Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness for Attorneys
Why Attorneys Should Make Time for Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness
Attorneys are under an immense amount of pressure every day. Court deadlines, trials, CLE requirements, and changing laws do not make it easy to keep stress at a minimum. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks lawyer in the number two spot on their list of most stressful jobs, and that’s understandable. Your clients rely on you to help them with child custody, real estate transactions, business contracts, criminal charges, immigration issues, and estate planning. These are all life-changing scenarios with little room for error. The following addresses the value of yoga, meditation and mindfulness for attorneys.
However, it’s no secret that stress takes a toll on you. Studies have shown that being agitated and feeling stress for an extended period of time causes damage to every single part of your body. Implementing regular, routine stress-reducing practices is vital for your health and your career.
The Journal of Occupational Health found that yoga is the most beneficial relaxation method for occupational stress. While this study focused on the impact of yoga and other practices on healthcare workers, the effect translates into other high-stress fields like law. Yoga is thought to be so effective because it combines light activity and stretching with breathing and meditation techniques.
Yoga is also an accessible form of relaxation. There are countless studios and classes throughout the country, making it easy to find in-person guided sessions. However, yoga can be done almost anywhere when a lawyer’s busy schedule has no room for scheduled studio classes. Online tutorials and videos mean easy access, and the poses and breathing exercises require no equipment.
Contrary to popular belief, flexibility and strength are not needed to benefit from yoga. While certain types of yoga build muscle and improve flexibility, you can engage in this activity in any way you are able due to breathing and meditation.
If you would like to start implementing yoga into your daily work schedule, here are some beginner-friendly poses you can do in your office.
On your hands and knees, inhale as you look up toward the ceiling and arch your back. When you exhale, look down and tuck your chin toward your chest, bending your spine up toward the ceiling. Go slowly and breathe deeply, alternating between these two poses for one to two minutes. The slow, gentle breathing calms your body and mind, allowing you to center and relax.
This pose is deeply relaxing and boosts your circulation. To get into this position, sit on the floor facing a wall. Then lie down on your back, and put your legs on the wall with your feet toward the ceiling. Scoot as close to the wall as is comfortable, and place your arms relaxed on the floor beside you. Stay in this position for a few minutes or up to fifteen minutes.
Meditation is an element of yoga, but it can also stand alone as its own effective method for stress relief. When you meditate, your body is restored to a calm state, allowing it to repair and prevent damage often caused by prolonged stress and anxiety. Meditation also improves immune function and slows mental decline associated with aging.
It is incredibly simple to implement this type of relaxation. You can do this anywhere at almost any time, so there is no excuse not to try meditating. Mindful.org has some tips and guidance for how to get started, but the general principle is this:
- Get comfortable and set a time limit
- Pay attention to your breathing and try to clear your mind
- When your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath
- Be kind to your wandering mind
Meditation is simple. However, clearing thoughts from your mind will take some practice, so it’s not exactly easy. While you practice and improve, you will still reap relaxation rewards.
Meditation does more than reduce stress. A number of benefits apply specifically to a work environment, making this a great activity to practice with your entire firm. Meditation has been linked to reduced prejudice, improved cognition, emotional regulation, and better memory.
Mindfulness has been gaining a lot of popularity as a valuable method for recentering and reducing stress. Practicing mindfulness involves being aware of your thoughts and feelings, tapping into your senses, and focusing on the present. It provides numerous benefits, including controlling emotion, coping with rejection, and lowering anxiety. Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has also found that daily mindfulness creates more helpful and productive employees.
As you can see, there is a lot of value in Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness for Attorneys. What to read more Blog articles from Burnside Law Firm, LLC? Click here to see our recent blogs!
 U.S. News. The 25 Most Stressful Jobs. https://money.usnews.com/careers/company-culture/slideshows/the-most-stressful-jobs?onepage
 Yaribeygi, H., et al. The Impact of Stress on Body Function. https://www.excli.de/vol16/Sahebkar_Panahi_21072017_proof.pdf
 Journal of Occupational Health. Physical relaxation for occupational stress in healthcare workers: A systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/1348-9585.12243
 Healthline. Here’s How to Use Yoga for Stress Reduction. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/yoga-for-stress#meditation
 AARP. Continued Meditation Tied to Slower Age-Related Mental Decline. https://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/info-2018/meditation-slows-mental-decline.html#:~:text=Meditative%20moments%20can%20stave%20off%20mental%20decline.%20About,spans%20and%20a%20slowing%20of%20age-related%20mental%20decline.
 Mindful. How to Meditate. https://www.mindful.org/how-to-meditate/
 Forbes. Six Proven Benefits Of Meditation In The Workplace. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2020/08/03/six-proven-benefits-of-meditation-in-the-workplace/?sh=61ac14c8fa88
 Psychology Today. Mindfulness. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/mindfulness
 Wharton. Mindfulness at Work: A Little Bit Goes a Long Way. https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/mindfulness-at-work/