Desktop Yoga

Yoga and meditation certainly have proven to be effective tools to lessen stress and provide a sense of calm that cannot be achieved through conventional exercise. So what about those stress-filled days at the office when you are unable to concentrate on work because of outside distractions? You can perform yoga right at your desk if you want! Let’s look at "desktop yoga".

Whether you're a high-powered executive or an administrative assistant with your boss’s problems becoming your own, many people in the business world experience an inordinate amount of stress at the office. It would be nice to have a quiet place to practice conventional yoga techniques, but that isn't always possible. Yoga experts have devised a way for you to do a short yoga program right at your desk.

Try these exercises to Des-tress at the office.

1.Sit up tall in your chair, or if possible stand up. Stretch your arms overhead and interlock your fingers, turn the palms to the ceiling. Take a deep breathe in and on the exhale extend your side torso and take the tips of the shoulder blades into the body. Take another deep breathe and on the exhale stretch to the right, inhale come up and exhale stretch to the left.

2.On an inhale, lift your shoulders up to your ears and then exhale and let them drop. Repeat 3 times. Contract the shoulder muscle fully when you lift your shoulders up and then on the drop it will release more completely.

3.Stand (or sit at your desk) with your feet planted firmly in the ground. Inhale and raise the arms out to the side, palms down. Exhale and rotate the palms up, rolling the shoulders back. Take an inhale and on the exhale, bend the elbows in toward the waist. Inhale and on the exhale bring the palms to the belly. This exercise helps to open the chest and extend the upper back.

4.Take your hands behind your back and interlock the fingers, stretching the shoulders back, opening the chest. Take several breaths. Make sure that your head stays in the mid-line and that your eye gaze is on the horizon.

5.Stand by the wall, extend your right arm and place the palm on the wall with the fingers up. On an exhale, turn your chest away, taking the shoulder blade into the torso.

6.Stand by your desk and place your palms on the desk top with the fingers pointing toward your body. Gently stretch the lower arm and wrist.

7.Wrap the right arm around the torso and place your right hand on the left shoulder with the elbow at chest height and facing forward. Put your left hand on the right elbow and on an exhale, stretch it toward the left, opening between the shoulder blades. Hold for several breaths and then release. Repeat on the other side

8.Reach the right arm into the air and on an exhale bend the elbow and reach your fingers down the back, between the shoulder blades. Place the left hand on the elbow and on an exhale gently pull the elbow to the left. Relax the ribs and hold for several breaths. Release and repeat on the other side

9.Hug your arms around your chest and then put one elbow underneath the other, the hand facing toward each other and fingers to the ceiling. Exhale and slowly raise the arms so that the elbows come up to the height of the shoulder, keep the shoulders down. Repeat on the other side.

10.Sit on your chair and pull back away from the desk, resting your palms on the desk top and extend your side torso. Lift the ribs up, let the shoulder blades slide towards the desk, and make sure the head is extended from the spine with the chin towards the chest.

11.Sit on your chair, feet planted firmly in the floor, sitting bones pressing into the chair. Extend the side torso, and twist to the right (on an exhale), one hand on back to chair, one hand on the side of the chair. Hold for a few breaths and then repeat the other side.

12.Sit forward on your chair and open the legs a little wider than the hips. Lean forward from the hips and drop your torso down. Let the head and arms hang down toward the floor.

13.Sit upright in your chair with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Press your sitting bones down into the chair and extend the side torso. Relax your shoulders. Place your palms on your knees and spread the fingers wide. Take a deep breath in and on the exhale extend your tongue to your chin; focus your eyes to your nose. Inhale and bring the tongue back into the mouth. Exhale and stick the tongue out again and this time focus the eyes up to your forehead. Repeat 3 times.

14.Sit upright on chair, relax your shoulders and extend the side torso up. Relax your facial muscles, the jaw and tongue. Circle the eyes clockwise 8 times and counter-clockwise 8 times. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for a few slow breaths.

You may want to try a quick relaxation meditation to wrap up this session just as a way to refresh and regroup.

Yoga can be used for more than simple De-stressing. It can also be used to alleviate the symptoms of everyday ailments without the use of medication.

The Practice of Om Yoga Meditation

1) Sit upright, comfortable and relaxed, with your hands on your knees or thighs or resting, one on the other, in your lap.

