5 Reasons You Should Use a Yoga Ball Chair at Work

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First of all, what the heck is a yoga ball chair? It’s simply a yoga or exercise ball that fits into a chair frame. Some allow you to adjust the height, some have casters, and others have backrests for the upper back. They don’t look comfortable, but they are. What’s more, they can help with the aches and pains of sitting in an office chair all day, every day.

As the ball is the seat, you need to make slight adjustments to keep yourself balanced. While you may not even realize you are doing this, you will notice as you use it more because these stabilizing adjustments give your core and thigh muscles a passive workout. These are just a couple of the benefits of using a yoga ball chair as your desk chair. Below we’ll outline even more reasons why you should use one of these at your desk.

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Aligns the spine

As you need to stay balanced on the ball of the chair, you naturally sit up straight rather than slouching, which is typical in a regular office chair. Our brain recognizes that we are somewhat “unstable” and so keeps our spines in proper alignment in case we need to suddenly adjust our position. This alone eases back pain.

Enforces movement

One reason for stiff, sore muscles after sitting all day is because we hold the same position for hours at a time. But when sitting on a ball, we are forced to make micro-movements to stay balanced and stable. These small movements are just enough to keep our blood from pooling in certain areas of the body which keeps it from circulating, causing pain

Boosts Energy

Ever feel sluggish and lethargic after a day at the office? This is not only caused by consistent mental stress, but also from staying in one seated position for extended periods of time. Using a yoga ball chair increases
your movement naturally, as mentioned earlier, which keeps your energy higher throughout the day.

Burns calories

It turns out, those micro-movements end up burning around 350 more calories every 8 hours than would occur when sitting in a normal chair. This strengthens your core and burns calories. What else could you ask for in a chair?

Improves circulation

When we sit in a chair for 8 hours each day, our circulation is in effect cut off, causing our legs or feet to go numb or feel heavy once we get up to move. When using a yoga ball chair, you have the micro-movements working for you, but you are also in better alignment, so your blood can flow more freely rather than pooling in your lower extremities.

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How Yoga Naturally Improves Work Satisfaction 

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Yoga in the work place not only lowers stress levels, but it also boosts positive work relations and reduces days lost due to illness. But did you know that participating in a yoga class during work hours also improves work satisfaction?

According to one survey, more than 53% of corporations are adding yoga classes in-house to take advantage of the many benefits yoga offers—happy employees are just good business.

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Beats Stress

Studies show that the one major reason for work dissatisfaction is highstress levels. Too much stress makes employees susceptible to illness and injury, not to mention sleep deprivation, which lowers mood and motivation. Being stressed out all the time means we make more simple mistakes and are less engaged in tasks, which is obviously part of work satisfaction. Completing a few basic yoga poses and breathing exercises daily can lower stress naturally.

Lessens Physical Ailments

Anyone who has ever worked an office job knows how staring at a screen all day while sitting at a desk negatively impacts motivation and focus in a variety of ways. Yoga gives our bodies a chance to move and stretch to keep us active and fit and keeps the tight neck and shoulders at bay, increasing our morale in the office.

Improves Focus

Daily work stress and long hours can cause us to lose our concentration and be distracted by unimportant tasks. Doing short, easy meditations and deep-breathing yoga exercises can quiet the noisy voices in your head that keep you anxious and overwhelmed. These simple techniques improve and regulate oxygen in your bloodstream, making you more alert, focused and happy.

Relieves Fatigue and Improves Energy

As our work hours grow longer, it becomes almost impossible to not succumb to fatigue and burnout. We might not even be aware how much stress and not enough downtime impact our energy levels, not to mention our zest for living. By adding a few yoga poses and quiet meditation time to our day, we can lower fatigue, raise our energy level and our mood. This means more work satisfaction and general happiness with our lot in life.

Enhances Mood and Attitude

You just can’t help but feel happier when you are less stressed, more energized and more creative—it all goes hand in hand. And yoga provides this for everyone. The practice of yoga has lasted for millennia for a reason. It provides mental, emotional and physical benefits in just minutes a day. Spending your breaks enjoying stretching and breathing exercises can do wonders for your work and personal life by improving your mood and attitude.

