Is your stress ball worn through? If tension at work is leading to tension in your muscles, it can affect your mood and performance. For quick relief and a little desk-side zen, take some cues from yoga.
Breathe: Angie Norris, co-founder of Philadelphia yoga hot spot Studio 34, reminds us to breathe -- and breathe slowly. "Slowing and deepening the breath stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and increases the flow of oxygen," she explains. "This translates into reduced stressed, increased relaxation and increased energy."
Stretch: To ease tension, stress and negative midafternoon thoughts, stretch it out. Nancy Byrd Radding, fitness director of The Oaks at Ojai spa in California, recommends this sequence: "Stand up. Breathe. Lift your arms up in Tall Mountain pose. Do a side stretch next -- one hand on the hip, the other arm over the head -- creating a crescent shape with the body. Stretch the eyes by looking slowly side to side, up and down, diagonally, and roll the eyes in circles. Stretch the neck by releasing each ear to its shoulder, then turn the neck side to side, up and down."
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Twist: Taylor Wells, president of Prana Power Yoga, praises the benefits of a simple, yet effective, spinal twist. You don't even need to get out of your seat for this one. "From seated, bring both feet flat on the floor," she instructs. "Place your hands on your arm rests and gently twist your torso to the right. Hold for five breaths and then take it back to center and to the other side."
To restore balance, Radding suggests this move: "Stand on one foot whenever possible -- during phone calls, in front of the copier. Simply tuck one foot around the opposite ankle and balance."