Stuff that works: Desk yoga and bedtime meditation

About 3 hours before the end of my work shift, I often get into a weird state that’s a combination of antsy and tired. We’ve just completed the hustle of 4 p.m. deadlines; I’ve been sitting too long and I’m tense.

A few stretches from the book “Yoga for Suits” — designed for folks wearing work clothes; often one or more of my coworkers will stretch along with me — loosen things up nicely.  Here are three examples if you’d like to try (click image for a printable PDF), next time you want to flee the office but you still have a few hours to go. Do them slowly, breathing deeply:

(My illustrations are embarrassingly rudimentary, but I promise, if you buy the book you get full-color photos and proper instructions, as well as a very practical discussion of yoga philosophy.)

Also, I often have trouble getting to sleep.  My mind keeps running in circles and won’t slow down.  This meditation MP3 really helps me. It’s 8 minutes long (I often fall asleep before the end of it) and, to be honest, I like it because it’s very straightforward and doesn’t have flutes or somebody telling me to visualize unicorns. You get the rhythmic rise and fall of a Tibetan singing bowl, kind of a humming, white-noise sound, and a gentle voice giving you simple instructions that focus your attention on your breathing.

There is much more to yoga and to meditation than a 3-minute stretch at your desk, or just trying to get to sleep, of course. I simply offer these up because — truly — they work for me.

[Edit: March 29, 2010 — I haven’t tried them out yet, but you can download free meditations here! Unicorns and rainbows are possible. If I check ’em out I’ll update again.]

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