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5 Ways Yoga Improves Work Productivity

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Happy, healthy employees are more focused and productive, which should come as no surprise. But it’s taken the corporate world a long time to figure this out. Research shows that the average company spends approximately $14,000 annually for each employee on medically-related productivity costs.

However, companies who offer yoga and other wellness programs to employees reduce this rate drastically, lowering their health insurance premiums and improving their profitability. Yoga provides many benefits to employees, all of which add up to more focused and productive workers.

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Alleviates Physical Ailments

Who can focus on work tasks when they are constantly thinking about and dealing with chronic aches, pains, and stiffness? Yoga relieves the symptoms of common to those who sit at a desk all day, including carpal tunnel, shoulder stiffness, neck strain and daily headaches. Eliminating these body stressors frees up the mind so employees can concentrate on their job duties.

Increases Energy/Reduces Fatigue

Sitting for hours on end creates stress in the body by slowing blood circulation, among other things. In fact, one study demonstrated that sitting for five or more hours a day not only greatly reduces productivity, but negatively impacts the health of the individual to the tune of smoking a pack of cigarettes. This has clear implications for employers—both short-term as well as long-term. Companies who offer employees yoga classes on site can make a huge difference in the lives of their employees, while at the same time, profiting from it.

Relieves Stress

Mental and emotional stress from a job affects employees daily; this stress builds up and causes chronic health issues that employers end up paying for via health insurance premiums. Companies may not be able to provide less stressful jobs, depending on their industry, but they can provide yoga classes that elevate stress so that it doesn’t build up, leading employees to need to take more time off due to illness and injury. Consider one statistic: It’s estimated that 90% of all doctors’ visits are stress related. That says it all.

Improves Concentration & Focus

Spending hours each day fighting fires and deadlines is enough to make even the most peaceful person feel scattered and overwhelmed. By implementing yoga meditations and breathing exercises, employees can more readily enjoy an uncluttered mind, which leads to better decision making, fewer basic mistakes, and more creative thinking.

Increases Positivity/Morale

We are all more friendly and helpful when we feel physically, emotionally and mentally healthy. This holds true in the workplace as well. Employees work together more congenially and energetically when they feel balanced and supported through wellness programs that include yoga. This high morale impacts employee interactions with one another, but also with clients.

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Quick and Effective Meditations for the Office

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When most people hear the word “meditation,” they imagine someone with a long, flowing beard sitting in the lotus position for hours at a time. While there certainly are people like that in the world, most of us are laypeople who go to work each day and may not feel we have hours to dedicate to a meditation practice.

You may be surprised to learn that even 10 minutes of meditation is beneficial to our minds, bodies, and emotions. These quick mediations are ones you can work into your workday at regular intervals or when you feel you need a mental timeout.

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Hear the Gong

One simple way to build up a consistent meditation practice is to set a timer to go off at pre-set times during the day. When you hear the gong or ding, you stop what you are doing. Close your eyes and focus on your breath for a couple of minutes. Feel yourself in your body and relax any tight places that you may be experiencing. Then, go back to work feeling refreshed and clear-headed.

There are several apps and meditation timers online that you can add to your desktop and set up to go off when you chose. These frequent, short moments of mental and physical rest do wonders for your focus and peacefulness, even when things are busy. One popular app is the free Insight Timer.

Peel an Orange

Okay, it doesn’t need to be an orange, just one of your favorite fruits. Take a five-minute break, even if you just stay at your desk, and put aside everything but your fruit snack. Deeply experience how it feels to peel back the rind. Smell the sweet, citrus scent that explodes into the air once the orange peel has been broken. No slowly bring a section up to your mouth, feeling your arm moving through space and your hand holding the textured fruit. Feel the juice squirt into your mouth as you bite down. You won’t be able to keep from smiling. This simple
experience puts the day’s events in perspective and helps bring you back to the moment, where peace lives. !

Scan your Body

Our society encourages us to live in our heads, and most of us do that all too well. We forget that we live in a body until it reminds us by feeling sick or painful. Every couple of hours, stop what you are doing and close your eyes, resting your hands on your thighs. Starting at the top of your head, scan slowly down your body noticing how each part of you feels. Are there places that are hot, cold, tight or relaxed?

