The Benefits of Yoga for Workplace Wellness & Stress Relief 

Yoga has numerous benefits for physical and psychological wellness, making it an ideal choice for people looking to improve their overall wellbeing. 

Posture Plus Director Judith Anne Gould shares the benefits of yoga, including increased energy, reduced stress, improved physical wellbeing, improved posture, increased resilience to stress, and improved breathing patterns. 

The Benefits of Yoga

1. Increased Energy

A sedentary lifestyle and working long hours decreases blood circulation and increases muscle tension which leads to fatigue and lowers your energy levels. While getting up and moving around regularly is an excellent idea, even very gentle yoga stretches at your desk will increase your blood circulation and help reduce fatigue.

2. Reduce Stress

Stress is one of the main contributing factors affecting productivity in the workplace. Not only does this have a personal cost, companies also literally pay for the extra sick leave stress can cause. Many studies have shown that increased stress leads to increased absenteeism, staff turnover, and accidents at work. Research has shown that yoga is able to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone as well as lower inflammatory markers.

3. Increased Physical Well Being

Yoga movements and poses are designed to improve flexibility, stretch out tight muscles and improve strength thereby helping to prevent musculo-skeletal injuries. It is a highly beneficial adjunct to other sports and hobbies such as golf, tennis and running. 

4. Improved Posture

Hours spent in front of the computer and even more hours looking down at your phone have serious effects on your spinal posture – particularly your neck. Yoga poses and movements help relieve pain by stretching tight muscles, mobilising stiff joints and strengthening postural muscles.

5. Improved Resilience to Stress

The meditation aspect of yoga is a useful skill to develop as it can help you cope with everyday stresses both at work and home. Your mind will be clearer, enabling you to be more productive, more focussed and alert. A more stable mood will not only help you remain calm and be able to reason rather than react to stressful situations but will also have a calming effect on those around you. 

6. Improved Breathing Patterns

Our natural breathing pattern has been altered over the last few years due to the long term use of masks. We have had to use more neck muscle activity to assist us to breathe in, we’ve been over breathing, and breathing more through our mouth as opposed to our nose. This can lead to neck pain, hyperventilation, as well as a lack of filtration, warming and humidifying of the air we breathe.  More relaxed and effective breathing patterns lead to relaxation of the neck muscles, improved lung capacity and increased levels of oxygen in our blood.

Try These Exercises At Your Desk

Here are 2 modified yoga exercises that can be done at your desk, making it easy to incorporate yoga into your daily routine if you are a desk worker.

1. Spinal Twist

  • Sitting slightly forward in your chair, sit up straight and tall, feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your left hand on the left arm rest (or the seat of the chair) and place your right hand on the outside of your left knee. 
  • Lengthen through your spine and gently twist to the left. 
  • Have a deep breath in and then twist a little further if you can.  
  • Slowly breathe out as you return to your start position and then repeat on the other side.

2. Spinal Extension

  • Same position as the Spinal Twist exercise listed above
  • Hands clasped behind your head.
  • Breathe in and lift your chest to the ceiling and while opening your elbows wide.
  • Breath out and return to the start position.

Things To Consider / Contraindications

As with any activity there will be some people who should avoid specific movements and this is the case with some yoga poses. Make sure you speak with your yoga instructor or health care professional if you have any specific health issues or concerns about a pose and ask how it can be modified or if an alternative be provided.  

Some of the common conditions which may limit your ability to perform a yoga position include hypertension, wrist problems, pregnancy, eye conditions, heartburn, musculoskeletal disorders and bone density issues such as osteopenia and osteoporosis. If in doubt, always ask your physiotherapist or physician before you attempt a pose.

Yoga can be an excellent way to improve your physical and mental wellbeing, and some exercises fairly easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Whether you’re at home or work, you can do modified yoga exercises at your desk to help you feel more energized, less stressed, and more productive.

Need Any Help? Reach Out to Us!

If you have been struggling with musculoskeletal injuries, conditions or discomfort, and would like further advice on treatment and rehabilitation, feel free to reach out to us!

Our team of physiotherapists are professional and experienced in working with clients of all ages. Treatment plans are always personalised to each client’s recovery needs. Working with our physios, you will receive a detailed assessment to fully understand the root cause and identify areas requiring treatment. From there, we then develop a program to help clients return to full mobility and function, with advice on exercises and activities to minimise the risk of re-injury.

Written by Judith Anne Gould

BPhty, University of Queensland, 1987
BPhty(Hons), University of Queensland, 1988
MPhil Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 2001
Registered Physiotherapist (HK & AUS)
Member of the Australian Physiotherapy Association

Judith is the founder of Posture Plus Hong Kong, She has over 35 years of experience in musculoskeletal rehabilitation and holds degrees from the University of Queensland and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Throughout her career, Judith has successfully treated a variety of work-related and sports-related injuries, from professional athletes to members of the armed forces in Australia and Saudi Arabia. Since moving to Hong Kong in 1994, she has continued to enhance her expertise by completing Pilates training certifications, training numerous physiotherapists in the Bionketic Exercise Technique (B.E.T), and working as a research assistant at HKPU. She has also formulated and designed the Pilates Plus training programme, which utilizes Pilates equipment to improve how people move in order to prevent or change postural dysfunctions that contribute to pain, discomfort or stiffness.

Judith is passionate about helping her clients achieve optimal physical health and wellbeing through personalized treatment plans and holistic approaches.

View Judith’s full profile here.

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