Have you ever thought about the connection between yoga and work? Work is an essential part of life, and yoga improves lives. So, there is certainly a connection between yoga and work!
Yoga brings us more into balance, both on and off the mat. With a regular, dedicated practice, we receive tools that make us less afraid to try new things. Yoga teaches us to go within and learn more about ourselves. And it motivates us toward self-study, so we can understand our strengths and weaknesses.
How Yoga and Work Go Together
If you’re challenged at work, it could be for a number of reasons. You may be clashing with your boss, having trouble managing multiple projects, or simply feeling overwhelmed by stress. Look to your yoga practice for strategies you can use off the mat to navigate your relationship with your boss. Maybe it’s a matter of letting go of attachment to the outcome of your efforts or a matter of learning to use your personal power.
Another way yoga can help you at work is through the practice of mindfulness. The more aware you become, the easier it will be to get out of your own way. And believe it or not, the stiller your mind, the more you can get done.
Yoga also has an uncanny way of helping us put things in perspective. The first yama—ahimsa—is about kindness. We learn not only to be kind to others but also to be kinder to ourselves, which can make our imperfections less painful.
The second niyama—contentment—may give you permission to take a step back from the rat race and the idea that you always need to get ahead to feel good about yourself and your work. And you can use the third niyama—austerity—to get fired up about what you do.
Often in job interviews, employers ask candidates about their strengths and weaknesses. Taking an honest look at yourself, through the practice of self-study (the fourth niyama) and then turning things over in faith to higher power (niyama number five) are good ways to approach these questions.
It’s About Showing Up!
One of my yoga teachers always talks about the importance of showing up and doing the practice. It’s important to follow through on that commitment to the yoga lifestyle and practice, even when it doesn’t feel perfect. How often does showing up for work feel the same?
Another thing you’ve probably focused on in your yoga practice is the dance between effort and surrender. Doing your best and then letting go when you’ve reached your edge is a powerful way to approach both your yoga practice and your work. Again, trust comes into play. Too often we try to control everything—our to-do lists, our insecurities about how people see us, the areas where we’re not as skilled as our colleagues, etc. We end up wasting a lot of energy!
On the other hand, developing our personal power, which we do in yoga, can help us develop skills we need to succeed in our work as well. As we do this, we also need to speak our truth, as the second yama tells us.
So, you see, there is a connection between yoga and work. In fact, yoga may be the most important work you do! How does your practice help you in your career?