How Yoga Can Raise Your Motivation and Productivity

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On average, we spend 8 hours at work, sometimes doing overtime. Then, we come home and continue with our routine, cooking dinner, doing homework with kids, and continue being in the loop. 

With so much going on, we have less and less time to take care of ourselves. In fact, the work-home loop starts looking like a downward spiral with time, resulting in more stress, loss of motivation and productivity. 

What Does the Research Say?

Yoga is among the methods to tackle this problem. Different sources of research claim that yoga:

Reduces stress. Loss of motivation and productivity is often caused by stress that becomes chronic over time. According to recent research posted by the International Journal of Preventing Medicine, 52 surveyed women experienced less stress and anxiety after just 12 sessions of yoga. 

Improves physical activity and self-efficacy. According to research from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 41 surveyed participants with PTSD reported feeling more motivated after several regular sessions of yoga, with reduced stress and anxiety symptoms as well. 

Boosts memory and concentration. To help you become more productive, yoga has a positive effect on our cognitive abilities, according to a study published in the Biological Psychology journal. Reportedly, 108 participants reported that breathing exercises that Hatha yoga includes, helped them feel more focused. 

Over the years, more and more people have started practicing yoga, either as a main physical activity or in addition to other activities like going to the gym or doing Pilates. 

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) shares some stats on why Americans try yoga. Among those reasons, the most popular are:

  • Less stress and improved concentration (86% of surveyed)
  • Better physical and mental health (82% of surveyed)
  • Better emotional state and more motivation (67% of surveyed)

NCCIH also recommends yoga as one of the additional treatment methods for patients with different mental health conditions. 

Yoga Poses to Boost Motivation and Productivity

As someone who spent 10 years in the downward spiral of losing productivity and motivation, I was looking for a way to get out of this vicious circle. It motivated me to participate in a  ‘30 Days of Yoga for Self-Care Challenge’. Inspired by my results, I prepared a routine that I now do every day to feel motivated focused.

Here’s my everyday yoga routine, proven to help you raise motivation and productivity. 

Tadasana and Ushtrasana for Morning Energy Boost

Tadasana is what I begin my day with. This is a perfect pose to do a morning stretch and wake up your body and mind. Also called the Mountain Pose, it is also good for helping you cope with a headache and improves posture. 

Here are some tips to make the most out of this pose:

  • Challenge yourself by doing this pose with eyes closed. This way you’ll be able to find balance without paying attention to the outer environment, helping you concentrate better. 
  • For beginners: you can improve your balance by standing with your feet slightly apart. 
  • You can position your arms as you see fit. A common way is to lift them upward to stretch your whole body. 

Ustrasana is another post to help you find balance and feel more focused. Besides allowing you to stretch your body and feel the balance, it is also good for your digestive system, helping you work on the stomach muscles. 

There are different variations of this pose. I’ve found that the following approaches help worked best for my body:

  • Slowly leaning backward helps gradually stretch your body and not hurt your muscles. 
  • Correct breathing technique is crucial when pushing your body above the waist outward and upward. 
  • It’s best to do this pose in two approaches, holding the position for no more than 30 seconds. 

While Ustrasana is recommended as the ultimate pose to wake up your body, Tadasana also works well before sleep, helping your body to de-stress. 

Seated Crescent Moon and Chair Pigeon Pose While Working

While at work, you can often find yourself unproductive and unmotivated, especially after sitting behind your desk for several hours. I found that some yoga poses can be very helpful to change your focus and bring back the motivation. 

I usually start my yoga routine at work from a seated crescent moon pose. This is a stretching pose for your spine and neck muscles. How does it help motivation and productivity?

  • You have to pay attention to every step of this pose, as you can strain your neck muscles. Thus, you bring back the focus by paying close attention to your body. 
  • This pose requires you to follow a breathing technique. Exhaling and inhaling correctly will help you feel more energized, as you slowly help your body de-stress. 

To finish my brief yoga session at work, I usually do a chair pigeon pose. Although it’s often recommended for seniors to prevent them from hurting their muscles, this pose is perfect to do at your desk (also, you don’t want to attract unnecessary attention). 

