Why Your Yoga Practice Should Make You Happier At Work
A recent study published by Occupational Medicine shows that yoga programs in the workplace have a positive effect on mental health, especially in reducing stress.
Yoga encourages cognitive flexibility, patience, self-acceptance and expanded awareness—all benefits that go well beyond the changes it yields in the physical body.
If you have been struggling to reach your career goals and remain content, your yoga practice may be the solution to increase your happiness at work.
While career tips often focus solely on external achievement and are rigid or formulaic, to be happier in your work life, you need to interpret and apply a career plan that is variable and nuanced. Having a clearer, grounded and more flexible mindset that yoga brings is a career advantage.
Here are five yoga-inspired career tips to help you bring what you are learning on the mat into the office.
1. Remember to thank yourself
Unlike most business goals, yoga is not about achievement or competition. If you make it to the studio or get started at home, you can, and should, thank yourself simply for showing up.
The hardest and most important step is already behind you. You rolled out your mat with an intention to do something good for yourself, and in doing so, you are taking part in the creation of a better world. This is the same sentiment that will propel you much further in your career if you can harness this intention in the workplace.
Each morning when you sit down to your desk, thank yourself for showing up and playing a part in a world where peace, purpose and joy can become the norm in your work life. Simply showing up with this intention gets us all one step closer to reimagining the possibilities of how work can and should positively shape humanity.
2. Recognise the presence of ego and ignorance
If warrior pose makes you feel glorious and powerful, take that same energy into your office and have the strength to see and address dysfunctional dynamics. I’m not suggesting that you go on a mission to point out the ego or ignorance of your boss or co-workers. The benefits of yoga have to start within you first.
The yogi should have greater self-awareness of their own blind spots in the workplace and a willingness to recognize the role unconscious biases may be playing in building a diverse and inclusive culture.
The employee or leader that brings the warrior pose into work is stronger and more confident, and therefore open to the vulnerability required to create a work environment that is kind, agile, productive and innovative.
3. Stay rooted in your beliefs
Your mind, body and spirit connection is crucial to achieving your most meaningful work. Tree pose encourages you to stay rooted in who you are beyond your titles, traits and personality.
By integrating your work and spiritual life, you will see a host of benefits: you will know your worth and your power, stop accepting a work existence that drains you, help others achieve their potential and learn to be patient with your flaws and the flaws of others. You will be a loyal co-worker and a more supportive leader, weather and welcome change, and live your days with peace and joy.
Tree pose is simple, but miraculous, and so are the benefits of staying in it at work. Make sure you are living a soulful existence and bringing that identity into the office each day.
4. Reach for higher goals
In cobra pose, you are firmly supported on the ground, but also extending yourself to reach for more. This is a tricky balance to achieve in your work life—stretching out of your comfort zone while staying stable.
The beauty of Cobra is that you start the pose with your belly safely pressed against the ground; it’s impossible to fall or tip over in this position. Peace is not meant to stop you from taking risks or reaching for new goals; it is meant to stabilize you so you can be bolder without the fear of failing.
This stability should remove, or lessen, the underlying insecurities that cause you to play small in your career or ignore your dreams. Cobra pose encourages you to point your ambitions upward and know you are supported.
5. Welcome a state of non-doing
Child’s pose reminds you that rest and non-doing are also an essential part of your life. Imagine a yoga class with no breaks in the flow and no poses that encourage rest—sounds terrible, right? Yet many of us create a work life that fails to acknowledge the restorative power of rest and states of non-doing.
The most successful and productive people I’ve worked with knew how to refresh themselves, renew their creativity and incubate new ideas. They also failed to succumb to career interrupting and sometimes derailing, bouts of burnout.
Sure, the person that works around the clock might have more outputs in the short term, but burnout will eventually rob you of your productivity, creativity or both. Let child’s pose inspire you to create a rhythm in your life that welcomes rest.
Yoga is meant to impact your life well beyond your time in the studio and can help you achieve extraordinary outcomes in your career. Dare to practice it in all areas of your work life.