Yoga is one of the most widely adopted forms of exercise in the world. For decades, it has fueled the minds and bodies of incredible humans around the world, of all walks of life. The physical benefits of regular yoga practice are an obvious advantage of engaging in this form of exercise, but yoga enhances your body in a number of ways that are known to directly improve performance at work. We’ve rounded up seven ways you didn’t know yoga could make you better at your job and hope it will make you consider developing your own practice.
1. When timed right, yoga encourages better sleep
Cortisol-conscious workouts are being adapted more often into routines, since cortisol is one of the hormonal signals fired off throughout the day to keep your body’s natural clock or circadian rhythm, working. It is important to keep this clock in balance because lack of sleep, or poor sleeping patterns, is linked to numerous physiological and mental conditions and is a known cause of productivity issues at work.
Cortisol-conscious workouts perform best at the time of day that cortisol levels are higher (6 am or earlier in the morning), and allow you to work off calories at a rate that will not burn you out entirely. Not only is this great for muscle recovery, overall health, and weight loss, but it’s key to a good night’s sleep. Yoga is an incredible way to maintain a cortisol-conscious workout routine or to even out your more rigorous exercise regimen. Practicing yoga on a daily basis helps you fall asleep faster and experience increased quality and quantity of sleep, allowing you to stay awake during your lengthy business calls.
2. Yoga boosts your Immune System
Balancing cortisol within your body is a side effect of regular yoga that can help support immune function, keeping you healthy and alert in that office presentation or for the boardroom. Cortisol is considered the main, naturally circulating anti-inflammatory agent in the body. It helps regulate the function of white blood cells and other protective cells within the body and is something we rely on every day for natural, on-going health upkeep.
Not only that but incorporating different forms of breathwork within your yoga practice can physically cleanse your body and increase blood flow, enhancing your body’s natural rhythm within its systems. With regular practice, your breathing quality should increase, which is important during cold and flu season, especially this year.
3. Yoga enhances your brain
Four areas of the brain have been studied and are found to physically benefit from a regular yoga practice. The four areas that are affected work together to increase brain function and have been shown to improve cognitive function tests across the board. Think about how many ideas you’ll have for next week’s presentation!
4. Yoga relieves stress
In addition to enhancing your brain and improving mental function – and perhaps as a direct result – yoga calms your mind and does wonders to relieve stress. The less stressed you are, the lower your tendency to experience sleep problems like insomnia. Not to mention, reducing the symptoms of stress greatly enhances the cognitive function and performance of the over 6.8 million Americans who are affected by a generalized anxiety disorder.
5. Yoga boosts concentration abilities
Got a year-end report coming up? A quarterly review? A promotion to organize, source, and schedule out? Make sure you prepare for success as far out in advance as you can, incorporating even a short yoga practice regularly. Being able to focus on your breath and your movement while drowning out the world and any distractions around you is integral to the practice, and it is so difficult. The better you get at yoga, the better you can focus on tasks and see them through, a quality that is especially valuable during the holiday season.
6. Yoga encourages patience
As anyone who has been at their practice for a while can attest, yoga requires a lot of patience. You’re often not going to get a pose on the first try. Even if you emerged from the womb doing yoga, there will still always be a pose that challenges you or stretches your abilities. The patience you develop for yourself by doing yoga can drastically improve your relationships with clients and coworkers alike.
7. Yoga relieves physical pain
Since yoga is largely comprised of exaggerated stretching, yoga can – and does – incorporate natural physical therapy movements that help to engage your core muscles and a number of other body parts to help align and lengthen your spinal column and adjust your limbs and ligaments. Improved posture has been linked to a reduction in headaches and body aches that are known to curtail concentration. At the very least, a reduction in aches and pains should put you in a better mood while working at your desk.