Find your fall stride with these cooling yoga poses and breathing techniques

Let me just say this -- I am never one to wish away beautiful, warm weather. I love shorts, dresses, sandals, outdoor restaurants, rooftop happy hours … all of the things. But when the hot, heavy air in New York City is as relentless as it has been lately, it can make transitioning into a productive fall mindset particularly difficult. So, what do we do? How do we cope in the heat and step into an autumn stride without wishing for some crisp, fall weather?

Yoga. We use it to cool us down.

Yoga has countless methods of creating that fire within us -- we create an abundance of energy through various poses and the breath, and we end up working up a real sweat. But, did you know there are also aspects of the practice that can actually cool you down? That can slow your heart rate, and cool your body temperature?

Use these breathing exercises (pranayama) and poses (asana) as one full sequence on a particularly sticky day, or use them separately when you need a quick way to beat the heat. All of these will slow your heart rate down, allow you to tap into your breath and body awareness, and cool you from the inside, out.

PRANAYAMA

Sitali Breath

How To:

  • Sit comfortably, with eyes closed. Find your breath.
  • Open the mouth slightly, curl the tongue lengthwise and project it out of the mouth.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through the tongue, into the mouth, as if sipping from a draw.
  • Withdraw the tongue, close the mouth and exhale fully from the nose.

Benefits:
Adds moisture to the body, reduces fatigue and high blood pressure.

Sitkari Breath

Can’t roll your tongue? All good, Sitkari is your solution.

How To:

  • Sit comfortably, with eyes closed. Find your breath.
  • Gently bring your lower and upper teeth together, and separate your lips so the teeth are exposed.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through the teeth and focus on the hissing sound of the breath.
  • Seal the lips and exhale fully through the nose.

Benefits:
Cools and adds moisture to the body, and balances the endocrine system.

ASANA

Hold each pose for at least five deep breaths.

Child’s Pose | Balasana

  • Start on all fours, and lower hips to heels.
  • Big toes together, knees apart, arms extend forward.

Cat-Cow | Marjaryasana-Bitilasana

  • Return to all fours.
  • Inhale arch the spine, drop the belly, look up (cow)
  • Exhale round the spine, tuck the chin to the chest, push the floor away (cat)

Forward Fold | Uttanasana

  • Tuck the toes, lift hips, walk feet to hands.
  • Keep feet hips-width distance apart, slightly bend the knees.
  • Bring ribcage to thighs, forehead to shins.
  • Bend the knees as much as needed to make this connection.

Sun Breath

  • Roll up to stand from a forward fold and stand tall, long spine.
  • Inhale and slowly raise your arms to the side and overhead, bringing palms together.
  • Exhale and draw palms down the midline until thumbs come to the center of the chest.
  • Inhale to bring arms back up, exhale to release down the middle.

Low Lunge | Anjaneyasana

  • From standing, forward fold, take a half lift.
  • Step the left foot back, right knee bends over right ankle.
  • Left knee, top of left foot comes down, arms reach up overhead.
  • Push hips down and forward and hug inner thighs together.

Half Split | Ardha Hanumanasana

  • From low lunge, move hips back and straighten right leg, flex toes back towards face.
  • Square hips and fold forward over the right leg, keeping it engaged.
  • Re-bend right knee, step forward, repeat low lunge and half split on the other side.

Wide-Legged Forward Fold | Prasarita Padottanasana

  • Step the right foot back, pivot on the heels and fold forward over straddle legs, spine long.
  • Push outer edge of feet down, keep hips in line with ankles.

Tree Pose | Vriksasana

  • Return to standing, bring sole of the right foot to inner left thigh or calf and push.
  • Push into standing foot, engage standing leg, push hips slightly forward.
  • Bring palms together at the center of chest.

Butterfly | Badakanasana

  • Come to a seated position and bring soles of the feet together.
  • Push outer edges of the feet together, grab balls of the feet and fold forward, spine long and relaxed.

Supine Spinal Twist | Supta Matsyendrasana

  • Lie down on back and bring knees to chest, arms out like a T.
  • Let knees fall to the left, look to the right and hold.
  • Bring knees back center, and over to the right, look to the left and hold.

Corpse Pose | Savasana

You made it! Now it’s time for total relaxation.

  • Lie flat on your back, legs long and arms by your side, palms up.
  • Focus on deep, full-body breathing for at least five minutes.

PRO TIP

Even while not practicing yoga in the traditional sense, we can take 30 seconds in any moment to slow down, and cool down. If you’re feeling the heat, simply:

  • Pause. Close your eyes.
  • Bring arms by your side, palms face out.
  • Take three deep breaths, and feel a cooling sensation on your palms.

Try this out to beat the heat, and let us know how you feel in the comments, on Instagram, or Facebook!