There’s no need to do anything about the feelings. Just notice them. When you put your attention on them, they will naturally release tension, warm up or whatever is needed. This scan takes only a few minutes but helps you reconnect with your body, helping you gain perspective and experience life more fully.

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5 Top Yoga Apps to Use at the Office

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Not everyone is fortunate enough to work for a corporation that offers free yoga classes for their employees on-site. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do yoga at work.

These top 5 apps make it a breeze to take yoga with you wherever you go…including the office.

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Simply Yoga

This app is great for beginners who want to ease into a practice without others around. Expert instructors demonstrate a variety of over 30 poses, while the preset routines offer users a choice of 20, 40 or 60 minutes. Plus, it’s easy to follow along since this app provides audio that guides you through each step of a pose. The basic app is free, but you can get it even more great stuff with the premium upgrade option.

Daily Yoga

This app focuses on making yoga a part of your daily routine by offering lots of options for the beginner to the advanced practitioner. It also allows you to set goals for yourself, such as learning to meditate or toning your body. If you are looking to improve your overall fitness, you can also take advantage of the other options available with the app, like Pilates. They add new workouts each month, and you can customize your own program and even track different aspects of your fitness like calories burned. The basic app is free, but you can get it even more great stuff with the premium upgrade option.

Universal Breathing—Pranayama

One aspect of yoga is using the breath to steady the mind or pranayama. This app offers courses to help you practice breathing to lift your mood, boost energy, reduce stress and anxiety. The app courses guide you with animations and music to assist in reaching your peak mental health. The cost for this app is $4.99

Pocket Yoga

This app offers users both audio and video instructions as you move through each pose, including pranayama exercises. They have 27 different programs so that you can choose the level of difficulty that’s right for you, and if you are unsure about proper alignment for a pose, you can view their 200 illustrated poses to ensure you are getting the full benefit of your practice. The app automatically tracks your practice, which makes it a breeze to track your progress. This app costs $2.99.

Yoga.com Studio

This well-designed and popular app offers a wide array of programs (37 in total) and gives you the next-best yoga experience than a class—HD videos that show each pose. They provide nearly 400 postures and breathing exercises in their library and 3D muscle images to gain a fuller understanding of how each pose builds and works your body. This app is free for Android and $3.99 for iPhone.

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Unexpected Ways Yoga Can Build Your Career

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While we talk about how yoga improves productivity and focus, it does way more than that. Many people say it changes their lives, building their self-confidence to pursue their dreams and find serenity they never knew was possible. These changes offer amazing self-development options, but also ways to build your career in ways you hadn’t expected.

Clearly, yoga is about much more than a workout routine. It’s about bringing mind and body together to work in harmony, and what we learn about ourselves when practicing yoga can be used to build a career we love.

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Yoga Helps You Deal with Stressful Situations

When you become more aware of the way your mind and body work together, you more quickly and easily notice when a stressor is triggering you. With this understanding, you can deal with the stress sooner rather than later so that it doesn’t build up, causing you to react in ways that aren’t beneficial to anyone.

Yoga also gives you the tools to help you work through stressful situations, no matter what they are. You understand that you can choose to be calm by utilizing yoga meditations and breathing when things get tense.

Yoga Teaches You to Surrender to What Is

Usually, our natural reaction to things we don’t like is to fight it. We lash out or complain and make ourselves miserable. Much of what happens to us in our daily lives can’t be fixed or changed, at least by us. Yoga helps you discover the peace within that you can choose rather than rallying against the impossible. Deadlock work traffic, impossible deadlines, timewasting meetings.

These things are irritating, but they need not be as stressful as we make them out to be. By tapping into our inner stillness, that yoga demonstrates that we each have, we can surrender to the way things are and still be content and happy.

Teaches you to be Okay with Your Limitations

Our society teaches us to struggle and strive to be perfect in every way. Anything else is complete and utter failure. Yoga proves this ingrained belief fruitless and ridiculous. In yoga class, no one can do every pose perfectly from the get-go. Even long-time instructors will admit to having certain poses that don’t come easily to them.

