In addition to becoming more physically fit, yoga also helps to reduce tension, stress and discomfort associated with our daily workplace challenges. If only we could roll out our mats the moment we feel stress at work. However, when we are faced with difficult situations it’s not that simple. We spend eight hours a day in fast paced offices, hours navigating to and from work and get home only to repeat the routine the next day. We must think fast to resolve challenges quickly. Quiet moments on the mat allow space to reflect and focus. There is a way to have the best of both worlds. It is possible to work mindfully work more effectively and efficiently. The solution is yoga in the workplace. We can breathe through discomfort and mindfully move through the day with clarity. It takes both time, practice and creativity to consciously bring how we feel on the mat into our work life. Yoga in the workplace can have the greatest impact by helping to manage our daily challenges.
In general, people tend to make life more complicated than needed. So, when they truly began to understand the power of the breath, things around them began to change. It’s hard to stay tense when someone asks you to take a deep inhale and exhale. There is a calmness that settles around the room when you focus on your breath. It gives your mind something to do and it allows your body to do nothing but exist. Your nervous system slows down long enough for to start hearing your thoughts.
When you are calmer and happier, you tend to be more productive. You are also in a better mood to deal with your coworkers and boss. Yoga helps to improve your overall outlook on life. Even if you have a long list of tasks or scheduled meetings, you can organize and find clarity throughout the day. When you can manage your day to day activities in a peaceful state you are better able to prioritize and concentrate. You also know that Rome wasn’t built in a day and you accept what you cannot control.
On the mat, you learn to find compassion and acceptance of your physical body. You start to see the beauty and uniqueness in your body. With each posture, you become amazed at your own strength, flexibility, and agility. You also find self-compassion and acceptance for the postures that are not possible in that moment. What is learned in the body, is also cultivated in mind. The compassion developed within yourself starts to spill over into relationships with your coworkers. You tend to have more compassion for the shortcoming and mistakes of yourself and others.
Most novice yoga practitioners start with a level of skepticism or fear of the unknown. They are unsure if they will be able to keep up with the pace of the class or if they are flexible enough. However, in the opening most instructors provide a statement of reassurance and non-judgement. You are asked to listen to your body, which means what my body says to me is different from what yours is saying to you. As we fall in and out of focus and postures, we know that at the next juncture we can jump back in the race without judgment. Over time you stop judging your breaks in concentration and postures. You become comfortable not judging your neighbor’s movements as well. You forget about the people around you and focus on honoring the moment. Non-judgement in the workplace is essential to seeing situations clearly and fairly.
Yoga in the workplace can improve and influence leadership styles. Slowing down to breath on the mat can help a manager or team lead to guide and mentor with more clarity. Yoga increases your creativity and can changes your perspective. You may quickly find ways to put a new spin on existing policies and procedures. Yoga helps you mentally create space for new ideas to incubate and be brought forward. New perspectives can also be used to bring about positive change to the persons you lead.
The great thing about bringing yoga into the workplace is it can be done anywhere. Conscious breathing can be done throughout the day. Purposeful pauses to check in on your body can also be done throughout the day. They can be scheduled into your day. There are specific chair yoga poses that can also be done at your desk or in a conference room. Over time yoga has a great impact on your overall well-being. It can make you calmer, happier, productive, compassionate and nonjudgmental, all characteristics that not only make you a better coworker but also a better individual. You might be surprised to find your coworkers following your lead or asking what’s your secret.
How do you bring your yoga practice into your workplace? Comment below.