Q&A with Kristin McGee: Yoga Moves for the Office

kristin-mcgeeKristin McGee has got it all together, she spends her days sharing her passion with as many people as possible as a Yoga and Pilates instructor. She got her start when she discovered yoga at NYU Tisch School of the Arts in the early 90’s. She fell in love with it and has been practicing ever since! She is fit, approachable and awe inspiring. We talked to her a little about how to get a work life balance with yoga-while you might be at the office all day, but still want to keep your practice steady.

Q: What is your yoga philosophy?

To stay as present as possible throughout the day and when I teach and practice. The union of the mind and the body through the breath is the most important aspect of yoga I think and it’s something we can do at any moment of the day. My style is vinyasa flow, linking the breath to the movement in a choreographed sequence, with a combination of some Iyenger longer holds as well as some pranayama (breathing exercises) and core work.

Q: What is the best way to incorporate yoga into your work schedule?

There are a few different options: do some arm stretches at your desk, set your timer and do a 5 minute meditation break every hour to keep refreshed, do a downward dog at the wall, forward hang in your chair or standing next to your desk, tree pose at the water cooler, etc. There are so many ways to incorporate yoga moves, breathing and stretching throughout the workday.

Q: What moves would be especially good for people who might be tied to their computer or don’t get to move a lot during the workday?

I would emphasis hip and shoulder openers to help relieve the neck and lower back. Downward Facing Dog, Triangle Pose, Extended Angle Pose, Straddle Forward Bend, Pigeon and Crescent Lunge are all great moves to do at the end of a long workday.

Q: Are there any yoga principles or practices aside from moves that can be incorporated into your workday to become more thoughtful or present?

Yes! You can take an extra 5 or 10 minutes to stop and notice your breathing, shut down your computer, rest your hands in your lap and focus on the inhale and exhale. You can also do a 3 part count where you breathe in to your lower belly, pause, upper belly, pause, upper chest, pause then long exhalation out. You can connect fully with your co-workers when you’re speaking with them. You can make sure you focus on one task at a time and stay present until the next task at hand. You can give yourself a reset button every so often stand up walk around and re-center yourself if you start feeling frazzled.

And some of Kristin’s final tips on yoga at the workplace:

I teach a lot of men and women in their offices. I go in mid-day or at lunch time and we do yoga in their office or small gym, if the building has one in it. I love to see the look on other coworkers faces when they see us stretching and breathing, it makes everyone want to do it as well! Don’t be afraid to make silly faces or stretch or breathe or even flubber your lips and let out an OM every now and then at work. You will really start to make an impact and others will soon be doing those things with you.