Don't Just Spend Your Time - Honor It! How to Make the Most of Your Most Valuable Resource

In our last post, we discussed how to stay mindful in an age of distraction. It’s easy to get lost in the motions of life, between our daily obligations, staying current with news and social media, needing time to socialize and more.

One way to stop the motions is to adopt practices that honor your time, not ones that just pass the time. Life is not meant to just pass us by, but that often happens without us even realizing it.

Honor Your Time.png

From the moment we wake up, we begin to anticipate what’s coming up that day. Once we begin to push through our day, we are trying to get to dinner plans that night. Once that is over, we head home, and numb our minds with television and technology. We fall asleep, wake up, and do it all over again. We are always living for the next moment, always hoping for something that hasn’t happened yet.

“Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now. Your life is only ever now.” - Eckhart Tolle

How can we slow things down? How can we maximize our time so we can get the most out of our lives in every moment?

Accept Where You Are Right Now
We can become consumed in the thoughts of, “When I do this, or accomplish that, then I will be happy.” When we get that promotion, move to this city, find a partner, lose ten pounds, is when we feel our life can truly begin! But life is happening right now, and when our minds are focused on what we need in the future, we miss out on what can be done in the present.

... but know it’s not forever, and don’t settle
Where we are right now is not necessarily where we will be in six months, two weeks, or even an hour. The only constant is change. If we do want that promotion or that healthy lifestyle, we need to start with what we have. You receive a promotion for working hard and working effectively, so, start doing that right now. You can live a healthy lifestyle by nourishing your body and your mind, so, start doing that right now. When we think about big and lofty goals, we tend to overcomplicate the present. Just begin.

Stop Doing Things You Hate
There is a lot of power in saying no. If you don’t want to go to that birthday party, take on a new project, or collaborate with a colleague, I’ll tell you a little secret - you don’t have to! It’s natural to want to be polite and please everyone, but being a people pleaser in the moment can lead to suffering later on.

Allow yourself to politely decline any offers that won’t contribute to your overall well-being, and use that time instead to focus on yourself. Make productive, positive habits that will really pay off in the long run. Take the time to get organized and set intentions. The possibilities are endless, and the power to choose is YOURS!

Connect By Disconnecting.
At Work From Om®, we believe in the the value of connecting to what matters, and disconnecting when needed. We have endless options to occupy our brains -- social media, a 24/7 news cycle, “Netflix and chill” -- you get it. But when we emphasize taking the time to connect, we don’t mean by commenting on your acquaintance from high school’s engagement announcement. We mean in the present moment, with the people and places right in front of you. Put your phone away during a family meal, turn off the television on a weekend afternoon, or designate certain hours for social media and checking emails. Disconnect from the world inside developing technology and connect to the world all around you.

Meditate and Move.
It’s also important to take the time to connect to the world within you. Meditating is a vital practice that can help you cultivate a sense of stillness and ease in your everyday life. Sit and focus on your breath for just one minute every day, eventually moving up to five minutes, ten minutes, and so on. As you continue to practice and build your meditation muscles, you’ll see you can act more mindfully as you live each day.

So, we sit still for the well-being of our minds, but we move for our bodies. We know that regular exercise can aid in increased energy levels and weight loss, but it can also reduce your risk of disease by stimulating blood flow, and strengthen your organs like the heart and lungs. Regular movement is just as important for a healthy body as it is for a healthy mind. So instead of sitting idle, mindlessly watching television to pass the time, get out there and move!

If you'd like to learn more ways to honor your time in every moment, let's work together. Check out our Intro to Mindfulness and Breathing Meditation workshop, and get in touch!

 

To Achieve Mindfulness in an Age of Distraction, Try the Work From Om® Digital Diet

To Achieve Mindfulness in an Age of Distraction, Try the Work From Om® Digital Diet

Digital detoxes may be all the rage these days, but for most of us it is as unrealistic to disconnect entirely as it is to survive through a juice cleanse. Instead, adopt the sustainable Work From Om® Digital Diet by setting rules around your own interactions with technology. From designating screen-free time to turning off unnecessary notifications, you can eliminate stressful stimuli, increase your ability to focus, and profoundly improve your mental well-being. We’ve cherry picked some of our most accessible tips to share with you below.

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True Life: Kitchen Essentials. Part Two.

Namaste, OMies! Maggie, here. We are back with Part Two of my ride or die kitchen essentials. Part One covered the pantry, and this week we are taking a very exciting deep dive into my refrigerator. Never thought I would be typing that sentence, but I'm excited nonetheless! 

Every day I'm guiding clients to work from their own OM, and in order to effectively do that, it's important that I myself am operating from a place of truth. This, to me, means ensuring my body and mind are nourished with the proper nutrients, which can get a little tough with such a hectic schedule. 

After years of trial and error, I have finally found what I deem to be a sustainable balance. As with my pantry items from last week's post, these refrigerator staples allow me to make quick and easy meals, some of which I can eat on the go and others I can come home after a long day and have ready in 10 minutes.

