Yoga in Practice

Mindfulness and Meditation at Work - Do you ever wonder how you could bring your Yoga practice into the workplace? Perhaps, the company you work for, scoffs at the idea of Yoga in work. Here is a way to be at peace with yourself and practice Yoga without drawing attention to it.

In some companies, mentioning meditation, Pranayama, and mindfulness practice, during work hours, might get you called into the “front office” for a lecture on company policy. This is a shame because these Yogic practices would help many companies become more productive, focused, and create an atmosphere of harmony for everyone.

The largest causes of production loss, at work, are daily distractions and absenteeism. As we know, many employees need a break from work; and the more stress, within the workplace, the more time employees will take off.

Some forward-thinking companies have introduced Yoga classes, during lunch or during an extended break. However, if your company does not have a Yoga program for its employees - let's think about practicing Pranayama alone. The concepts of natural breath are understood more easily than mindfulness for many students of Yoga.

Natural Breath is a Yogic form of Pranayama - where your stomach rises on the inhalation and the navel draws inward during exhalation. This sounds simple enough, but practicing this Yoga breathing technique, during stressful situations, and being mindful of it, is a task within itself.

What is the benefit of Pranayama during work? Your blood pressure will be more stable and you will be able to function more rationally during work hours. Once your breath becomes steady, you can make a regular habit of being mindful about it. There are other forms of Pranayama, but it may be wise to avoid the noisy variations, which management, and your co-workers, might not approve.

Let's consider distractions at work that take you out of the present moment. Is there a negative person who changes the atmosphere of the office, just by showing up for work? Is there a person who dresses provocatively? Each of these situations can be bothersome, but you can change them by practicing Pranayama and being mindful of it.

When you stare at a co-worker, whether you approve, or disapprove, it is a waste of productive time. If the person is negative, you should be kind, but firm. If the person is attractive, you should be mindful of your situation. You are in work and ethics should be taken into consideration.

If we disapprove of a co-worker's behavior or dress - do we have a right to make it an issue? We cannot expect everyone to behave or dress according to our standards. If upper management does not take action, what can any of us do?

With respect to meditation in the workplace: we are not considering deep meditation while operating dangerous machinery. Anyone who operates machinery should be mindful of his, or her, tasks for the safety of everyone.

However, natural breath Pranayama, which is taught in any Hatha Yoga class, can become automatic, when it is practiced more often, during the day and at night.

Yoga allows us to practice its methods, at any time, and apply the benefits to daily life. You can practice good posturing, proper breathing, mindfulness, and a moderate diet, without any difficulty, if you make it an intentional habit. Even, if our work environment is chaotic, Yoga practice, during work, allows us to find a quiet place to concentrate from within.

© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. To receive a Free e-Book: "Yoga in Practice," and a Free Yoga Newsletter, please visit:

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