Let’s me guess: no matter how much you’d like to control it, you sometimes have ‘off days’ where it feel as though the world has conquered you. The frenetic pace of your ‘always on’ work-life gets to you, and the information overload, jam-packed schedules, mounting demands and corporate mandates to ‘do more with less’ leave you feeling stressed, exhausted, and burned out.
I’ve had those days too. In fact, they’re what led me to yoga and meditation 13 years ago. Yoga is a proven effective tool for coping with work-related negativity, anxiety and stress, and it has made a measurable impact in my life since then. If you’re in need of a work-life reboot, I strongly urge you to try it out, because it works.
1. Yoga teaches you to focus on the present.
Yoga is much more than ‘working out’, burning calories or being fit. Yes, a dedicated yoga practitioner may experience those benefits, but yoga also allows you to access your inner power and focus on being fully in the present, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This state is often called ‘mindfulness’.
There are a variety of different yoga practices and styles that support this aim through techniques that involve body movements (postures or “asanas”) breathing exercise (“pranayama”) and the mind (meditation). Vinyasa Flow Yoga, for example, is a powerful, energetic form of yoga where you fluidly move from one pose to the next while connecting your breathing to your movements. It requires a sustained level of concentration and focus that inevitably tunes everything else out.
2. Yoga improves your health, focus and memory.
Studies have shown that the benefits of yoga and mediation can result in a physical reduction of anxiety, stress, blood pressure and heart rate, as well as improved memory. According to a study conducted by UCLA researchers, yoga’s stress-fighting powers can be derived from its ability to reduce the activity of proteins known to cause inflammation. Additionally, a recent study found that 20 minutes of Hatha yoga can improve cognitive function and significantly enhance focus and memory immediately after practicing.
3. Yoga enhances your ability to perform in the workplace.
Many corporations now recognize the beneficial impact of yoga and meditation on employee morale and productivity. From trendy startups to law firms, Fortune 500 companies and even government agencies, employers are increasingly integrating free yoga classes into their benefits and wellness programs.
I, too, have had many experiences in yoga and meditation that positively impacted my work and personal life. As a Technology Recruiter, my job requires a high degree of responsiveness, quick study, and the ability to juggle multiple competing projects – all of which are well suited to my very energetic and active mind.
However, recruiting can also be very fast-paced, demanding, and stressful, and it involves a high volume of calls, emails, texts and changing priorities. Sometimes the combination of this work environment with my active mind can be a recipe for inner chaos and a distraction. Yoga and meditation have helped me quiet my mind and operate with calmer energy. When I’m practicing regularly, I feel a noticeable difference in my ability to immerse myself in the task at hand and thus produce a higher quality of work.
On the interpersonal side, the mindfulness and inner peace I have cultivated from yoga and meditation has also helped me enhance my active listening skills. The result is an overall better sense of connectedness to the people that I interact with daily in a very people-oriented profession.
4. Yoga is accessible to anyone, any time.
And one of the best parts? Yoga and meditation can be done at any time of day at home, work or on the go. You don’t need to be ‘in shape’ or spend a lot of money to try it out, either. Those who feel hesitant or too busy to attend a studio class can attend free, virtual yoga classes ranging from Beginner to Advanced online at DoYogaWithMe.com.
The bottom line: Yoga has helped me cultivate inner stillness and enabled me to mentally slow down, focus, and react thoughtfully when situations speed up. It has also greatly helped me navigate change and chaos in the workplace.
I highly suggest you give it a try!
Managing Partner, PROVEN Washington D.C.
Anna is currently focused on connecting employers in the D.C. metropolitan area with top tech talent. To contact Anna, call her directly at (703) 763-2691 or you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anna’s Bio in Bullets:
- Wields 14 years of experience in IT recruiting
- UX advocate and frequent speaker in the D.C. UX community
- Active member of Women in Technology on the Mentor-Protégé Steering Committee
- Double-majored in English and Communications at James Madison University
- Experienced Yogini practicing Iyengar, Vinyasa, and Yoga Nidra styles of yoga and meditation
Have a question for Anna? Leave a comment below!