Ben is on vacation this week, so he’s asked members of the A-Team to fill in for him. Today, Zach Thoren, AKHIA’s social media project manager is up.

“Breathe in. Exhale. Inhale… and fog up your mat.”

Yoga isn’t something I’d ever expected to shape my life the way that it has. When I was a kid shoveling manure on the family farm, I never cooled down to the soothing “ommmms” of a yoga master, nor did I think that deep stretches and deeper breaths would ever be a part of my day-to-day routine.

So why now? What changed? What’s in it for you?

Like many of us, I work a 9-5 desk job. At AKHIA, we’re lucky to have standing desks and exercise balls doubling as chairs, but 90 percent of my time is spent sitting, whether at a desk, in a meeting or in my car. As such, my body hates me. Though it might sound crazy, sitting all day takes a huge toll on your body (as I’m sure you know). As someone who’s baled hay in the summer heat, shoveled pig… stuff and done too many arduous tasks, sitting is still a pain. Even if you’re an active person who works out before/after work and on the weekends, sitting can still be a pain. I’m a runner and a soccer player, so you’d think a little seated action would be a welcome relief, but not really.

After gritting my teeth in my seat for months on end, I decided to take a stand (get it?) and try something different. A friend’s parents run a small yoga studio and offered a discounted rate to get me in the door and on a mat. After falling on my face a few times, I fell in love.

Here’s what I’ve learned, and how you can use these tips to counteract everyday physical and mental aches and pains:

Breathe: Whether it’s an inversion pose you never thought you’d nail (for me, the headstand) or a massive presentation to the board, your breath can get you through anything. Breathing calms you, slows your heartbeat and prepares you for the challenge. Just three slow, deep breaths can turn your mood right around. You can do this, and you can succeed. Use your breath to get you there.

Falling is okay: Along your journey, whether it be in your yoga practice or your way up the corporate ladder, you’re going to fall. That’s part of the climb. That’s part of the process. After all, we fall so that we can learn to pick ourselves back up again.

Let it go: I use yoga to get a better grip on things that stress me, and then to let them simply float away. Long day at work? Let it go. Tough workout the day before? Stretch it off. The things that stress you out are fleeting, just like your own life. It’s important to remember that we are here for a short time, and that our stresses stand in the way of a happy ride, no matter how long or short.

Are you a yoga fan? How do you relax?