Yoga isn't just for passive, tree-hugging types. It has helped golfers find their game and made Sting famous for his ability to perform, um, well, we're not talking about on stage. So don't dismiss it as a “not for me” exercise. We got some advice from David Magone, one of the hottest yoga teachers in Boston and a mind-body entrepreneur, who started his own yoga discipline, PranaVayu. He gave us six yoga postures that can carry you through a hellish workday. Try one at a time, or if things are really lousy, run through all six.
Shoulder Stretch I
The whole market is in a freefall, your freaked-out clients haven't stopped calling and your shoulder's getting sore from reaching up to pull your headset away from your ears so the screaming doesn't bust your eardrums.
How it's done: Place your right hand at the base of your neck with your elbow pointed toward the ceiling. Grab your elbow with your left hand and pull it gently behind your head. To deepen the stretch, pull your arm farther behind your head and lift your chin. Take a few deep breaths then repeat on the other side
Shoulder Stretch II
It's near the end of a bad day at the end of a bad week. It's getting closer to the conclusion of a rotten quarter and all the angst of the past few months has turned into knots between your shoulder blades.
How it's done: Sit up tall and interlace your hands behind your back. Squeeze your shoulders together behind you. Lift your hands away from your body to intensify the stretch. Hold for a few deep breaths and then repeat as necessary.
You've been on your feet all day, pacing, talking to clients on the phone and your body is aching.
How it's done: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms hanging by your sides. Reach your left arm up to the ceiling and lengthen your spine as much as possible. Lean to the right until the shape of your body resembles a crescent moon. As you stretch, slide your right hand close to or beyond your knee to deepen the stretch. Hold for a few deep breaths then repeat on the other side.
Standing Forward Fold
You pounded the table that a certain stock was a buy, got lots of clients into it and then it blew up. Now you just want to bury your head in the sand until things blow over.
How it's done: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and place your hands on your waist. Fold forward from the hips, keeping your back as straight as you can, and place your fingertips on the floor. If you can't reach the floor, bend your knees until you can. Keep your fingers anchored to the floor. To deepen the stretch, lift your hips slightly higher every time you inhale. Hold for 10 deep breaths. To stand, bend your knees and roll up very slowly, bringing your head up last.
You've been pounding your keyboard like crazy, responding to incensed emails, checking Bloomberg and deleting spam — and you just don't need carpal tunnel right now.
How it's done: Stand facing your desk and turn your palms toward the ceiling. Place your fingers on the edge of your desk with your fingertips pointing toward your body and your wrists facing away. To deepen the stretch, press your palms all the way down to the desk.
You just got off a call with an irrationally irate client and if you get up from your chair you think you might strangle someone — or call the client back and tell her exactly what you think of her.
How it's done: This simplest of exercises just might be the hardest one to execute properly when you're agitated and under pressure. Sit with your hips touching the back of your chair. Straighten your spine let your hand rest in your lap. Close your eyes and your mouth and focus on the sensation of your breath entering your nostrils. When your attention wanders, draw it back. Begin to lengthen your breath. Inhale to a count of three and exhale to a count of six. Repeat 10 times.
We promise: You'll feel better.