According to the Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism, yoga’s benefits go well beyond the physical. Studies show that regular yoga practice has a positive effect on mental health, including relaxation, improved breathing, and calming of the nervous system. The journal further reports that yoga may improve nerve damage and cognitive functions in people with diabetes, which may benefit management of complications. Yoga may also reverse the negative impact of immune system stress. The NIH dishes out even more reasons to break out the yoga mat, saying that yoga might improve overall quality of life while relieving tension, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Yoga at Work

Sitting hunched over a keyboard for hours on end wreaks havoc on your hips and legs, as well as your neck, shoulders, and back. And if pain and poor posture aren’t bad enough, it’s the sedentary nature of an office job that’s the true occupational hazard. The CDC warns against prolonged sitting time, saying it increases a person’s risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and cancer. Sitting six or more hours a day can even shorten your lifespan. The answer is to regularly get up and get moving at work. The CDC notes that taking breaks in prolonged sitting time could lower a number of health risks. Many fitness trackers on the market now have built-in notifications to remind users to get up and move around at regular intervals. Suzan Colon, Integral Yoga Institute instructor has even more detailed solution. Her app, Take a Yoga Break, is a series of yoga-based moves designed to help combat the health dangers of sitting. Based on traditional poses, her prescribed exercises will get you on your feet at regular intervals, increasing circulation and loosening tight muscles while promoting deep breathing. “No special yoga equipment or clothing is required,” Colon says. Program the timer; when the alarm goes off, it’s your cue to stand up and strike a pose.

Here are a few of Colon’s moves to get you started.


Flexes muscles that support the spine and stretches foot muscles.

Brace your chair against your desk and stand behind it with your feet together and one hand on top of the chair. Shift your body weight to your left foot without sticking out your left hip. Inhale as you bend your right knee enough to come to your tiptoes. Exhale, rotating your right knee out to the side, as if you’re opening a gate. Inhale, then exhale, returning your knee to the front; inhale as you open it out to the side, then exhale and return your knee to the front. Repeat 4 more times and switch legs, performing a total of 5 times on each leg.


Strengthens and tones quads.

Push your chair against the desk and stand arm’s length from it with your feet hip width apart. Inhale and then exhale, bending your knees as though you’re about to sit. Go only as low as is comfortable and breathe at a normal pace. Inhale and stand; exhale and bend your knees. Do 3 times, rest a moment, then repeat 3 more times.


Flexes muscles that support the spine and stretches foot muscles.

Brace your chair against your desk and stand behind it, feet a comfortable distance apart, with both hands on top of the chair but not leaning on it. Inhale a slow, deep breath as you arch your back without straining your neck and bend your left knee forward, coming to your toes. Exhale and round your back while bending your right knee forward. Repeat this move. Do 10 times total, letting the movements follow your easy breaths.