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International Yoga Day was started by the United Nations in 2014 to promote yoga, an ancient wellness practice which originated in India and continues to find relevance in today’s fast-paced world. With International Yoga Day next week, we thought it would be timely to share some ideas for easy ways to infuse more yoga and mindfulness into your workday. No mat or lycra needed!

1. Balance on one leg

While you’re brushing your teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil, or any time you find yourself feeling restless. Keep the hips level and focus on lengthening the sides of the waist. Balancing improves focus, and strengthens the legs from ankle to hip. Use a wall if you’re feeling wobbly, or try looking up at the ceiling for an additional challenge!

2. Turn your senses inward

To practise the yogic principle of Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), put on noise-cancelling headphones and close your eyes for a minute. Try combining this with a body scan or conscious breathing to deepen the experience. Ask yourself, what is it like being in your body today?

3. Focus on one thing at a time

In yoga, one-pointed focus (Dharana) is traditionally practised to quiet the fluctuations of the mind and prepare for meditation. Try switching off your notifications, minimising your email window, and block out some time to work on something that you can give your full attention to.

4. Have a mindful lunch break

Leave your phone at your desk and let your lunch hour be a calming break in your day. As you sit down to eat, acknowledge where the food was grown and who prepared the meal. Take a moment to appreciate it, and any people you’re sharing the meal with.

5. Do some seated stretches

Notice where you’re holding tension in the body and start there. Try a few seated Cat-Cows, forward bends, neck rolls, and wrist stretches. Need some Desk Yoga inspiration? Read some of our favourite movement snacks or try our workshop. You can even set calendar reminders to make this a more regular occurrence.

6. Try some gentle breathwork

Practise a few minutes of diaphragmatic breathing. Place a hand on your belly and allow the abdomen to move in and out with the breath. If you find any tension there, try clenching for a couple of seconds and releasing to encourage the abdominals to relax.

7. Do some eye palming

Take regular screen breaks to reduce eye strain. Rub the palms together and place your warmed palms over your eyes. Become aware of any straining and allow the eyes to rest back and down into the sockets. Let the eyelids be heavy and relax the space between your brows.

8. Unwind at the end of the day

Wind down your workday with a restorative posture lying on your back. Support the head on a thin cushion, and place a large cushion behind the knees if lying flat. You can also try elevating the legs onto a chair or ottoman for Legs Up the Wall pose. Feel the weight of your body and the gentle pull of gravity.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading these suggestions. For even more ideas on how to make your workday more nourishing for your mind and body, try one of our desk-based yoga classes or workshops.