3 Yoga Practices for More Joy at Work

Confucius is credited with saying, "Be happy in your work." How very yoga of him. He was obviously in the flow when he made that historical remark about happiness.

Achieving ananda (bliss, happiness in each moment) is the yoga way. Even in a busy work environment, it is easy to include some of the following yoga exercises, practices and attitudes into your workplace every day.

Try some and feel the yoga difference at work. Create your own unique yoga methods that are even more effective by adjusting the suggested exercises to suit your physical work space and your personal work schedule.

Yoga Posture Exercises for Your Work Environment: Asana

Regular posture exercises are the primary study and practice of hatha yoga. Consider adding a morning and evening sun salutation exercise routine to each day and see the effect that has on your energy throughout the workday. The sun salutation series of postures can be done quickly, and the sequence of postures is quite easy to remember. The series is also a revitalizing exercise for a work break or lunch.

It is the yoga way to bring attention to our personal physical posture during work activities. To be in the flow, we must be comfortable in our physical work environment. Optimize the lighting, be certain that office equipment is at the right height and angle for you, and take breaks from repetitive tasks to adjust your posture and physically stretch.

Attention to the Breath of Yoga While at Work: Prana

Pranayama is also one of the main branches of hatha yoga, and it refers to the practice of breath exercise. The word prana is a Sanskrit word meaning "life force of all." Prana also means "breath." To pay attention to our breath more often while at work transforms our experience as our circulation increases and we literally are reenergized as more oxygen is supplied to body.

We want to breathe deeply and comfortably at all times during work. If we are seated comfortably, we are less likely to be sitting in a posture that impedes our breath. When work tasks feel routine, pay attention to your breath and be sure to breathe in a deep, relaxed and comfortable way.

Air quality in the workplace should be monitored; you should be working in a well-ventilated area. If your work situation allows for it, breaks and lunches should be spent outdoors or in a space with fresh air.

During work challenges, focus on your breath and notice that regular, deep, comfortable breath is often followed quickly by deescalation of stress, creative solutions to problems and inspired action that helps you to achieve workplace goals.

Cultivating Joy with a Yoga Attitude at Work: Ahimsa

To be happy in our work is such a vital goal for all of us; the yoga attitude of compassion toward self and others, known as ahimsa, creates many opportunities to bring more joy to your work.

Ahimsa informs the practical strategies and the postures mentioned above. While at work all of our actions should be taken carefully, with the goal of kindness toward self and others as a primary motive for movement.

All workplaces experience challenges, crises and conflict. Sometimes challenges arise due to too many tasks at one time; other times, the biggest crisis an employee faces is boredom — lack of energy and lack of bliss. The attitude of ahimsa allows us to leverage our personal power in the workplace and make changes to the physical work environment and the work schedule that promote healthier, happier work.

By engaging in dialogue with team members and taking direct action to improve schedules and work procedures, positive changes toward ahimsa lead to happier work. Participate in meetings and contribute ideas to be the change that reduces work stress.

To be compassionate at work also means to be kind to ourselves. Reviewing personal goals and professional goals; comparing corporate values and corporate actions; taking a compassionate and intelligent look at our workplace — these are the yoga ways that lead to ananda at work.

Mary Sabo