Working long hours? Take a massage break, courtesy of your boss (NY Times)

Benedict Carey, New York Times: Through the tropics of mid-August, Michael Maccari, a men’s clothing executive, was at it 10 to 12 hours a day, fretting over the details of an imminent holiday shipment to stores, the fittings for the spring 2005 lines and the designs for next fall — three seasons, three sets of deadlines.

But right now, at lunch hour on a Wednesday, the deadlines were dissolving beneath a gentle tide of deep breathing.

Dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, Mr. Maccari joined 14 colleagues who were arrayed across the floor of a large conference room, holding the downward-facing-dog position, an upside-down V, with their rear ends in the air, arms and legs straight, as if they were playing a game of Twister.

“Think of something you can let go of,” said the yoga instructor, Margi Young. “Something, or some way, you could be doing less.”

The company, Armani Exchange, offers this yoga and meditation class free to help employees relax, reduce stress and recharge during the middle of the week. Similar classes are now familiar in workplaces across the country, from old-line firms like AT&T to New Economy outfits like Yahoo. About 20 percent of employers have some kind of dedicated stress-reduction program in place…

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