Refreshing Meditation Techniques for Desk Dwellers

If you are like me, one of those who sit for hours at a desk doing some work or studying, constantly experiencing a range of feelings from muscle tension, heavy shoulders, aches in upper and lower back to headaches, fatigue and digestive problems might not sound strange to you. Imagine this is just the tip of the iceberg of symptoms out of a whole bunch of fierce signs that can evince their anger depending on your body. Whatever our overall condition is, it is uncomfortable, it bothers us, and therefore, reduces our concentration, productivity and causes additional stress. So, what to do when the situation becomes unbearable?

Pranayama, in other words, the science of breathing, as per B.K.S. Iyengar, the founder of the “Iyengar Yoga”, nourishes and airs cells, nerves, organs, brain, and mind. “Prana” or energy spreads all over the body by means of slow, smooth, and even inhales and exhales. Awareness of breathing helps us not to focus our mind on pain. Also, it is important to point out that meditation increases blood circulation, stimulates and cleanses the lungs.

Breathing exercises are mostly done while sitting down so they are easily applicable when you are at your desk.

 

   1. Anuloma Viloma –alternate nostril breathing

The practice starts and ends on the left side of a nostril.

Exercise:

  • Settle yourself to one of the sitting poses (Padmasana,  Sukhasana, or Siddhasana) if you are at the desk, keep your both feet straight on the ground. With a straight back and relaxed shoulders, begin breathing in and out through your nose. Close your eyes.
  • Curl the ring and small fingers into the palm and leave the thumb, index, and middle fingers free.
  • Take 2-3 deep breaths in and out, bring your hand up to your face, occlude the right nostril with your thumb and inhale deeply and slowly through the left nostril to the count of 4.
  • Occlude both nostrils with your thumb on the right and your index and middle fingers on the left. If you are a beginner, release your thumb from the right but still keep the left nostril blocked and exhale on the right by 8 counts (Only for advanced users! Occlude both nostrils and hold breath for 16 counts).
  • Repeat the same steps on the right and then keep alternating the breath from the left to the right very smoothly.
  • The duration of the exercise is 5 minutes.

Recommendations:

  • The best time for doing Anuloma Viloma is in the morning, but due to busy schedules can be done anytime
  • Avoid doing it just after eating

 

   2. Kapalabhati –skull shining breath

Consists of alternating short, explosive exhales and slightly longer, passive inhales.

Exercise:

  • Sit comfortably in an upright posture in one of the poses (Padmasana, Sukhasana or Siddhasana) and keep your both hands wide with thumbs and index fingers connected. If you are sitting in a chair, make sure you place both feet on the ground.
  • Take a deep, cleansing breath before you begin, in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Fill your abdomen with the air by inhaling deeply through the nose.
  • In a fast movement, forcefully exhale all the air from lungs while pushing your navel toward a spine.
  • Fill up your lungs naturally, with no effort as your stomach expands.
  • Do these cycles of 10 movements 3 to 4 times and then allow your breathing to return to normal and observe the sensations in your body.
  • Gradually increase the number of cycles.

Recommendations:

  • Avoid practicing Kapalabhati if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, acid gastric issues, heart disease, or abdominal pain
  • Stop or slow down if you feel dizzy or anxious 

 

   3. Closure

  • When you are done with Anuloma Viloma and Kapalabhati, sense the flexibility and ease of muscles.
  • Get up from the desk, stand straight with your feet together, broad your chest and bring hands to Anjali Mudra at chest level.
  • Put them up above the head and stretch to the sun as much as you can by spreading your back; try to feel the extension of your spine.
  • Then bend the back backward to unblock the spine from stiffness.
  • After that, bend down and try to breathe evenly. Gradually your spine and pelvis will be taking up elasticity.

Also, keep in mind that more vivid results will be achieved only by regular practice. Do not stop half way through and do not be tricked by an instant health improvement. Think about your health in the long run.

So embark on a journey to the secrets of meditation and become a happy desk dweller!

 

Additional source:

https://fitsri.com/pranayama/kapalbhati