Yoga in the Office

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

I am an executive in a very large enterprise, where without calling it yoga I have introduced some asanas and a few stages of antar mouna. I can already see the effect in the quality of the meetings, the spirit, and the ideas. I am not sure how much more I should introduce. What would you advise?

When people sit on chairs certain practices for the reduction of cerebral and nervous tension are very useful for executives and workers whose work is table-oriented. You approach them for the reduction of cerebral and nervous tension, not physical and mental tension.

If people sit and, for five minutes, observe the breath and develop sound awareness, not of the mantra So Ham, just the sound of breathing, that will reduce cerebral and nervous tension. If there is too much pressure from work, then bhramari pranayama will stimulate melatonin which will reduce tension. People will feel more relaxed and peaceful thanks to the release of melatonin.

When somebody is sick at home and you are at work with half of your mind at home it creates intellectual or emotional pressures. For such a situation you can take the businesspeople through visualizations of sceneries which give peace and tranquility. such as a beach, a sunset or a mountain. They don’t have to worry about the breath, they don’t have to worry about anything.

Nadi shodhana, alternate nostril breathing, is also useful. They don’t have to use the hand, they can just mentally visualize it: imagine that you are breathing in, breathing out. Breathing in, breathing out. Breathing in, breathing out. It is a mental activity, not a physical one.

At the time of anxiety, stress and tension, there are three areas of the body which become tight: the perineum, the abdomen and the neck and shoulders. Therefore, when you are sitting on a chair, you should become aware of these three areas and consciously release all the muscles which are tight. If you are unable to release the tension in any of these areas, then you have to go into deep abdominal breathing mode: expansion, breathe in, relaxing, breathe out.

There are other practices for computer database managers which they can do while sitting on a chair. These are the head, finger and hand exercises from the pawanmuktasana series 1. This will increase their productivity as their fingers will become more relaxed. The tightness and the micro-movement will change. Definitely for people working with computers, the hand and head movements are very good.

When exercising the toes as in pawanmuktasana 1, they only have to remove their shoes. There is no need to take off the socks. If some people would like to stretch, then tadasana will help release the pressure from the spine as sitting affects the lower back and the circulation.

—21 February 2016, Satsang with Swami Yogabhakti and the group from France, Ganga Darshan, Munger