by diegodacal

You don't have to head to an hour-long yoga class to take advantage of the benefits of this ancient mind-body practice during the work day. In fact, incorporating just a few moves into your daily routine at the office is an easy and effective way to keep stress levels at bay.

The benefits of yoga at work are plenty. Here are just a few:

- Relieves pain: Hunched shoulders, tight wrists, furrowed brows - these physical effects of sitting for hours at a computer desk wreak havoc on our muscles, tendons and posture. But yoga's ability to stretch stiff muscles and relax tight tendons can help bring relief to many workplace aches and pains.

- Reduces stress: From deadlines to angry bosses, the office is a breeding ground for skyrocketing stress levels. Rely on the stress-reducing benefits of yoga's deep inhales and exhales and you have a time-tested defense for keeping you in control of any stressful workday situations.

- Improves focus: Whether you're editing a 100-page document or sitting through a late-afternoon meeting, yoga's ability to keep us centered on the present moment engenders focus and attention - two necessary tactics for a successful workday.

Even if your company doesn't yet offer lunch-time yoga sessions, you can still engage in a few minutes of quick, but effective, desk-chair yoga. Here's how:

1. Start by turning off the ringers to your cell phone, desk phone, and email alerts and spend two to three minutes with your eyes closed, deepening your attention to your breath.

2. As you breathe deeply, straighten your spine and extend from the crown of your head as both feet are firmly placed on the ground.

3. As you inhale, lift both arms up over head and grab your right wrist with your left hand. Exhale and gently tilt your body to the right as you extend the left side of your body. Keep your shoulders drawing away from your ears as you elongate the front and back of your spine. Do this to the opposite side and repeat two additional times on each side.

4. As you inhale, take your arms behind your back and interlace your fingers. Exhale, fold forward from your hips allowing your arms to lift over your head and back. Extend until you first begin to feel a stretch and stop when you feel any pulling or painful strains. Don't crunch your neck and keep shoulders move down your back. As you inhale, gently lift your torso back up and repeat three additional times.

5. Sit quietly for the next few minutes with your eyes closed. As you resume your workday, keep the memory of the stillness you just created. Pause to take a few deep breaths when you feel yourself reacting with stress to your workday events.

This article was provided by Heather Ashare at, an online diet and weight loss resource providing the tools and information needed to educate yourself to start living a healthier life for today and tomorrow.