Office Posture and Breath

Sit all the way back in your seat, and feel your sits bones root down in the chair.

Sit back all the way so the backs of the shoulders and spine are supported by the back of the chair.

Sit with both feet flat on the floor - we tend to cross one leg over the other, and it's usually the same one (skewing the hips). Feel both feet firmly and evenly on the ground.

Turn your computer or work to face you, instead of craning your head and neck to face your work.

Sit high enough so that the shoulders are above the elbows, and the elbows above the wrists.

Roll the shoulders back and down multiple times per day, so they stay low out of the ears, and there is still space across the chest.

Draw the low belly up and in to support the low spine whenever you remember.

Take lots of breaks! Stand, stretch, walk around.

Breathe!!! We so often hold our breath, especially when stressed or concentrating. You might even take your hands to your low belly so you can feel your breath start in this place (rather than the chest, where we have shorter, more shallow breaths).

Trauma-Sensitive Yoga

"Yoga-based approaches use a series of postures and breathing techniques to build a sense of connection to the self. Yoga practitioners are able to cultivate the ability to remain present, to notice and tolerate inner experience, and to develop a new relationship with their body. This body-based practice then has a ripple effect on emotional and mental health, on relationships, on one's experience of living in the world." -Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga by David Emerson

For a list of research-based resources about Trauma-Sensitive Yoga, click here.

Household Items as Yoga Props (Accessibility!)

In the spirit of keeping yoga accessible and affordable, I've compiled a list of yoga props and common household items that can be used in place of more expensive equipment. Feel free to comment with any additional ideas!

Bolster: pillow, rolled-up yoga mat

Block: shoe box taped closed, phone books/stack of books

Strap: a tie, belt, or scarf

Blanket: bed coverings, towels

Sandbag: bag of nuts/seeds

Eyepillow: small bag of uncooked rice or whole flaxseed


5 Life-Changing Ways To Start Your Day by Sheryl Paul

What's the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? When I conducted a highly informal survey based on this question, the most common answer I received was:

"My alarm is on my phone. Once I have my phone in my hand, I check texts, email, and Facebook."

The smartphone. I can't imagine that any other gadget in history has changed how we function, spend time, and relate to ourselves and others more than this device. But this isn't a diatribe against the smartphone; I love/hate my iPhone just as much as everyone else. It's an invitation to ask yourself how, if you do begin your day by reaching for your phone (or television, computer, radio), that action may affect your levels of equanimity or anxiety.

When we first wake up in the morning, we're in a highly vulnerable state. Fresh from the world of dreams and the unconscious, it always takes a few minutes for our psyche to plant fully back into our bodies. Some traditions teach that the soul travels between worlds when we sleep, and that the first words to break the silence each each morning should be, "Thank you for restoring my soul to me." This speaks to the fact that morning is a time when the portal between conscious and unconscious is thin, the veil lifted.

So what happens when we fill this soft, vulnerable time with the loud sounds of the electronic world? And I'm not talking only about literal sound. I'm referring to the soundless chatter that emanates from scrolling through Facebook and absorbing the images and words of other people's lives; the silent cry of news stories that scream the latest tragic headlines onto your screen; the boiling up of feeling that churns from reading a friend's response to the email you sent last night; the rise and fall of self-esteem as you learn about news from work.

What I've observed with my clients is that the way you begin your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you start your day by externalizing your experience—as inevitably happens when you reach for a device—you're already sending yourself the message that the world outside of you is more important than the world inside.

It's as if you had a young child who wanted to snuggle and share her dreams in the morning but you were constantly pushing her aside so that you could read your phone. Would the child feel loved and appreciated or rejected and cast aside? That's what we do on the inner level: When we fail to give ourselves attention by spending a few quiet minutes attending to our inner world upon awakening, we send ourselves the message that everything else and everyone else is more important.

As an experiment, I invite you to begin your day in one of the following ways for the next week. (If your alarm is on your phone, turn it off, set it aside and resist the impulse to "check.") The work is to create a gap between the tender "being" realm of sleep and the fast-paced "doing" realm that defines most people's days.

1. Practice mindfulness.

Even five minutes of mindfulness practice can set a calmer tone for your day. Mindfulness helps you come into the present moment and ground yourself to the here and now (here I am in space; right now in time). Cultivating that pause each morning will help you anchor back into it if the busyness reaches a crescendo as your day progresses.

2. Write down your dreams.

While dream-tending is an art and a science that usually requires the guidance of a skilled therapist, even taking a few minutes to jot down last night's dream can help you honor the vulnerable space of morning and fill yourself with soulful energy instead of technology energy. You may not understand what your dreams are trying to communicate, but if you carry one dream image with you throughout the day and roll it around inside your mind, you'll be able to maintain a tether to Self that will serve you well.

3. Journal.

When's the last time you journaled? Journaling is one of the most effective ways to know yourself and fill your inner well with self-love and self-knowledge. If you find that journaling makes you feel more flooded with negative feelings, you're not journaling effectively. An effective journaling technique should leave you feeling more clear and grounded than when you started. It's a great way to start the day. Even just writing down a few simple sentences of what you appreciate can set a positive tone.

4. Practice simple yoga exercises.

Yoga is a mind/body practice that is meant to be done at home. The world has climbed aboard the yoga train with a frenzy, which is mostly positive, but we also transmit the message that you have to take a yoga class in a studio in order to learn and practice yoga legitimately. There are many excellent yoga videos that can safely teach you the basics, including one from MindBodyGreen! Once you learn basic poses, you can practice without a video if that feels more natural for you.

5. Open the window or step outside and let the light rush in.

There's nothing like fresh air and sunshine to reconnect to you to your essential nature, which is good, loving, and worthy exactly as you are.

Into the open vessel of our morning-selves we can pour technology or we can choose actions that will fill the inner well with positive energy. Which do you choose?