A Whole9 guest post by Mary Beth LaRue, who is a lover of avocados, homemade chai tea, hip hop and her lovable English bulldog, Rosy.
The transition from writing for the local newspaper, slinging drinks and riding my bike absolutely everywhere to sitting behind a desk nine hours a day was a tough one. I’d just graduated college and was headed to Washington DC to work for a prestigious travel magazine. I started to suffer from some major slumpage, pains in my low back and shoulders and definitely some ADD when it came to my internet browsing.
Through the practice of yoga I was able to shift this (for the two years that I lasted at a desk) and I became more aware and more mindful of how I was inhabiting my body and what was taking up my time while I was at work.
Here’s a few tips for you to do the same and bring mindfulness to the office – whether you are freelancing from your living room or at a desk for hours a day.
1) Start Your Day with Intention
Before you enter your office or saddle up to your desk, take a few minutes to create an intention for your day. This could be through a few sun salutations, some time on your meditation cushion or just a few deep breaths in the parking garage. Decide how you are going to show up for yourself and others. Choose to be creative or proactive, rather than reactive.
2) Fold Forward
I used to close my office door and do a headstand or a downward facing dog for a minute or two several times a day. While I don’t suggest handstands during board meetings, just getting up and moving your body for even a few minutes can shift your entire perspective.
3) Stand tall
Find tadsana (mountain pose) and stand, or sit, tall. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, and her collaborator Dana Carney of Berkeley, ran an experiment in which people were directed to adopt either high-power or low-power poses for two minutes. Then they were asked if they wanted to gamble. Cuddy and Carney found that 86% of those who posed in the high-power position opted to gamble, while only 60% of the low-power posers felt comfortable taking a roll of the dice.
But even more interesting — there were physiological differences between the two groups, as shown by saliva samples. While high-power posers showed an 8% increase in testosterone, low-power posers had a 10% decrease in the hormone. Meanwhile, the inverse relationship happened with cortisol, the hormone related to stress. While high-power posers experienced a 25% decrease in cortisol levels, low-power posers had a 15% increase in their stress levels. (Source: http://blog.ted.com/2012/10/01/10-examples-of-how-power-posing-can-work-to-boost-your-confidence/)
4) Get Outside
Park far from the office. Take your lunch break in a park. Go for a quick run or a brisk walk mid-day. Maybe even see if you can move an office meeting outdoors.
Try incorporating these ideas and let us know how it works for you. Even a few minutes of movement every hour throughout your day can make a difference. I’ve found nothing that can shift my mood more than some fresh air, blue skies and moving my body.
Mary Beth LaRue is a yoga teacher, life coach and the co-founder of Rock Your Bliss. She’s a lover of avocados, homemade chai tea and hip hop. She’s an Iowa girl living blissfully in Venice Beach with her husband and their lovable English bulldog, Rosy. Whether it’s through a sweaty yoga practice, a gratitude meditation, or a conversation over coffee about life goals, Mary Beth’s mission is to lead people toward their bliss.
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Great tips Mary! Hopefully the office door was locked when you were doing your downward dog pose! I used to think it was better to have a cup of water on my desk so I had to get up every time I wanted a drink but opt now for a large 2lt bottle because it means I make frequent bathroom trips which gets me out of my chair.
Thank you for the information about standing taller. I do this anyway, but it’s always good to know it increases my testosterone!