I’m often asked why I became a yoga teacher. For me the answer is pretty simple – it changed my life. Yoga has taken me away from depression, anger and anxiety and moved me to a place of happiness, reduced fear, relative contentment and love. That’s the broad sweep of the matter, but of course it’s really not that simple and the journey was long and arduous at times, as change can be. If it was not for the short term of yoga that was instituted in my then workplace about 12 years ago, my life path could’ve been quite different.
Like so many of us, I was working in a high pressure environment, with demanding clients that I was able to do very little for. This became soul destroying eventually and my coping mechanism was to have a drink after work with colleagues, moan about the day and slink home in exhaustion, so I wasn’t convinced that the yoga term proposed for my workplace was going to have much an effect on me.
I started to notice that after I had participated in the yoga session before work, I was clearer in my decision making, more productive and the day seemed to have a brighter outlook overall as my mind, body and being seemed in sync. This feeling of synchronicity was something I began to crave, so I sought out other yoga classes close to my work and soon found myself off to classes three times a week. By taking the small step to participate in a workplace yoga class, I set myself onto a path of change where yoga now features pretty much every day and has become a lifestyle which I love to share with others.
Yoga balances all aspects of the body – mentally, physically and spiritually. Yoga postures stimulate the muscles, connective tissues and the internal organs, assisting in the removal of waste from these areas and building strength in the body. The focus on developing regular breathing patterns taps into the parasympathetic nervous system assisting in the reduction of stress related hormones. And lastly by attempting to focus the mind to stay present, the practitioner participates in a moving meditation. Beneficial, no matter what your faith. Overall we benefit from improved digestion, better circulation, more balanced hormones, increased mental resilience, reduced mood disorders, improved stability and endurance to name a few. Being in better balance we are able to keep our minds open to new possibilities and ways of thinking about ourselves and others. This can lead to increased job satisfaction or even just a better way to deal with those aspects of our workplace that we don’t like so much.
Now that I teach yoga in workplaces I am in the observer’s role and I can see incremental changes in people from week to week that perhaps they are unable to see within themselves. At times it is two steps forward and one back, but in general the journey is forward. As a teacher, it is pleasing for me to watch people grow stronger, to have a safe place to set aside fear to try new postures, breath techniques and meditations. New tools are developed by the students that can be transferred and applied to other life situations.
I believe that what we learn in our yoga practice helps us to blossom and accept ourselves and accept the never ending change that is life. Not all of us are disgruntled with our jobs like I was, but my path is my path and what foray into workplace yoga led whether you are or you aren’t, no harm occurs when we can stop to take a full breath and unwind a little. it’s fairly safe to say that we all need to slow down a little and workplace yoga can provide us with a moment of space to stop and truly breathe.