11.07.12 Career & Finances

How Conquering The Yoga Mat Can Help You Conquer The Board Room

How Conquering The Yoga Mat Can Help You Conquer The Board Room

BY Cheena Pazzo

Yoga takes you into the present moment, the place where life exists.

Being very focused on your career takes a toll on your body and mind. Experiencing life with such intensity is just plain exhausting, and finding a way to decompress is necessary for happiness. Since most of us can’t trade in our high-powered careers to live a more peaceful, yogi lifestyle, there are many ways you can relate the principles of Yoga to your career.

Here a few practical applications:

Don’t forget to try. One becomes established in practice only after tending to it for awhile, without interruption and with devotion. It’s the idea of practicing presence, having a sense of purpose and self complexity, that brings perspective to your life and work. Meditation requires focus and learning how to push past what you believed to be your physical and mental capacity. A yoga high is such a liberating and satisfying experience, but it doesn’t come without A LOT of trying.

Persevere and just breathe through it. The pose begins when you want to leave it, even though you’ve held it for an eternity and every muscle is quivering in agony. Who doesn’t have those same experiences at work? Just when you think you’ve reached your limit; center and breathe through it. Release anything that does not serve you.

Honor yourself. Understand the line between striving for excellence and pushing beyond your limits. This was a tough lesson learned for me. My tendency is to do everything to the maximum. I’ve broken several bones in my body riding horses and running, and I used to be the person who worked until 2 a.m. every night. I did this for the thrill of winning, but at the ultimate expense of balanced happiness. There is something so poignant about simple appreciation for showing up to class or work, and finding peace on the days you simply can’t perform to your fullest.

Honor others. Connecting with people in a class environment teaches you how to both tolerate and appreciate others.  There is always an inconceivably loud breather or spastic poser, equivalent to the disruptive, ill-informed, counterproductive person we have the pleasure of encountering in most meetings.  Learning how to concentrate and remain focused despite these people, translates to the business world. And, yogis have taught me the best way to honor those little rays of sunshine in your life. They freely express love and appreciation for others, in the most radical way. It involves a lot of hugging, smiling and exceedingly affectionate conversation.  It helps me more readily connect, find humor in and appreciate my business colleagues, albeit in a less extreme way.

Reset your day. I’m a strong advocate of allowing for exercise in the workplace, because it ultimately helps clear the mind and make room for improved productivity. My colleagues and I head out daily for power yoga or a run.  I might start my morning hating everyone and everything, but after lunch I’m all smiles. Yoga is the antidote to my restless soul and impatient nature. I wouldn’t say it’s made me zen, but I do feel more connected to people, psychologically aware and more appreciative of the intricacies of life.

Ok, you have my permission to hate me for this next part, but it’s true.

Over the last few years of practicing, I’ve unintentionally begun to realize that elusive mind-body connection. I think it’s always present- regardless of whether we’re aware of it- and it manifests in different ways. I’m a decent athlete, but I’ve been able to achieve poses I never thought possible. It’s an amazing feeling to conquer what you previously thought to be physically impossible. Everyone should set their own intentions; no certain way is better than another. What matters is who you are when you get there.

Channeling that mind-body connection into the workplace translates into a little extra confidence, attentiveness and overall bad ass-ness. It’s probably not the way Deepak Chopra would put it. And, it’s not that I don’t fully appreciate the idea that we’re all sparkling matter imbued in consciousness; I just believe the bad-assery approach is how most career women want to look at things.

So the new, more enlightened me, is here to tell you Yoga isn’t just a fad. It’s been around for thousands of years for good reason.

Next time you feel stressed, find that space in between two moments to be more aware, strong, peaceful, conscious, happy and to just be. Most importantly, love yourself and others.

Namaste ya’ll!

Even after being advised by a required HR personality test that she was too intense and creative for the corporate life, Cheena has enjoyed almost every minute of her 17-year career in marketing and public relations. A self described logo cop, font snob and lover of music and semi colons, Cheena is an avid Yogi and subpar runner. She collects dogs, adores her family (wife and mommy of two) and might have a shopping problem. Follow her on Twitter @cpazzo.


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