Having said that, here are my Top 5 FRIDGE ITEMS:

*Disclaimer - I am not by any means a nutritionist or doctor. This is just what works for me, and I encourage you to find what works for you.*

 Photo courtesy of  Raw Pet Kitchen

Photo courtesy of Raw Pet Kitchen

 

FRUITS

I could literally eat an entire pineapple if given the opportunity. I. Love. Fruit. Even in the dead of winter! I always have bananas and blueberries somewhere in my kitchen, and when I’m feeling it I’ll throw in some pineapple chunks, mango, strawberries, raspberries and/or blackberries. I try to reserve my fruit consumption to earlier in the day (not always successfully, but alas) so I have ample time to use the energy and digest the natural sugars.

*Pro tip*

Throw some fruit in the freezer, and when you want a sweet little treat, eat by itself or blend with choice of milk and nut butter. Sweet tooth = satisfied.

 

SUPER SEEDS

Chia, flax and hemp seeds are a part of my daily routine. I call them “super” because, yes, they are considered “superfoods,” but I also put them on a very high pedestal and credit them with making me feel SUPER.

I mix all three in a mason jar and store it in the fridge for freshness, and put them in smoothies, on oatmeal, salads.. really anything that makes remotely any sense. These are another source high in Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which can also improve heart health and cholesterol levels. They provide a good serving of fiber, antioxidants, and are a complete protein.

 

ALL OF THE GREENS AND VEGGIES

This doesn’t need much of an explanation. We know that greens and vegetables fuel a healthy life, and I am all aboard that train. I restock my greens and vegetables supply every week, and typically go for spinach, arugula, romaine, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, peppers, sweet potatoes and butternut squash. This can change with the season, but they all give me a lot of room to mix and match for my meals.

 

PRE-MADE DRESSINGS AND SAUCES

I am all about that meal prep life. I don't have a designated day to meal prep (though Sundays are a solid choice), I just do it whenever I have a few hours at home. This includes roasting vegetables, washing greens, cooking grains and proteins, and... mixing up my favorite dressings and sauces, because what is life without condiments? It's a sad life, that's what. 

But instead of using ketchup with mystery ingredients, prepackaged dressings with all of the oil and sodium, etc., I've started making my own! I know what you're thinking, "Maggie, that is too complicated, I'm not down with this." But let me tell you, if I can get down with it, then you can too. 

My favorite salad dressing is simply a mixture of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sometimes I will put a serving of tahini in there, and it has a faint resemblance to caesar dressing. My favorite sauce is a vegan cheese sauce I found on the Instagram; a blend of cashews, olive oil, water, nutritional yeast, paprika, salt and pepper. Sometimes I will throw in some spinach to get those extra greens, too! It's creamy, it's delicious, it's everything. I will prep a batch of both of these and store them in the fridge for the week. If you have questions on exact recipes, PLEASE ask, because I can talk about this stuff for hours.

 

NON-DAIRY MILK

I tend to avoid dairy. I’ve discovered I just feel lighter without it! So, in comes non-dairy milk, typically almond, for smoothies, oatmeal, coffee, and any recipe that calls for milk. I was never much a milk drinker, I actually don’t think I’ve ever had a full glass, so I suppose I don’t know what I’m missing by choosing this substitute, but it keeps my tummy happy!

 

And that’s that! I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my everyday life and it gave you some inspiration to find what makes YOU feel good! I’d love to hear your feedback or any questions in the comment section below, or reach out on Instagram.

 

Love you all,

Maggie

 

 

True Life: Kitchen Essentials. Part One.

As a full-time yoga and meditation teacher, I am always on the go, running to and from different parts of the city to get to class and meet students. It’s so important to me that while I do this, I can still maintain a healthy lifestyle. In fact, a healthy lifestyle FUELS me while running around every day! So, how do I do this? Well, I’m glad you asked.

What we put into our bodies is the foundation that keeps us going every day. Food and nutrients energize us in the morning and energize us throughout the day. After years of trial and error, I have found a group of staple items to make quick and easy meals, some of which I can eat on the go and others I can come home after a long day and have ready in 10 minutes.

For someone whose health is very important to her, these are my ride or dies. This post will be broken up into two parts, pantry and fridge, because let’s face it -- there’s too much goodness for just one post.

Having said that, here are my Top 5 PANTRY ITEMS:

*Disclaimer - I am not by any means a nutritionist or doctor. This is just what works for me, and I encourage you to find what works for you.*

IMG_3701.jpg

 

FATS

In my pantry at any given time, you can find more than one jar of almond butter. If I’m feeling frisky, maybe I’ll throw in some cashew butter and/or pecan butter (I’m looking at you, Georgia Grinders). I also always have avocados, oils, butter/ghee and raw cashews.