Tip! When doing this pose, try not to do it on a rolling chair. For this pose, it’s better to choose one that stands steadily. 

Balasana and Savasana for Better Sleep

 The quality of your sleep greatly impacts your motivation and productivity. After all, sleep-deprivation is the first reason that kills motivation and impairs our ability to focus. However, a little bit of yoga before sleep can help you sleep like a baby. 

For my simple evening yoga routine, I start with Balasana or a child’s pose. This is an effective pose for:

  • Gently stretching hips and thighs
  • Relieving back and neck pain after a long day of sitting behind the desk
  • Calms the brain and relieves fatigue

To finish my yoga stretch before going to sleep, I relax my body with a Savasana or a corpse pose. This is a perfect pose for complete relaxation of your body and mind, as you lie down on a surface and simply allow yourself to rest. 

Tip! While doing Savasana, you can turn on some music and meditate to achieve the complete relaxation of your body and mind. 

Wrapping Up

Doing yoga is proven to be a good method to raise your motivation and productivity if you do it persistently. I found that regular yoga sessions are effective for those, who want to feel more focused and motivated, whilst helping you take care of your body as well. 

Meet the Author

Kate is a passionate writer who likes sharing her thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, she works at Flatfy. She likes everything related to self-improvement, traveling, and new countries.

Top 5 Outdoor Activities for Improving Your Mental Health

Being physically active has numerous benefits for your physical and mental health. It’s a great thing for your body and mind to spend some time doing outside activities in the fresh air, letting the steam out, depressurizing and improve your fitness. If you need ideas on what great outdoor activities you could do, here are a couple of those.

Top 5 Outdoor Activities for Improving Your Mental Health

1. Yoga – The Balance of Body And Mind

Yoga is great because you can do it anywhere – all you need is your yoga mat, and you’re set to go. Find some quiet place outside and let it go. Yoga has incredible benefits to your mental health – it motivates you to focus on your breathing, which is a form of meditation and calms you down.

Another advantage of yoga is that it comes in many forms and types, meaning you can practice yoga regardless of your age and physical fitness. You being outside, focusing on the position (asana), and your breathing teaches you how to live in the moment, free of the everyday worries. It automatically means the stress level will reduce while the endorphins are releasing. In the long term, you will notice that you are closer to emotional balance.

Top 5 Outdoor Activities for Improving Your Mental Health

2. Cycling and Enjoying The Scenery

Regarding physical benefits, cycling is great for your lower body strength, especially your calves, hamstrings, and quads. It is an excellent cardio which helps your cardiovascular system. What makes it an excellent activity for people with joint pains is that it’s a non-weight-bearing activity. And lastly, it improves your coordination and balance.

Regarding mental health benefits, cycling is very effectiveat reducing stress and improving your mood. It’s also a group activity – you can go on a family cycling tour and enjoy while bonding. And let’s not forget the opportunity to change the scenery every day. You can’t be bored while exploring new parts of town and changing the route every couple of days.

Top 5 Outdoor Activities for Improving Your Mental Health

3. Hiking – Meditative and Fun

Hiking offers the opportunity to take your time while enjoying the scenery. Additionally, hiking in nature is a wonderful experience. You get to spend a lot of calories without actually noticing it because you’ll be too busy exploring the surroundings and soaking it all in. This type of outdoor activity is especially beneficial for those who are feeling depressed or sad. When you expose yourself to nature: the trees, the flowers, the natural sounds, you will create a connection to it all, calming your mind and letting go of the worries.

If it’s possible, explore hiking holidays offers to give yourself a couple of days of pure joy. Being able to hike and explore new surroundings is incredibly beneficial. You will change the surroundings and have a lovely relaxing holiday while still being able to be physically active. And you can choose the pace -it can be a relaxing walk or a more strenuous workout.

Top 5 Outdoor Activities for Improving Your Mental Health

4. Swimming – Give in To the Water

If you are lucky to have a river or a lake nearby, don’t miss the chance to rip the benefits. As soon as the weather gets hot enough, take your towel and go for a swim. Swimming is excellent for the whole body because there is no pressure for the body in water. There is a minimum chance of an injury so even people recovering from one can take up swimming. Still, you will improve your muscles because the water provides a specific resistance while you swim. It also improves your flexibility.