2) Breathe naturally. Your mouth should be closed so that all breathing is done through the nose. This aids in quieting the mind. Though your mouth is closed, the jaw muscles should be relaxed so the upper and lower teeth are not clenched or touching one another, but parted.

3) Gently turn your eyes upward as though looking at a point far distant. But do not strain or try to force your eyes to turn up to a degree that is uncomfortable. Then gently close them–do not squeeze them tight. This removes visual distractions and reduces your brain-wave activity by about seventy-five percent, thus helping to calm the mind. It also stimulates superconscious awareness as will be explained soon.

4) Be aware of your breath naturally (automatically) flowing in and out as you breathe through your nose. Your breathing should always be easeful and natural, not deliberate or artificial.

5) Now begin mentally intoning (“singing” on a single note) Om once throughout each inhalation and once throughout each exhalation. Fit the intonations to the breath–not the breath to the intonations. If the breath is short, then the intonation should be short. If the breath is long, then the intonation should be long. Make sure the O and the M get approximately “equal time”–Oooommmm, not Oommmmmm or Oooooomm. Don’t torture yourself about this–approximately equal is good enough, and in time your intonations will automatically occur in this right manner. Also, your intonation of Om should begin when your inhalation/exhalation begins and end when it ends. In this way your intonations should be virtually continuous, not with long breaks between them.

That is: OommOommOommOomm, or Oomm-Oomm-Oomm- Oomm, rather than Oomm…Oomm…Oomm…Oomm. Here, too, approximately continuous is sufficient.

6) For the rest of your meditation time keep on intoning Om in this manner–in time with the breath–listening to your inner intonations of Om. This enables you to enter effortlessly into the Witness Consciousness that is your finite spirit within the Infinite Spirit that is God.

7) In time your inner mental intonations of Om may change to a more mellow or softer form, even to an inner whispering, but Om is always fully present and effective. Your intonations may even become silent, like a soundless “mouthing” of Om, yet you will still be intoning Om in your intention. Amazingly Om can become a silent sound, as you can experience for yourself. But of this be sure: Om never ceases. Never. You may find that your intonations of Om move back and forth from more objective to more subtle and back to more objective. Just intone in the manner that is natural at the moment.

8) In the same way you will find that your breath will also become more subtle and refined, and slow down. Sometimes your breath can become so light that it almost seems as though you are not breathing at all. At such times you may perceive that your inhaling and exhaling are more like a magnetic pull in and out instead of actual breath movements. This occurs as the prana that produces the breath switches back and forth in polarity from positive to negative.

9) In Om Yoga we do not deliberately concentrate on any particular point of the body such as the “third eye,” as we want the subtle energies of Om to be free to manifest themselves as is best at the moment. However, as you meditate, you may become aware of one or more areas of your brain or body at different times. This is all right when they come and go spontaneously, but keep centered on your intonations of Om.

10) Thoughts, impressions, memories, inner sensations, and suchlike may also arise during meditation. Be calmly aware of all these things in a detached and objective manner, but keep your attention centered in your intonations of Om in time with your breath. Do not let your attention become centered on or caught up in any inner or outer phenomena. Om can also produce peace, awareness and quiet joy in your mind as well as soothing radiations of energy in the physical and subtle bodies. Be calmly aware of all these things in a detached and objective manner–they are part of the transforming work of Om, and are perfectly all right–but keep your attention centered in your intonations of Om in time with your breath. Even though something feels very right or good when it occurs, it should not be forced or hung on to. The sum and substance of it all is this: It is not the experience we are after, but the effect.

11) If you find yourself getting restless, distracted, “fuzzy,” anxious or tense in any degree, just take a deep breath and let it out fully, feeling that you are releasing and breathing out all tensions, and continue as before.

12) Remember: Om Yoga meditation basically consists of three things: a) sitting with the eyes turned up and then closed; b) being aware of our breath as it moves in and out, and c) mentally intoning Om in time with the breathing and listening to those mental intonations–all in a relaxed and easeful manner, without strain.

13) At the end of your meditation time, keep on intoning Om in time with your breath as you go about your various activities. Since you cannot keep your eyes turned up outside meditation, as much as is possible or practical try to keep a general awareness of the “thousandpetalled lotus” of the brain all the time, feeling that the breath and Om are taking place there. In this way you can keep “near” the Chidakasha state you experience in meditation.