These GOOD fats (*cue avocado meme, see below*) nourish and satiate your bod to keep you going through the day. They give not just your body energy but your brain (enter: omega-3 fatty acids). Minimal Wellness nutritionist Rebecca Shern, RD said these sources of nutrition also help maintain blood sugar levels and cut cravings. 

PROTEIN POWDER

During the week, I am typically running around and need quick and easy meals to keep me full. Protein powder, specifically designated as a meal replacement, gives me energy and satiety that lasts. I have tried many, many brands but have found love in a hopeless place - with the Garden of Life brand, a raw and plant-based protein with a billion superfoods (the website says 44 - but that’s almost a billion). I use protein powder every day mainly in smoothies or smoothie bowls. Do I need to clarify this isn’t an ad? I just love the stuff, and really feel it gives nutrients my body needs.

GRAINS/LEGUMES

Quinoa, lentils and rice, oh my! I don’t eat many animal products. I try to listen to my body and what it wants, and the past year or so it hasn’t had much of a need for meat. But, I digress, because of this, a lot of my meals come with a heavy helping of grains and/or legumes.

Quinoa is a complete protein, with all nine essential amino acids, and has twice the fiber of most other grains. It’s also a great source of iron, which is great for anemic people such as myself. Lentils are great for heart health, digestion and protein. Rice is pretty much just used when I don’t have quinoa or lentils.

SPICES, SEASONINGS

I take my spice game very seriously. Every single meal is spiced/seasoned heavily. I couldn’t even tell you measurements of what I use, because I tend to just dump everything onto food and see how it tastes. This *usually* ends well.

In my usual rotation is turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, nutritional yeast, black pepper and Himalayan pink salt. Sometimes I use these all together, sometimes I pick and choose. These all have a variety of health benefits; they provide a good dose of antioxidants, help with inflammation and more. Nutritional yeast is an amazing source of B-12, which we tend to be deficient in, protein and folic acid. Do your research - for all of the juicy benefits, and the delicious taste combos :).

RAW CHOCOLATE

I have a serious problem, and that problem is an insatiable need for chocolate! I am addicted to Eating Evolved caramel and sea salt coconut butter cups. They satisfy any and every sweet craving I have, and they’re made with real ingredients: coconut, cacao, coconut sugar, cacao butter and himalayan sea salt.

Growing up, my house was always stocked with snacks on snacks. You know that house in the neighborhood all the kids flocked to because of the snack selection? That was us. We had literal cakes for no apparent reason, no celebration (hi mom, I love you, thanks for making every day a celebration). Long story short, I have gone through life unable to shake this sweet tooth I developed. Instead of going crazy depriving myself, I found substitutes, which are arguably better than the real thing, with REAL ingredients. That’s the key, no matter what you’re eating - real, whole ingredients that are nice and easy on your beautiful body.

And for now, this is where I leave you. Leave your thoughts and/or questions in the comments below, or feel free to connect with me on Instagram or Facebook. Check back next week for Part TWO where we will take a thrilling and riveting look inside my refrigerator! 

Namaste, 

Maggie

How Meditation Benefits the Working Brain

The workplace is more stressful than ever. With modern technology, employees rarely have a time in their day when they are completely removed from work responsibilities. A competitive job market encourages employees to work harder and longer, take on larger workloads than ever before. These added workplace pressures lead to stress and anxiety that affect how individuals make decisions and perform tasks both in and out of the office.

 

Many companies, both large and small, have been working hard to implement in-office programs that help employees to deal with stress, anxiety and workplace pressures. In addition to cultivating positive work environments, many employers have experience huge workplace improvements thanks to meditation programs. Some offices offer meditation spaces while others offer guided sessions that help introduce mindful practices into employees lives during the workday. The most common practice in the workplace is Mindfulness Meditation, which is a practice that brings the mind’s focus to the body and the breathing in order to help improve concentration and promote open awareness of thoughts and feelings. But the effects extend beyond the moment of practice and into all decisions made throughout the day from what to eat, how to perform tasks at work and how to spend free time.

 

So how exactly does Mindfulness Meditation affect the working brain and workplace performance? When we take time during the workday to stop working and focus on the present, it helps to create a stronger control of the mind’s function and productivity. By controlling senses and breathing, it’s easier to let go of thoughts and feelings of the past and future and train the brain to focus on what is happening in the present moment. By giving the brain a single-task workout, we learn how to stay focused on one task at a time instead of multi-tasking and attempting to complete 10 assignments at once. Training the mind to focus is undoubtedly beneficial to productivity when studies show that the average attention span is now 8 seconds thanks to the fast moving, technology obsessed society we live in. So not only does employee performance improve, but studies have shown that a regular meditation practice reduces stress and anxiety in the brain.