Mental benefits are obvious – you can relax while swimming, enjoying the water. When you merely float, you can turn off all your senses and just feel the sense of calmness overwhelming you. Also, the rhythmic movements you make while swimming represents a form of meditation.

Top 5 Outdoor Activities for Improving Your Mental Health

5. Paddling – Enjoy the Water in A Different Way

You won’t be in the water to enjoy it. As much as outdoor swimming is excellent, it is impossible to do it throughout all the year (in most cases) due to weather conditions. Still, paddling is fantastic because you can do it almost any day if you wear appropriate clothes.

You can enjoy the serenity of the water and work on your upper body strength. Your shoulders, arms, back, and chest will increase its strength, but you will also get stronger legs. Paddling is one of the low-impact activities, so there is no fear of getting injured while paddling. It is a cardiovascular activity that can calm you down! So, if you are feeling depressed or anxious – merely take the paddles and go to the nearest lake or river. river.

Outdoor activities are so beneficial that you should always prefer them over other forms of exercise. They are good for your physical fitness, but the aspect of mental health is what makes them so unique.

Author Bio

Nina is the author of this post. Nina is a lifestyle blogger, yoga aficionado and a travel enthusiast with a distinctive taste for home decor. She’s passionate about learning new things and sharing meaningful ideas. In her free time, Nina loves to design clothes and furniture. If you wanna see what she’s up to you can find her on Twitter.Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here

30 Days of Yoga for Self-Love Challenge

One of my goals for 2018 was to do yoga regularly. Regularly can be defined as almost every day and consistent. I have not been doing a great job at keeping up with this. I chose yoga because I enjoy it, I can do it at home, and it is so good for physical and mental health. For these reasons, I have decided to challenge myself to 30 days of Yoga for Self-Love, and I would like you guys to join me! Yoga isn’t your thing? Try my other 30-Day Self-Care Challenge! -Care Challenge!

This post may contain affiliate links

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Why Take Part in The Self-Love Challenge?

The main reason you should take part in this self-care challenge is to feel better. Everyone knows that physical activity and exercise is so good for your general well-being. SO, practicing yoga for 30 days with me is a fantastic way to show yourself some self-love. The yogi who will be leading this group is a wonderful person. She has always brought yoga to a level that works for everyone, and she promotes growth and effort. She is the perfect leader for those of us who wish to practice yoga, but are not very good and tend to fall out of every pose at least twice.

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How Do I Take Part in this Self-Care Challenge?

To take part in the challenge, all you will need is access to YouTube. My absolute favorite YouTube yoga channel is Yoga with Adriene, and she puts out a new challenge every year. We will be using her videos for the challenge. Access her playlist here. Now, Adriene started her challenge January 1st, but you and I will be starting whenever we want (I recommend right away for all procrastinators out there ;).

If you want to keep track of your mental and physical progress throughout these 30 days, I recommend you get access to my resource library where you can download a 30-Days of Yoga for Self-Care printable to help you track your progress.

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But I Do Not Have a Yoga Mat…

So what? Do you have a floor? PERFECT! That is all you need to join me for some self-love! However, if you are on carpet, I recommend taking your socks off, so you do not slip—I’ve made that mistake before! Adriene is excellent at recommending household items that can be used during your practice to help you.

So what are you waiting for? Do you want to practice some bomb self-love or self-care? Grab your laptop or phone and join me in 30 days of yoga for self-care!

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Meditation | How to Keep Calm During the Holidays

Meditation is one of those commonly misunderstood forms of self-care. This post will talk all about meditating to stay calm and to lessen anxieties during the holidays.

The holidays are a hectic time full of great times, but also full of stress and anxiety. It can sometimes be hard to stay calm and avoid these feelings. When experiencing holiday anxiety or stress it is important to find a way to combat it. There are countless ways to do so, one of the most effective forms of holiday relaxation is meditation and mindfulness.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is often thought of as a religion. While it is used by religious people and has ties to religions such as Buddhism, on its own it is not a religion. A good resource for learning more about meditation, or self-examination, is Gaiam. Gaiam states, “Meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body.”

