The stress of working at home intensifies when we are dealing with a constant news cycle and the competing demands of family and work. As a Yoga Alliance Experienced Certified Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200), Lisa Pafe suggests five yoga poses tied to the proposal life cycle.
1. Kickoff sun salutation
Greet the day (or the sunset). With shoes off, stand up with feet side-by-side or no wider than hip distance. Slowly inhale and raise your arms above your head, bringing your palms to touch at heart center. Bend your knees, pull belly to spine to engage your core. Then, slowly exhale into a forward fold, breathing out through your nose, and letting your head, neck, and arms dangle. Another option is to hold onto your elbows with opposite hands and rock side to side. Shake your head yes and no to further relieve tension, and then let your head and neck relax again. Your heavy head will help to decompress your spine.
If hamstrings or lower back are tight, bend your knees more. Then slowly rise on an inhale, keeping knees slightly bent and core engaged, one vertebra at a time, and raise your hands until your palms touch above your head. Finally, slowly bring your palms together in front of your heart breathing out. Repeat as many times as needed.
2. Daily Stand Up neck stretch and breathing
Perfect when the proposal team is a pain in the neck! Continue to stand or sit back down in your chair with straight spine. Inhale and then on an exhale, slowly allow your left ear to relax towards your left shoulder. Breathe a few rounds. On an inhale, bring your head back to neutral. Exhale and inhale. Then exhale and allow right ear to relax towards right shoulder. On an inhale, bring your head back to neutral. Exhale and inhale.
On your next exhale, allow head to slowly tilt as far back as comfortable but still keeping control of your neck. Gaze upward and breathe a few rounds. On an inhale, bring your head back to neutral. Exhale and inhale. Then exhale and tuck your chin to your chest, relaxing into the pose and breathing slowly into the back of your neck. Inhale to return to neutral head position.
3. Pink team wrist stretch
You’ve been up all night writing and reviewing, and now your wrists hurt. Sit up straight in your chair and press your hands down on the edges of the chair, fingers pointing outward. Raise your shoulders up and down slowly. Repeat several times. You can also do this pose standing by placing your hands on your desk in different directions and rocking your body forward and back slightly.
To achieve the opposite stretch, extend your arms forward shoulder distance apart at shoulder height. Make fists and curl them downward. Breathe a few rounds, and then relax and shake out your hands.
4. Gold team spine twist
Relieve the pressure and tension of impending deadlines. Sit in your chair, cross one leg over the other and grasp your top knee with your opposite hand. Hold the back of your chair with your free hand and slowly twist your upper body and head towards that shoulder. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Switch your legs and arms and twist in the opposite direction.
5. Home stretch meditation pose
Useful when you can’t figure out how to cut five more pages to get within page count and still remain compliant! Sit down in your chair with your feet on the floor. Relax your hands on your lap, palms facing upward. Place thumb and index finger together to promote wisdom. Close your eyes and relax your face and jaw. Focus inward on your third eye (between your eyebrows). Slowly take a deep breath in through your nose for 5 counts, hold briefly, and then breathe out of your mouth for 8 to 10 counts. Repeat several times. Counting while breathing helps to relax the body and focus the mind.
I’ve been practicing yoga – both in the studio and at my desk – for 13 years and can attest to the mental and physical health benefits. Remember, even if you only have 10 minutes free, you can regain a little bit of sanity through these poses. Namaste!
By Lisa Pafe, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, CPP APMP Fellow and PMI PMP
Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals.
As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Go-to-Market Strategy, Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $135B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at www.lohfeldconsulting.com and join us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.