 

Aside from reduced stress and improved productivity, there are many other benefits that come from a corporate meditation program. A regular meditation practice helps to open creative doorways in the brain. With increased focus, problem-solving skills get more creative and new ideas enter the mind more freely. Many people believe that Steve Jobs was so successful in coming up with new and innovative ideas for Apple thanks to a regular meditation practice. As someone who maintained a regular meditation practice and was one of the first corporate leaders to implement in-office mindfulness programs, it’s no doubt that some of Apple’s success is due to his disciplined mental focus and control. 

 

Meditation benefits have also been proven to help resolve workplace conflicts. Mindfulness practices equip employees with better conflict management and interpersonal skills that make resolving issues easier for employees and managers alike. How does this work? Brain scans of meditators versus non-meditators shows that mindfulness meditation helps to trigger the relaxation response, the opposite of fight or flight. The relaxation response can be accessed during times of conflict or stress in order to solve rationally instead of reacting emotionally with the fight or flight response. Employees with meditation practices are aware of their immediate reactions and can more easily step away from a situation in order to make the best decision about how to solve an issue. By improving emotional intelligence and promoting the importance of listening to co-workers and peers, a mindfulness meditation practice can decrease the number of conflicts that arise in the workplace. 

 

Lastly, one of the greatest benefits of a workplace meditation program is the improved overall happiness of employees. With “employee happiness” being one of the biggest buzz works of 2016, it’s important to explore different ways to promote happiness that aren’t related to office kegerators or the mysterious unlimited vacation day policy. A regular meditation practice helps to improve overall happiness, self-awareness and patience. Big corporations like AOL and McKinsey & Co. have experienced increased sales performance, proving that what’s good for the mind and spirit is good for the company’s bottom line. In addition to sales departments benefitting from meditation programs, employees in customer-facing roles who meditate are more inclined to take a timeout when dealing with a difficult or frustrating situation. This is the relaxation versus fight or flight response in action!

 

With proven success in the workplace and studies that show how meditation changes how the brain processes information to better manage stress and anxiety, it’s no wonder that more and more companies are jumping on the workplace meditation trend. Whether that’s a space for mindful activities or guided meditation sessions, companies that offer these programs in-office experience improved productivity, higher attendance and increased employee happiness. It’s no surprise that workplaces looking to reduce stress and improve the lives of their employees are including mindfulness meditation to their wellness offerings. After all, a happy and calm employee is your best employee!

 

 

Interested in setting up a guided Mindfulness Meditation session in your office? Work From Om offers in-office meditation and yoga sessions for workplaces in New York City. 

5 Companies Crushing The Wellness Game

workplace wellness

Thanks to a growing yoga industry, holistic health obsessions and hundreds of trending articles circulating the internet about living your healthiest life in mind and body, “wellness” is one of the biggest buzzwords of 2016. But meditation advocates and organic farmers aren’t the only ones jumping on the wellness train; companies have begun to mix up their health program offerings to stay up to date on these changes.

So why do companies have a vested interest in workplace wellness? The obvious answer is that they care if their employees are healthy. The other reasons are based on facts proven by successful wellness programs. Companies that have more robust wellness offerings experience lower employee absenteeism and reduced healthcare costs. By offering yoga or group fitness classes, you will not only see an improvement in overall employee health but increased engagement and productivity during work hours.

Obviously some companies have caught on sooner than others. Some organizations are knocking the wellness game out of the park with unique and plentiful offerings to keep employees fit, healthy and productive at work. Check out these five companies who are ahead of the workplace wellness game:

  • Greatist — This wellness publication sure knows how to practice what they preach by treating their employees right. From monthly team sweats to weekly yoga and a fitness stipend, every Greatist employee is sure to keep their body healthy and happy. That way, they know how to write about wellness and set an example for the rest of the world.
  • FitBit — By creating custom programs for tons of other organizations, FitBit has figured out how competitions and gamification can improve employee overall health and ultimately lower company health costs. It’s no surprise that this 9 year old fitness company has fitness and wellness incentives for their employees. Their “Workout Wednesdays” give employees the chance to participate in various workouts throughout the day and you guessed it, they also have step challenges running throughout the year with seriously awesome rewards for winners.
  • Google — No one’s surprised to see this tech giant here. Google is known for being an amazing employer and offering the most sought after employee perks. They surely encompass wellness initiatives such as on-campus fitness classes and gyms, massage stipends and most importantly, free and healthy food options all day every day!
  • General Electric — This age-old corporation might be older than your grandma, but they sure know how to stay up to date with wellness offerings. Besides offering a stellar health coach program and employee and family health counseling, they use social media to create a buzz around their #GetFit competition which has reached over 25 million participants per year.
  • Sprinklr — This NYC-based startup offers a top notch insurance options in addition to gym membership discounts. But why stop there? Sprinklr also offers in-office yoga with a Work From Om teacher on a regular basis. Plus, who wouldn’t want to join a company who calls their employees “Sprinklrites?”

