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One Day Magazine

Five Ways to Fit Self-Care Into a Busy Workday

A high-powered attorney took a break from her busy life, got re-centered on self-care while studying yoga in India, and she has some advice on how we can all step back, take a breath, and make a change.

By Paula Ann Solis

October 15, 2018

We’ve all been there: too few hours in the day and too many tasks left on the to-do list. Something as ambitious as an actual workout goes out the window, and “maybe tomorrow” becomes a mantra. Pia Das (D.C. Region '01) gets it. In 2014, she left her job as a high-powered litigator, exhausted, and traveled to India to deepen her yoga practice—and her spirit. She’s back stateside now, mentoring law students of color and practicing law again but with the work-life balance she had been missing. Here are her tips:

From Your Desk

Keep essential oils nearby. Das suggests rosemary to stay focused and lavender to stay calm.

Focused breathing. Take a few moments each hour to concentrate on your breathing. “Close your eyes and concentrate on slow, deep breaths that get oxygen to your head,” Das says.

Break room poses. Find a quiet space to practice the Forward Fold and Downward Dog poses. Downward Dog is especially good if you spend a lot of time sitting, because it helps build strength and brings flexibility to your shoulders and spine, Das says. Keep your eyes closed during Forward Fold, especially if they’re typically glued to a screen.

Self-Care on the Go

Trees on the subway. The Tree pose—where the sole of one foot rests on the inner thigh of the opposite leg while standing—is ideal for the busy commute. Hold on to a pole to keep balanced and feel your core strengthen while your body releases stress.

Tune in. If you’re sitting in a car or on the bus, take that time to meditate by listening to mantra music or silently chanting “om.” “Mantras can imprint on your mind and keep you clear,” Das says. They are “a simple way to make a big change.”

Because You’ve Taught for America

YogiApproved is a healthy lifestyle magazine that offers free online yoga and fitness classes to corps members and alumni teachers. To obtain the code for your free and unlimited access to online yoga and fitness classes for a school year, contact alumniteaching@teachforamerica.org. Give it a try, Das says. “There is no ‘good’ at yoga. It’s just about showing up.”

Das is a Houston-based attorney. She blogs at Being In The Stillness and teaches a weekly yoga class to students at South Texas College of Law.

Illustration by Alexander Mostov