“A question that I get asked a lot is, ‘What is the best way to reduce stress and to reduce it really fast?’ The best thing that I can offer to you, and the best thing that yoga offers, is the breath.” - MaryJoanna Grisso, Yoga Expert
We brought in yoga expert MaryJoanna Grisso to give you the best exercises out there to boost your energy, get you through the 3 p.m. wall without caffeine, and decrease your stress, all from the comfort of your office. Try two of her favorite Pranayama sequences below and her Mini Sun Salutation.
(in Hindu yoga) the regulation of the breath through certain techniques and exercises.
when you need a little boost
All you need is a bit of room for your arms and some space between you and your desk and you’re ready to flow. Be sure to attach your breath to the movement as breath allows your body to relax and your mind to quiet.
Decreases your stress.
Boosts your energy.
Opens up your hips.
Stretches out your neck and legs from sitting all day.
Relieves tension and tightness in the lower back.
Stand with your feet directly under your hips. As you inhale, lift your hands up overhead and bring them into a prayer position.
As you exhale, forward fold over your legs, bending at the knees. Allow yourself to melt fully over.
Take a few breaths there, slowly shaking your head side to side and swaying your hips back and forth.
On your next inhale, find a halfway lift. Your arms can either dangle in front of you or touch your shins. Find a nice flat back position and elongate the spine. Take a few breaths in this position.
As you exhale, fold forward once more while dropping the head and elongating the neck and spine.
On your inhale, press your feet into the floor and lift all the way up and through to stand. You can repeat this sequence as many times as you’d like.
curb the 3pm crash, hold the coffee
This pranayama is called Bhastrika, or Bellows Breath. It is a vigorous, dynamic, breath which strengthens the nervous system, increases physical vitality, and enhances clarity of mind, by bringing oxygen to the brain and bringing mobility to the spine. This is an excellent sequence for when you’re hitting a wall at the office and need a little boost in your day. Some say this Pranayama exercise is equivalent to drinking a cup of coffee by bringing oxygen to your brain and stretching your spine at the same time.
Boosts your energy.
Strengthens your nervous system.
Increases your physical vitality.
Enhances your clarity of mind.
Stretches out your spine.
To prepare, take a big inhale in. Send your breath out through a little tube and feel how strong that breath needs to be when you exhale.
For the exercise, when you breathe out, you’ll keep your lips closed, but you’ll keep the idea of that nice strong exhale.
Add your breath to movement. With each quick inhale, you’ll find a small arch in your back. With each exhale, you’ll have a rounding of the spine, as the belly button draws inward towards the spine. You’ll move through each breath quickly, with strong inhales and exhales.
Close your eyes and allow your head to become gently involved in the motion.
When you’ve finished 30 pulses, inhale all the way in, gently bring your chin towards your heart, and hold the breath for about 8 counts. After 8 counts, drop the shoulders and exhale deeply through your mouth.
Breath naturally for a few breaths and repeat the sequence once or twice more for an extra boost of energy.
This is a simple Pranayama exercise that only requires you and your breath. The more we inhale and exhale, the more our brain signals our body that it can relax. The next time you have a huge presentation or are feeling overwhelmed, try taking a minute or two to sit and breathe.
Decreases your stress.
Sends oxygen to your brain.
Find a comfortable place where you can sit, close your eyes, and maybe even throw on those fancy new headphones and put on some gentle music. Allow yourself to bring attention to your breath.
Inhale with closed lips for 4 counts. Exhale with closed lips for 8 counts. Try to keep your focus on your breath, letting other thoughts go as quickly as they come. Repeat as many times as necessary.