So, meditating is all about your mind. There are many ways to meditate. One way that we will focus on is mindfulness meditation.

Meditation | How to Keep Calm During the Holidays

How Meditation Will Help Calm During the Holidays

Mindfulness meditation refers to a focus on experiencing what is going on. You focus on your body and your mind and you become aware and mindful of your surroundings and how they influence your body and your mind. Learn more about how to practice mindfulness meditation here.

So how exactly will self-examination help to keep you calm during the holidays? Well, it’s like yoga (in fact, yoga is a form of meditation really), so it allows you to be aware of how you’re feeling. And the more you practice it, the more in tune with yourself you will become.

Once you can recognize the incoming holiday stress or anxiety, you will be able to then practice self-examination to counteract those negative feelings.

Meditation | How to Keep Calm During the Holidays

Meditation Using Yoga

Yoga is most definitely my favorite form of meditation. Yoga places a huge focus on breathing and being aware of what you are feeling in your mind and in your body. Finding time in your schedule to do some quick yoga is super beneficial!

One of my favorite yoga practices is done at home. YouTube has a plethora of yoga videos, but Yoga with Adriene is my go-to. I particularly enjoy her 30-days of yoga challenges.

Now that you know a little bit more about meditation, check out 30-days of yoga challenge and get a FREE printable to track your mental and emotional progress.

Read more about Holiday Self-Care here.

Have a great idea? Want to write a post for Jihi Elephant? Head over here.

Meditation | How to Keep Calm During the Holidays

5 Easy Holiday Self-Care Practices

With the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season, it’s easy to allow yourself to become overwhelmed with everything on your to-do list and everyone who wants to spend time with you. it’s during this time that we tend to neglect ourselves the most. For that reason, I have a collection of holiday self-care practices perfect for the occasion.

Holiday Baths

A bath is one of my favorite ways to decompress around the holidays. You just cannot go wrong by relaxing in a hot tub with some bubbles and a candle. To set up the perfect bath for relaxing, head over here! Perhaps for this season, mix it up with a holiday or Christmas bath bomb or candle scent!

Create A Relaxed, Cozy Environment

Another great way to practice holiday self-care is to make sure your environment instills calm, cozy, and relaxed vibes. There are a ton of ways to do this, but ultimately, it is whatever works best for you. You might turn up the heat, dim the lights, light a candle, curl up with a blanket, or make some hot cocoa. You can read more about getting that cozy Christmas feeling here.

5 Easy Holiday Self-Care Practices

Have Somewhere to Escape to

If you’re over-worked, stressed, or introverted, one of the best ways to practice holiday self-care is to ensure that you have somewhere you can escape from the hustle and bustle of people and the never-ending to-do list. Take some time each day or even week away from everything stressing you out and be by yourself. Your escape can be anywhere and you can do anything when you are there. For me, I escape to my bedroom each night where I curl up in my blankets and watch some of my favorite YouTube channels. This is my holiday self-care escape. Where do you like to escape to during stress?

Brief Yoga or Meditation

Perhaps yoga is not for you, but meditation and yoga are great ways to take your mind off holiday stress and decompress. When you find yourself feeling tense, stressed, or overwhelmed, take a minute to be in the present. Take a walk or do some yoga and just be. Head over here to read more about using meditation during the holidays.

5 Easy Holiday Self-Care Practices

Say No

One of the biggest and most important on this short list of holiday self-care practices is practicing saying no. During this time of year everyone is doing so many things and it can be so incredibly overwhelming. Being able to turn down requests is probably the most effective way to de-stress and take care of yourself this holiday season. If you take nothing else from this post, please practice saying no and be aware of your limits. If you have taken on too much, do not take on any more, and ask for help! There is no shame in turning your projects or tasks into group endeavors.

This is a very brief list of holiday self-care practices, I’d like to know how you manage your holiday stress and take care of yourself. Let me know if the comments below!

5 Easy Holiday Self-Care Practices