How Yoga Can Positively Impact Your Job
Monday morning seems like a good time to talk about work. Not the work that goes in to a deeper backbend, or nailing pincha, or getting your foot behind your head. I mean real go-to-the-office, monthly pay-slip, heels-and-a-dress kind of work.
It says in my bio that I have a 'big career'. It's something I love, but I choose not to go into the details of the role I do or the industry I work in either here or on my Instagram. Mostly because I think those details are irrelevant - there are a million different jobs and career paths out there, but the challenges we all face trying to excel at our own chosen route while living happily and healthily are remarkably similar. Not enough hours in the day, competing priorities, stress, clients, colleagues... the list goes on!
But what I do love to speak about is how I, how YOU, can do both: a big passion and a big career. How each one of those things can feed and thrive on the other, until both are bigger and bolder and better that you ever imagined.
Because yoga can make you better at your job. (And, bonus points alert, your job can make you better at yoga, but I am going to save that for another post...)
But how? How can yoga possibly make you better at your job?!
Why Yoga is Different
The first few steps on the yogic path for most people are physical. The asana. The practice of movement linked with breath.
To an outsider, it seems crazy that any form of simply physical movement can have any impact beyond on your muscles and joints.
But yoga is different. Because it doesn't ask you how many reps you can do, or how what your abs look like, or how fast or far you can move.
It asks you to be aware of what is going on in your mind.
Which sounds easy until you try to do it.
If we had to sit down on the floor and focus on what was going on in our minds for 60, 90 or 120 minutes right now, 99% of us (myself included) would give up after 90 seconds.
But the system that is modern yoga recognises this. So it starts with the physical body. By linking breath with conscious movement, you slowly learn the art of observation. First of your body, then your breath, and then your mind.
You practice failure, and frustration, and making mistakes. You learn that when these things happen, the world doesn't end. That you can get back on your mat the next day and start again. You learn that one day you can do the pose and the next day you can't, and that you can be ok with that. You practice patience and then you practice it again and again. And you learn that as long as you keep showing up, no matter where you started from or how slow you progress, you will see more change that those people that don't.
Same Lessons, Different Context
Now. Re-read the above paragraph but think about it in the context of your career.
Our careers are multi-year projects, full of failure and mistakes and frustrations. You need acres of patience to show up to the same job day after day and not always feel like it is taking you forwards, even though inevitably it will. You need to be able to observe and not react in times of stress in order for your boss to give to that stretch project, or for your client to trust you with that bigger piece of business. You need to be able to dust yourself off when setbacks happen and carry on.
A yoga practice gives you the chance to perfect all the skills that you need to manage and drive a career forwards. Long-term thinking, the benefits of laying strong foundations, the upside of having great teachers and mentors to help you.
Yoga means I am fitter and stronger and more bendy than I have ever been. But more than that it means I am happier, and calmer, and more aware of who I am, of what is important to me, of how I react to events, and what I want from life. Yoga has taught me to breathe, to fail, when to listen to myself vs. when to listen to others, to be less afraid. It has shown me that I can achieve things I thought were impossible. And it has taught me that I will be OK when I don't.
Every single one of those lessons is transferable into my job. Every single one of those lessons improves my approach to my career, and my performance in it.
Yoga is technology. Technology has many applications. And I chose to apply this one to my mind, my body, and my ambitions off the mat. What will you choose?