Why Sweatworking Is Replacing Networking

The new age of networking is here and it's covered in a thin layer of sweat.

 

Sick of having to choose between after work networking events and your evening workout? Fret no more fitness-focused professionals, because the age of sweatworking is here and it’s awesome! Meeting new people, forming new connections and keeping your body fit and healthy has never been easier to do all at once. Sweatworking is a term being used to describe networking events that include group workouts, team building exercises and healthy snacks or drinks. Whether your team is sweating through a cardio session or breathing together in a yoga class, sweatworking is beginning to replace traditional networking events.

 

Thanks to the sweatworking trend, gyms and fitness studios are seeing increased bookings. Many gyms, such as Equinox, have even begun to create classes specifically tailored to companies hosting sweatworking events. Some programs include challenges that employees can participate in over time while others are team building exercises built into a fitness class. Work From Om® is bringing mindful sweatworking programs directly to the office by offering on-site yoga and meditation sessions that help companies create more productive employees through breath awareness and mindful movement.

 

So, why sweatworking? What sort of benefits do these programs offer that traditional networking events fall short on? Some companies have begun using Sweatworking as a recruiting tool. When you put potential employees through a rigorous workout or team building exercise, their efforts can often reflect work ethic, willpower and determination. For current employees, sweatworking is a great way to build employees up by putting them through challenging experiences together and getting through it as a group. When you experience this sort of heightened excitement and satisfaction, you’re more likely to form closer and more positive relationships with those you experience it with. And let’s face it, it’s hard to deny the endorphins you get after an intense workout!

 

Most importantly, any healthy or mindful activities in the office are great for overall company health. When you encourage employees to stay active, they tend to lead healthier lifestyles. When you offer a group cardio or yoga class instead of drinking and eating events, employees begin to see positive results in their physical appearance, self confidence and general well being. Ultimately, this can lower healthcare costs for a company and create a more positive work environment with healthy, empowered employees. A happy workplace is filled with employees eager to sweat together at work events rather than nursing a hangover from the networking drink-up.

Not at a company that offers yoga classes or team workouts in the office? Work From Om® has teamed up with The Projective Space on the Lower East Side to bring yoga and networking events to NYC professionals every Tuesday evening. Start with an hour of vinyasa followed by complimentary drinks and networking in the downtown co-working space. Check out the Event Calendar for details on this weekly sweatworking event! 

 

Work From Om® Teams Up With Projective Space LES for Sunet Yoga + Open Bar Sweatworking

Big news! We've teamed up with Projective Space, an incredible membership community for growing startups, entrepreneurs and creative professionals, to provide ongoing sweatworking opportunities at their amazing Lower East Side space. We're calling it OMWork at Projective and you're invited!

Click here to grab your ticket for sunset yoga + open bar networking on July 19th at 6:30pm.

Join us for sunset yoga followed by a specialty cocktail open bar for an uplifting workout and social hour with some of the New York's brightest innovators. Grab a ticket for this week's OMWork at Projective event via Eventbrite and make sure to follow Projective Space and Work From Om® to stay up to date on future yoga and meditation events.  

Some highlights from the last one to get you in the spirit:

An hour of live DJ yoga began the evening as a full house of guests moved together on their mats at Projective Space on the Lower East Side. Following class, the group turned up the tempo and the energy with an open bar and networking happy hour. The “OMWork Gin-Coco”, featuring Tanqueray gin and Zico coconut water was poured all evening as the group drank, danced and made new connections.

 

 

Follow Work From Om® on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on all of our events!

 

 

This Is Your Brain and Body on Yoga and Meditation: 4 Powerful Scientific Findings

By Sarah Vaynerman
This article first appeared in The Huffington Post

The many benefits of yoga, a 5,000-year-old discipline, are finally getting support from modern science.

If you've ever taken a vinyasa class or spent time meditating, you may be familiar with the even-keeled buzz often referred to in the yoga world as "yoga bliss" or "yoga high." As it turns out, several recent studies support that this feeling of mind-body nirvana is not just a fleeting sentiment, but rather an indication of some very real physical responses that could lead to better health, reduced stress and increased productivity.

Yoga gets on your nerves, in the best way

The human body is an incredible, interconnected web of life, but one key player doesn't get nearly enough credit. Many people are entirely unaware of the vagus nerve, which extends from the base of the brain and branches out through the neck, chest and abdomen. It is essentially the command center for regulating the homeostasis of many vital organ systems including the heart, lungs and digestive tract. Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine presented evidence that yoga helps to regulate vagal tone, or the homeostasis of these systems, by stimulating and increasing the activity of stress-blocking neurotransmitters.

Mindfulness meditation can literally change your brain

A team of Harvard researchers compared MRIs of meditators to non-meditators before and after an eight-week course in mindfulness-based stress reduction, where participants practiced meditation on average for 27 minutes a day. Meditators showed a significant increase in gray matter in the hippocampus, which is associated with learning and memory, and a decrease in gray matter in the amygdala, which is associated with anxiety and stress. The non-meditating control group showed none of these changes in brain structure.

