but also cultivates mindfulness.
The Benefits of Yoga
There are hundreds and hundreds of benefits of yoga. You improve your cardiovascular health, bone density, flexibility, strength, and balance. In addition, yoga has an enormous effect on your mental health.
Yoga can help with your self-esteem and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. It can help to boost your immune system and quality of sleep and your life in general.
But I use yoga as the number one tool to manage stress and overwhelm in my life. If there is one thing, I am sure about, it is that stress cannot be eliminated from your life. It is always present, so you need a tool that you can use anywhere and anytime to manage stress better.
And that’s what yoga does.
Thanks to diaphragmatic breathing used in yoga, you calm your nervous system. Your sympathetic nervous system is triggered every time your stress response is activated. When you lead from SNS you are more likely to get irritated, lose concentration, lack rational thinking, and yes be more stressed and overwhelmed!
Diaphragmatic breathing helps to shift the dominance to the other branch of your nervous system – the parasympathetic nervous system. PNS also called the ‘rest and repair’ system assists with restoring your logical thinking, reducing anxiety, and increasing your sense of wellbeing.
Yoga and Work Productivity
Every time I hit a wall creatively or if I struggle with making a decision, I put on my yoga pants and hit the mat. After a few sequences of yoga poses my clarity comes back, I’m more concentrated and I can see solutions I haven’t seen before.
Thanks to the mental boost, I’m more productive. I can focus on the task at hand and make sure I finish the project before the end of the day. I am more creative because I am connected to my purpose and the ‘why’ behind it.
I just released those incredible endorphins and my outlook on work, my work colleagues, and life in general has improved. I am more likely to make healthier eating choices so that I can have the energy I need to get things done.
But I am also calmer and more patient. And if you know me, you know that’s a struggle for me! Thanks to yoga, I am more conscious of my behaviours and especially my moods. I’m more balanced which means I won’t have those emotional swings anymore.
It is not only that I improve the quality of work for myself, but I also improve it for others. So collectively we can work smarter, not harder.
In addition, I feel better about myself. My self-confidence increased, and so did my self-efficacy. I am more open to new challenges, and I believe I can overcome any obstacles in my way. I perform better not only at work but in other areas of life.
Isn’t this alone worth practicing yoga?
How to Get Started With Yoga
If you are a newbie to yoga, I have good news. It is insanely easy to start! You don’t need any fancy yoga pants or a yoga mat (although you may if you want to!), and you don’t need much money either.
It is always my recommendation to get into a class where you can learn the basic asanas, so you know what the correct alignments are. This way you won’t hurt yourself. Once you know the steps, you can practice yoga at home yourself.
You can’t do yoga wrong. And you can start with simple meditation practice and breath work. Then you can add gentle yoga poses and keep going.
Yoga is a practice. This means you get to practice it daily, getting better and better with each class. You are going for consistency rather than perfection.
But you can bring yoga into work too. There are a lot of yoga poses that you can easily perform while staying at your desk. You can stretch your body or relieve neck or lower back pain.
You can also practice mindfulness through diagrammatic breathing. You can either walk away into a quiet space or take a short break while still sitting in front of your computer.
Boost Your Work Productivity
If you have never tried yoga before, now is the best time. There will be many free events around the globe to celebrate the International Day of Yoga.
The benefits of yoga are countless, but for me, yoga helps to relieve the daily stress and overwhelm. It also helps with my productivity. Thanks to the mental clarity, I am more creative, and purpose driven so I can get things done. I can work smarter not harder.
How about you? How can yoga help you to be more productive?
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