As the clock strikes 3 p.m you feel it coming. Your lower back begins to ache, your head feels foggy, and if someone handed you a pillow you’d be out cold in a second.
It’s the dreaded mid-afternoon slump. And no one who sits behind a desk for eight hours a day is immune to it.
Many of us combat it by grabbing a handful of Skittles from the office candy jar. But the sugar rush will soon give way to even lower blood sugar levels, which will only exacerbate your sluggishness and lack of focus.
What if we told you that performing a few simple yoga movements either in your office or in another quiet space can create that surge of energy you need to push through the afternoon?
Not only has yoga been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, depression (all very plausible side effects of a tough day at the office), but a study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that when compared to a walking group and control group, those who took one yoga class a week (and were encouraged to perform movements at home) experienced significant improvements in vitality, energy and fatigue. A more recent study confirmed the movements ability to lessen tiredness symptoms and make a positive difference in energy levels.
Another study published in the journal Technology found that yoga and meditation can boost brain power. Those who practiced yoga twice a week were three times faster learning a computer task and twice as likely to complete it than those who did not practice yoga.
“Yoga helps us keep our motivation throughout the day because we have a steady source of natural organic energy and fuel. In yoga we learn to take deep full breaths which help us stay focused, centered and happy. When we feel good and have length in our spine and healthy joints and a free body, we have much more confidence and motivation,” said Kristin McGee, Certified Yoga Instructor and brand ambassador to Lycored.
“There are some great energy-boosting poses you can do first thing when you wake up, and throughout the day when you need a boost–especially during that mid-afternoon slump.”
Here are five moves to rely on when you feel that mid-afternoon slump coming your way.
The position “brings blood flow to the face and calms your mind. Imagine dropping all of the contents of your brain in to the mat and say bye bye to stressful thoughts and your to do list,” said McGee.”Stress sucks the energy out of us and by quieting the mind we can re-focus and feel more energized … it’s like taking a nice nap. Hold for five to eight deep full breaths.”
This move “gets the blood pumping throughout our entire body and releases tension in our head, neck, shoulders, lower back and hamstrings,” said McGee. “It wakes up the entire body and gives us amazing energy. Breathe here for five to eight full breaths.”
Wide Straddle Forward Bend
This “oxygenates the body and the rush of blood to our brain helps clear the fog and energize us for the day or reboot our nervous system when we feel wiped out. Stay here for eight to 10 breaths,” said McGee.
“This is an awesome way to relieve tension in the lower back and open up the entire back body, which starts to slouch and close us off,” said McGee. “After this pose I always feel rejuvenated. Hold five to eight breaths.”
You may get a few strange stares from your cubicle mate but this is “great for letting the blood flow in reverse and stimulating stagnant lymph [nodes], which can lead to very sluggish energy and metabolism,” said McGee. “Stay here for up to three to five minutes.”