A few deep breaths really do go a long way.

 A study published in 2013 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that participants showed a significant reduction in blood pressure following 10 minutes of alternate nostril breathing and 10 minutes of breath awareness compared to a control group. The study concluded that alternate nostril breathing is associated with improved focus and attention while keeping anxiety levels low. This is significant because tasks requiring focus and attention are usually associated with stimulating the nervous system -- a response that can be dangerous for those with conditions such as hypertension and high stress levels.

Not all exercise is created equal

Think yoga is just one way to get the benefits of any aerobic workout? Think again. A University of Illinois study concluded that 20 minutes of Hatha yoga improved participants' ability to maintain focus and take in, retain and use new information significantly more so than after 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity. In fact, participants showed no significant improvements on working memory and inhibitory control scores after activities like jogging, while reaction times and accuracy on cognitive tasks following yoga increased.

How To Slow Down Time: Meditation And The Theory Of Relativity

By Sarah Vaynerman
This article first appeared in The Huffington Post

If asked what meaningful accomplishment one could achieve in just 10 minutes, most of us would be hard-pressed to come up with an answer. Ten minutes is nothing! But ask the average person to sit quietly and focus only on mindful breathing meditation for those same ten minutes and be prepared to be met with an incredulous scowl and an unwillingness to participate. Ten minutes, in the latter scenario, may as well be a lifetime. It's all relative.

Meditation can be scary. In an age where the demand for our attention is greater than ever - Psychology Today estimates that the average person has 25,000-50,000 thoughts per day -- the idea of sitting alone with one's thoughts can be understandably daunting. We're used to being at the beck and call of our smartphones, each notification supplying a very real hit of dopamine that validates our desire to be needed, liked, or even just noticed by the outside world. What most people fail to realize is that we've created a vicious cycle of false and unsustainable gratification.

Next time you sit down to meditate, think of it this way: You're giving yourself the gift of time and attention, indeed a commodity that becomes scarcer every day. Sure, meditation can make 60 seconds feel like an hour, but as human beings we have the power to choose whether that seemingly endless minute is ridden with debilitating anxiety or a blissful calm. We all have a choice, in any moment, to tune into our best self.

Try it right now by following these instructions: Close your eyes and take a deep breath for a count of four, and then exhale for a count of eight. As you inhale, really feel the cool air flowing in through your nose. Visualize the flow of oxygen through your respiratory system, traveling to all of the nooks and crannies of your body. As you exhale, imagine all of the stress you've been holding float away with your out-breath. Repeat five times. You've just activated your parasympathetic nervous system (ie your relaxation response) and all it took was one minute.

Congratulations! You just meditated. Didn't it feel nice?

I have great news for you -- that gift of serenity that you just gave yourself is available in infinite abundance and is instantly accessible anytime, anywhere. And if that minute of calm felt like much longer, you've just made the theory of relativity work in your favor, effectively enabling yourself to slow down your own perception of time and experience it at its best. In other words, you're learning how to manipulate the very concept of time (#mindblown) using breath-based meditation.

So next time you're feeling one of the many natural but unpleasant emotions that human beings face every day, just close your eyes, focus on your breath and give yourself a minute of relaxation that feels like an hour.

 

Stress Management Techniques & Meditation with NYC's "Urban Monk", Yoga for the Office With Certified Corporate Yoga Teachers!

Stress Management Techniques & Meditation with NYC's "Urban Monk", Yoga for the Office With Certified Corporate Yoga Teachers!

Picture this: it’s Monday evening and you’re in a packed room filled with NYC’s busiest professionals - in quiet meditation. Sounds impossible, right? Wrong! Nothing is impossible. Indeed, this was exactly the scene we set at last week’s Stress Management, Yoga and Meditation Workshop at OFFSITE, our preferred venue partner for corporate events.

On May 4th we held our first open-to-the-public event with Pandit Dasa, Work From Om® Urban Monk-in-Residence who spent more than fifteen years as an East Village monk, studying and applying wellness and meditation techniques and helping countless New Yorkers cope with stress. In this two-part event, attendees were engaged in Pandit’s Stress Management Talk & Guided Meditation, followed by a Mindful Movement asana sequence and demos led by our co-founder and certified yoga teacher Ashley Mancuso.

Here’s a summary of the takeaways for those of you who weren’t able to make it (don’t worry - more events are on the horizon!), and a refresher for those of you who were.

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4 Yoga Props You Can Keep Under Your Desk and Use at the Office (NYC, we're talkin' to you!)

