Yoga in Scrubs: 5 Ways that Nurses Can Benefit from Yoga at Work
What mental picture do you get when you hear the word “yoga”? If it’s headstands, fancy yoga pants and pristine yoga studios, then I have news for you. Yoga is more than just a difficult looking pose and expensive yoga mats. You don’t have to be a certain size or have any degree of flexibility either. Everyone’s yoga practice is personal, and most importantly, we are all beginners at some point.
For those of you that already practice yoga, it is also important to remember that many of the phrases that you hear in a yoga class can used in your professional, and everyday life. And for those of you who haven’t started practicing yoga yet, here’s 5 examples of why you should consider including yoga in your self-care regimen.
5 ways you can practice yoga in scrubs!
- Set an intention. Each yoga class usually starts with setting an intention for your practice. This is simply thinking about what you would like to gain from this particular yoga session. Would you like to come away with more clarity? A sense of calm and relaxation? Less pain in a certain area? Setting an intention helps to guide your yoga practice. You can also set an intention for your workday. What would you like to gain from this shift? A feeling of purpose? Productivity? Organization? Letting go of office drama? Setting an intention helps you to focus on the personal and professional aspects of yourself that you would like to improve.
- Pay attention to your breath. Much of yoga is centered around the breath. During your yoga class your teacher may lead you in controlled breathing, taking a deep breath in, paying attention to where the breath is in the body, and releasing the air slowly. You can imagine yourself inhaling all that is good, and exhaling all that is bad. Think of a time when you were nervous or upset. How were you breathing? Were you breathing at all? Many people do not realize how often we hold our breath when we are in a stressful situation. Remembering to breathe is a great way to refocus on the present moment, and calm down. The next time you’re in a stressful situation at work, try taking a deep breath in, filling the lungs as much as you can, holding the breath for a few seconds, and exhaling slowing.
- Honor your body. Yoga can be challenging, especially if you’re trying a new pose or you’ve recently suffered a strain somewhere in the body. You should always listen to your body and not do more than you’re physically able or that cause more harm than good. This is what is meant by honoring your body. At work, how often do you remember to honor your body? Do you stop to eat? Use the restroom? It is a well known fact that nurses do not take time to use the restroom or eat during their shift. We often work while hurt or exhausted as well, potentially causing harm to our patients and ourselves. Just as you would honor your body in a yoga class, you should honor your body in scrubs too. If you need a break, take it. If you need help lifting, ask. If you’re hungry, go eat. If you have to pee, go!
- This is a judgement-free zone. Another phrase you may hear your yoga instructor say is that you are in a judgement-free zone. If you haven’t mastered the tree pose, and your mat neighbor has, so be it. Nobody is going to point and laugh. Most anyone practicing yoga knows that everyone moves forward at their own pace. And one thing we know for sure is that you didn’t roll out your mat to get laughed at or judged, right? Well, you didn’t put on scrubs for that reason either. Work should be a judgment-free zone. This includes any judgement of self. In a yoga class, if you find you’re unable to achieve a pose, you make modifications. You breathe. You honor your body. You remember your intention for your practice. And most importantly, you don’t admonish yourself for not being able to master the pose. You’re in a judgement-free zone, and remember take your judgement-free zone with you to work as well.
- Express gratitude. At the end of each yoga session, your yoga instructor may remind you to thank yourself for doing something good. Thank your body. Thank your breath. Thank the universe, and whatever or whoever you worship. Remember to bring that sense of gratitude with you wherever you go. Nursing is a stressful profession that requires a lot of us emotionally and physically. So remember to thank yourself for doing an awesome job! Thank your body for getting the job done. Thank your mind for remaining sharp and allowing you to think on your toes. Thank your bed for the awesome sleep you’re about to get when you go home. No matter how small the blessing, remember to be grateful. Showing gratitude helps you remember and appreciate the many blessings in your life.
Nurses tend to have hectic schedules, so finding a yoga class that works for you may be difficult. You may want to take advantage of an online yoga class if that is more suitable. There’s even yoga apps! All you need to get started a space the size of your body and something comfortable to wear. Happy practicing! - YNP