(Originally published on In The Powder Room)
Good morning, and welcome to Workplace Yoga.
Greet the day by sitting in your office chair and closing your eyes. Place your forehead on your desk and take two hundred shallow breaths, making sure your shoulders are hunched around your ears tightly and stiffly. Hold this pose until you feel a sharp, twitching spasm shoot down your spine.
Stand up abruptly when Steve from Tech enters to ask: “How’s the little lady and her busted printer?” Take a moment to appreciate the stars in your peripheral vision and the rage in your gut.
While engaging with Steve, think about your posture as you move into the first asana: Sedentary Stance. Stand with your back slightly arched, knees bent, stomach pooched out, head forward, jaw slack, tongue loose. Fold your arms in front of you and place them across your “rib cage,” so that they rest on the barrel of your torso. If you feel any discomfort or fatigue in one of your weight-bearing thighs, shift sides to move your weight to the other leg. Hold this pose, switching sides every few minutes, until Steve from Tech has replaced your printer cartridge. Gratitude.
Once Steve has departed, sit down squarely in your office chair. Shift your gluteus maximus around until it comfortably spreads across the seat, covering as many square inches as possible. Be mindful of width and breadth, as — in your mind’s eye — you envision your ass becoming one with the chair.
Check your email. It looks like Janet from upstairs wants those numbers on the CompliCo account, even though the deadline isn’t until next week. Accept this challenge and get ready for the Coreless Curl. Lean over, bending at the part of your torso that used to be called your “waist,” so that your shoulders gently touch the front edge of your computer keyboard. Compress the distance between your chin and your hips to a freakishly short span. Lift your fingers to place them on the keys — pants unbuttoned, stomach relaxed and distended, Spanx hiked high beneath your bosom, eyebrows furrowed, neck craning upwards toward the screen. Hold this pose for four hours.
It’s 1:00. Time for lunch. Assume the Turkey Wrap Pose. Grip your wrap sandwich firmly in both hands, and place your elbows on the table, directly under your shoulders. Put your feet flat on the floor, and position your face squarely over the cylinder-shaped, deceitfully-calorific, mayonnaise-laden, really-fucking-tasty sandwich that you had delivered from the deli on the corner because you don’t have time to go out, what with Janet breathing down your neck. Check your form as you eat. Feel the slowing of your metabolism, and try to hold your breath to reduce the risk of choking. Limit eye contact with others in order to focus inwardly on efficient chewing and safe finger placement. When you’re completely stuffed, push back from the table, saying “OMG, ohm.”
Make time for a trip to the ladies’ room. For this exercise, once again assume the posture of Sedentary Stance, except drop your arms so they hang loosely at your sides as you walk. Press your shoulders forward and in, as if you could actually make them touch in front of you. Keep your steps small and effortless, shuffling your feet. As you wash your hands, assume the Vain Tiger Pose: place your feet hip-width apart, lean over the sink with your hands under the water tap, raise your head up, and bare your teeth in the mirror. Check for lettuce.
For a special challenge during your afternoon meeting, try the Armadillo Pose — sit hunched over, so that your back forms a perfect C-curve. Remember to allow your stomach to swell so that it can support your breasts. With your elbows planted painfully into your thighs, lean your face onto your fists. (More advanced yoginis: Allow your facial muscles to relax so that your fists push your cheeks up until they block your eye sockets. This will allow for a short, non-detected nap while Bob from Sales does his presentation.)
When the lights come up, it’s time for a well-deserved stretch. Twist slightly in your chair to the right and then the left, moving as little as possible. Come to a standing position, remembering to button your pants. While everyone else is giving Bob a hand for his ideas on changing demographics and new markets, give yourself a hand for completing another wonderful day of Workplace Yoga. Namaste. May your office be your ashram.
This original piece by was written exclusively for In the Powder Room, a division of Hold My Purse Productions, LLC. Featured image © Di-Studio via depositphotos.com.