Yoga encourages us to be content right where we are and to be gentle with ourselves as we continue to improve on all aspects of our lives, including work duties. Yoga shows us that there is no need for struggle, but that by being compassionate and patient with ourselves, we can do amazing things.

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Yoga Your Way to a Better Work-Life Balance

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Too many of us put off any time of self-care because we are too busy at work and have too many responsibilities and obligations once we’re off the clock. Yoga can offer deep self-care, but when do we find the time to practice? How about at the office? You don’t have to have 90 minute stretches to get the mental and physical benefits of yoga. In fact, it’s extremely helpful in many ways to break up that time into smaller sessions throughout the day.

If you are looking for a way to have a more balanced life, which means enjoying both work and play more, put down your smartphone and pick up your yoga mat on your breaks. You can get some great stretches in during a 10-minute break. And it will really be a break—unlike gossiping around the water cooler or eating a bag of chips from the vending machine.

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Doing yoga at work, whether your company offers classes on-site or not, does much more for you than make you a more productive worker. It brings you a deep peace and helps you deal with the stressors of life easier. In other words, it helps you balance your work and life better. Here’s how:

Makes You More Positive

Yoga naturally lowers depression and anxiety. When you are consistently happier, you can deal with any upsets in your work and life easier, with less reaction and stress.

Promotes Better Sleep

Most of us don’t get the amount or quality of sleep we need to rejuvenate, so we are ready for the day ahead. The effects of sleep deprivation are a vicious cycle—we overreact more quickly, we make poor decisions, and we devalue our relationships. Yoga promotes a more restful sleep so you can break this cycle.

Improves Self-Confidence

When you take a close look at your life, you may realize you tolerate a great deal that you are unhappy about. Much of the time we tolerate situations because we don’t have the confidence to make the changes needed. Yoga builds our self-confidence so that we are more easily able to stand up for ourselves and take chances on our dreams, rather than living small and under someone else’s vision for our life.

Helps you honor yourself It can be tough to stop working when there’s so much to do. People in the West work more hours now than ever before, and we aren’t better for it. Yoga develops a stronger sense of honor for yourself so that you can delineate more easily between work time and lifetime. At the end of the day, life is about much more than work, and yoga helps us take advantage of everything life has to offer.

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2 Yoga Breathing Techniques that Improve Focus at Work

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Breathing exercises or pranayama is a vital part of any yoga practice. Use these techniques at work when you can’t seem to get focused or when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

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Nadi Shodhana pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

This breathing exercise is used to cleanse and rejuvenate your Nadi or subtle life force channel. It relieves pent-up stress in the body and soothes the nervous system, so you feel calm and can concentrate with laser focus.

Sit up straight and relax your shoulders. Connect the tips of your index and middle fingers of your right hand in between your eyebrows and place your touching ring and little finger on your left nostril and your thumb on your right nostril.

Inhale deeply and then gently press your thumb down on your right nostril so that no air can escape. Now, inhale in through your left nostril and then press the left nostril closed with your ring and little fingers. Remove your thumb from your right nostril and breathe out from the right nostril. Next, breathe in through your right nostril and exhale from the left.

Now you have completed one complete round of Nadi Shodhana pranayama. Complete nine rounds by breathing alternately between the nostrils as you did above. You may wish to keep your eyes closed during this pranayama to further relax your nervous system by closing down stimulation through the eyes. Practice breathing this way deeply and smoothly.

Bhramari pranayama (Bee breath)

This pranayama helps you bring your mind back to the present moment when your mind is scattered or overwhelmed. Bee breath wards off unnecessary thoughts and drives you to the present moment. Being in the present allows you focus on the job at hand instead of thinking about past or future.

You will hum the sound “hmmm” which is part of the “Om” sound—the healing sound of the universe. Practicing this breathing exercise allows you to reset your mind so you can focus on the now. It will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your next project.

Sit up nice and tall and close your eyes. With your eyes closed, observe the sensations in your body. Go within and find your stillness. After a few minutes, gently place your index fingers on the cartilage on your ears to close them.

Now, take a deep breath in and as you exhale, close up your ears by gently pressing on the cartilage and begin humming with the sound a bee makes in a high pitched tone. Continue breathing in and then on the exhalation, humming. Do this three to five times.

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