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February 10, 2014 by Lucy Bannister
By Lucy Bannister, London-Based Dru Yoga Teacher When was the last time that you took some time to just stop and breathe in the work day? To bring all your focus into the simple act of inhaling and exhaling? Breathing properly reduces stress, increases energy, greatly improves our cognitive functions and improves our overall health giving us more resistance to common illnesses. So if you want to be better at your job there is a very straightforward way to do that - to breathe. But learning to breathe properly is actually harder than we think, and that is where yoga comes in. The word ‘yoga’ means to ‘yoke’ or ‘unite’. By uniting movement and breath during the practice of yoga we can start to teach our bodies to breathe regularly and deeply all the time, bringing the correct amount of oxygen in, and releasing the right amount of carbon dioxide back out. This process detoxifies our bodies and nourishes our organs, particularly the brain – raising energy levels and bringing clarity and calmness to the mind. Oxygen is at the root of our life force – our bodies need oxygen over anything else and our modern lifestyles – seated, often slouched, working at computers, crammed on trains and buses, driving cars – restrict our lungs, and with it the amount of oxygen we consume. We end up breathing shallowly and often in quick short bursts. Through the practice of Pranayama, the yogic art of controlling your breath, we can start to bring a conscious improvement to our breathing, and with it a myriad of benefits – energy, calmness, good health being just a few. There are some simple and short Dru Yoga routines that can help you to start working with your breath and get a refreshing stretch at the same time. You can try this 10 minute Dru Yoga Earth Sequence to get you started. Click here. When you are considering how to brighten your work day, don't just turn to the obvious fixes - coffee, chocolate, cake - think about including yoga. Why not find out if you can have a lunchtime yoga class at work? Research in Oxford Journals Occupational Medicine has proven that it improves workplace productivity, reduces sick leave and decreases stress. Click here to read more. Taking time out to breathe will not only give you a brighter day at work, it will give you a brighter future too. Lucy Bannister Bio Lucy first discovered yoga at the age of 23 while suffering from facial nerve damage caused by shingles. She found regular yoga practice an effective way to deal with pain, and over the years that followed she developed a strong appreciation of the many other benefits yoga brought into her life. She completed her 200-hour Dru Yoga Teacher Training Course while living in Yorkshire but at the beginning of 2012 moved to London. The fast-paced stressful lifestyle she experienced in the capital prompted her to decide that after working in the arts for fifteen years, it was time to leave the office behind and teach yoga full-time. Lucy leads uplifting, fun and accessible classes in south east and central London. She often seeks out unusual urban venues for her classes – such as the local pub, social club or the rooftop of a carpark with an incredible view – and pairs the yoga with a carefully chosen music playlist. Find out what a Lucyoga class is like - Click here.