April 10, 2017

Yoga: My Not-So-Secret Weapon To Reaching Your Full Potential At Work

I work in an industry where unplugging isn’t an option. My day job basically boils down to chasing shiny objects through rabbit holes to help multiple clients succeed in multiple ways online. Every. Day.

So what’s a digital marketer to do to stay sane?

I have a unique advantage in that one of my first loves was yoga. Finding flow, practicing zen, focusing on mindfulness - all of these things help keep me grounded and ready to rock the Monday thru Friday (and sometimes weekend) grind.

If yoga isn’t your passion, maybe it should be. Even if you don’t envision yourself becoming a yogi master or committing to showing up for classes every day (because, let’s face it - your schedule is already jammed), you, too, can yoga.

I’ll share 3 easy things to incorporate into your life that will make an impact. By the end of this post, you just might have yoga brain. Yes, that’s a thing!

Don’t Fight Your Flow

You: I’m always hearing about how fantastic yoga is and how it changes people's lives. I want to try it, really. I just can’t get myself to that first class because:

  • I’m not flexible enough.
  • People will stare at me.
  • I don’t know the poses.
  • What if I get stuck next to one of the super bendy barbie yoginis?
  • I’m going to fall flat on my face.
  • I don’t want to go by myself.
  • I have an injury and I need to slow down, not do more.

Me: I have an extra mat in my car, lets do it!

Here’s the thing, every person in class started as a beginner and had at least one of those thoughts. When I started yoga at 12 years old with my mom at the YMCA most of those thoughts crossed my mind as well. Doing yoga makes you flexible, not the other way around.

It is non-competitive (as business people, this word is scary but exciting!) by nature because your goal is to unify (which is actually what the word 'yoga' means) with your mind, body and soul.

When someone looks your way during class it’s most likely one of three things:

  • They’re unfamiliar with the pose being taught or the name of it and are hoping you might know it.
  • They’ve seen you take an advancement or modification and would like to try the same.
  • Your yoga gear is totally rockin’ and they can’t wait to compliment you at the end of class and ask you where you bought it.

Yoga is a practice you keep working on bit by bit. It is more than the physical poses you go through - it’s a philosophy on which you build your life.

Try it this week:

Ask a fellow yogi friend or co-worker if you can join them at their next class. Now you have a yoga buddy to get started with. Want to do it on your own? Start by eliminating time inconveniences and price factors from the mix. Find a studio near your home or work. Make sure it’s on your route if you commute to work and no more than 5-10 minutes away from either location.

Look for studios with convenient class times.

  • Check out sunrise classes (6am/7am)
  • Shortened lunch hour classes  (45 minutes at noon)
  • Happy hour classes (4:30/45pm at half price rates)

If you’re on a budget try:

  • Karma classes (free/donation based classes)
  • Community classes (half priced)
  • Your gym’s yoga class offerings
  • New student specials like $20 for two weeks unlimited  OR $59 for 10 classes.

If your biggest fear of yoga is the other people around you, go for private lessons or try an easy yoga beginners video at home.

Find Your Zen

Even if your schedule doesn’t allow you to fit in a class every morning, you can still work some zen into your work life. When you walk through your daily life on autopilot, you miss opportunities to find a bit of bliss or a moment to yourself.

Making a few small adjustments to your daily grind can turn all time, into your own time and not divided between me time and work time. Yoga isn’t just the physical poses practiced in class. It could be the 5 deep breaths you take before going into a big meeting or presentation. Breathing in: I’m going to rock this meeting! Breathing out: I feel calm and ready.

Sitting at a computer all day strains the eyes and fatigues the mind. Get up from your desk and walk around the office. Water the plants if you have them or just take a few moments and look outside or walk outside. You can circulate oxygen to the brain, blood through your body all while connecting with nature for a moment.

Try it this week:

Start your day with a 2-5 minute check-in. Before you get out of bed and before you check your phone, do a full body scan. How is your body feeling? Any aches or soreness? Take a mental note and ask yourself how your mood and mind is. Already thinking about what you have to do for the day or worrying about something someone said the day before? Acknowledge your current state and what you need for the day. Taking a mental inventory is part of the warm up during a yoga practice. You just found 5 minutes of zen without even getting out of bed!

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is simply the state of being aware (conscious) in the current moment. At the moment I am writing this blog with a slight headache, sitting on my couch, with dim lighting, as my loving dog sleeps next to me during my work from home Friday. At an even higher level I am becoming the type of person that I was created to become as Yasemin Inal explains on reaching your highest potential through mindfulness.

Practicing mindfulness throughout your workday can be as simple as setting time aside to do one task. Yes, be a single- tasker. Watch how much better you become at that task. Pause  during a conversation with a coworker or manager. Is this conversation useful to either one of you?

Try it this week:

At your desk, press all of your toes on the floor, one toe at a time, with your hands resting on your knees, palms up or palms down - whatever feels right at that moment. Sit up tall in your seat, acknowledge and feel the support of your chair and the floor. What color is your desk? What color is your chair? How long have you been sitting there? Are you accomplishing what you set out to accomplish for the day? Is this a good time for a break before switching to another task? Give yourself gratitude for taking a moment of mindfulness and then continue your day.  

Fill Up Your Cup

“Before you assist others, always put your oxygen mask on first.”

It is no secret in life that in order to help others (such as coming up with with the best digital marketing strategy for your client), you must first take of yourself. Yoga not only teaches you how to practice self care for yourself, but it also allows you to break through barriers you thought weren’t possible, like landing that impossible client or huge promotion. Find what works best for you and keep playing that edge until you find a new one.

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