4 Yoga Props You Can Keep Under Your Desk and Use at the Office (NYC, we're talkin' to you!)

No time for yoga? Nonsense! That excuse is as tired as your lower back after a day of crunching numbers at the office. In fact, you may be surprised at how much mind-body work you can fit in between your emails, calls, meetings, and coffee runs. Every moment offers an opportunity to check in with the body and the breath, and with these handy props it’s never been easier to make yourself at om right at the office.

Check out the 4 yoga props that you can keep under your desk - without losing precious legroom!

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Stress Management and Running From Tigers

Stress Management and Running From Tigers

Office-dwellers of New York City, I have a some questions for you. Just to humor me, please read them over and make a mental selection of your answers. Here we go:

  • What is more frightening: running from a tiger or making a presentation in front of co-workers / clients?

  • What is more intimidating: battling a predator for food or clamoring against another commuter for the last seat on a rush-hour subway car?

  • What requires more focus: escaping a fire or escaping a last-minute Friday 5pm assignment?

The choices seem obvious, right? Well... not quite, at least from a physical standpoint. Believe it or not, since all of these scenarios are stress-worthy by today’s standards, you’re likely to experience a pounding heart, sweaty brow, hands that get cold and clammy, and tense muscles as much from fighting for that rush-hour subway seat as you are from running from a tiger (albeit maybe not to the exact same intensity).

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Tiny victories and the power of experiencing achievement - in life, at work and on your yoga mat

Tiny victories and the power of experiencing achievement - in life, at work and on your yoga mat

You’re here! Congratulations! Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. If you’re thinking, “Uh, thanks, Sarah, but I haven’t really done anything deserving of self-celebration,” I would beg to differ. You could be watching a cat video. You could be scrutinizing your ex’s new haircut on Facebook. Instead, you’re walking the path of happy, healthy, high-functioning human beings and making the choice to indulge in content that could actually improve your day-to-day life. Well done! I’m not patronizing you here - the power of tiny victories is real and well-documented (though not discussed or promoted nearly enough in a society that puts tremendous value on large leaps and big wins) and applies at both the personal and organization levels.

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Work From Om Welcomes an Urban Monk!

Work From Om Welcomes an Urban Monk!

It’s not every day that you have the pleasure of sitting down with a true monastic (over some delicious, home-prepared vegan treats), to discuss shared beliefs and ways to bring those beliefs into the mainstream of New York City office-dwellers. But that’s precisely what we have had the fortune of doing in the last few weeks with the newest member of team Work From Om®, Gadadhara Pandit Dasa. It is with full hearts and overflowing excitement that we welcome Pandit’s expertise in the fields of meditation, stress management and conscious leadership. We are honored to have Pandit on board as we rollout premium Work From Om® Mindful Business Workshops in the lineup of our current offerings.

Pandit spent 15 years as a practicing monk and maintains 20 years of experience with the science of meditation. He has gone on to lead workshops at Google, Bank of America, Intel and Novartis Pharmaceuticals. He has also led lectures at esteemed institutes of higher learning such as Harvard University, Columbia University, Duke University, Princeton University, University of Southern California and Illinois State University.

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Sit smarter with these yoga-inspired tips for office workers and business travlers

Sit smarter with these yoga-inspired tips for office workers and business travlers

This last week has been a blur of airports and cities, cars, buses, metros, etc. Not to be misunderstood, I do sincerely love to travel, but there is no denying that it can be an incredibly grueling, exhausting process on both the physical and mental bodies. The hours spent sitting on planes, trains and in cars alone are enough to cause some damage that even the busiest tourist or traveling business person cannot simply walk off.

You may have heard that sitting is the new smoking, or you may have taken notice of the recent surge in demand for standing desks in progressive offices across the country, but the unfortunate truth is that many of us do not yet have access to these desks, or spend much of our work lives traveling, and cannot avoid the act of sitting entirely.

With this unavoidable health risk facing us as we work and travel, how can we limit the repercussions of a highly sedentary lifestyle? I’ve copied some of the best nuggets of advice that I’ve collected in the following infographic, explained in more detail below it.

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Committing to Happiness with an Attitude of Gratitude

Committing to Happiness with an Attitude of Gratitude

t’s 6pm on a bitter cold Friday night in the middle of a New York City winter. Under any other circumstances, I might not abandon the comfort of my apartment and the warming aura of my space heater, but this Friday night is different. I am scrambling with excitement to catch the next 6 train departing Grand Central, headed to an event at the 92nd Street Y called “Crazy Sexy Miracles” hosted by Gabrielle Bernstein and Kris Carr.

Fast forward one long, reflective week and a half later: I’m still stuck on one phrase that Gabrielle mentioned toward the end of her lecture. She remarked, quite simply, that choosing to commit to joy drastically increases your chance of success. Looking at it now, typed out in plain text, the statement doesn't appear too radical. But in practice, how many of us consciously choose to commit to joy? How many of us wake up every day with the intention to behave in a way that elevates our level of happiness?

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