By Rosie Fitzmaurice
There are many proven benefits of yoga for both the body and mind — and now it could even help you to concentrate better at your desk, according Sydney-born yoga teacher Shona Vertue.
Recently, she shared a simple “desk yoga sequence” on her blog that she says will wake you up and boost your brain power while at work — and it only takes five minutes.
Many of us are guilty of spending hours hammering away at a screen all day, losing all track of time. Recognising that this can have a monotonous and hypnotising effect, that she likes to call getting into a “deep vortex,” Vertue devised a yoga-inspired solution.
“Yoga as well has been shown to improve GABA levels within the brain (low GABA levels have been linked to disorders such as depression and anxiety),” she said.
GABA refers to Gamma-aminobutyric acid, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the brain.
She says this eight-step sequence will wake you up and boost your productivity — and it might even help you deal with the stress of the day’s work better, too.
First, Vertue says you should close your eyes. Breathe in, taking three seconds to inhale and three to exhale.
“The breath is very closely linked to the state of your nervous system, so keeping a calm and rhythmic breath can help to relax your body while awakening the mind,” she wrote.
With closed eyes, move your head to the left, “keep your chest lifted, allow the opposite shoulder to pull away from you. Imagine breathing into the side of the neck to create a sense of expansiveness.” Then repeat to the right.
“Interlace the fingers behind the head, begin to lift your sternum towards the sky. Don’t drop your head too far back. Instead, use your hands to lengthen you from the back of the neck.”
Next, Vertue says you should put your right hand on the outside of your left leg for a “seated side stretch.” While lifting the left arm, turn your head towards your armpit and lean to the right. “Rather than compressing the right side, think about lengthening the left.” Repeat this movement on the right hand side.
“Take a seated twist to the left and right. Be careful to keep your chest lifted as you do this.”
The sixth action is simply to yawn. “It’s really good for you,” she says. “It helps the brain to reset, in fact when you yawn, you’re actually stimulating a neural area of the brain that plays a significant role in being more conscious and alert (while also relaxed).”
Now, lock the fingers and stretch them up towards the sky.
The last step is to circle your ankles and wiggle your toes. “[You] may not think that will have much effect on your energy levels, but it will help stimulate the venous blood pooling at the bottom of your feet — this will all support your general energy levels.”
The next time you’re feeling lethargic or restless — and you have a long day of deadlines ahead— it might be worth a shot.
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Originally published at www.businessinsider.com