Today’s business world is fast, merciless and in most cases driven by making money. For those of us following a yogic path, it can sometimes feel almost impossible to fulfill the expectations of our workplace, while maintaining our commitment to ourselves and our yoga. Often, we make choices to work in more giving environments like the charity or public sectors to help bring a greater sense of purpose to how we spend our days, but even in those organisations we can experience challenges to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
The Radiant Hand teachings encourage us to practise yoga, while living in a truly modern urban environment with all its distractions and temptations. Yoga gives us many tools that support us day to day no matter what our vocation in life. Taking the concepts of yoga into your work such as appreciation, unity, connection, creativity, inspiration and love can help shift our perspective on what we are creating with our time.
How about starting your day with a focus on yourself? How many of us wake up to an alarm set on our mobile phone and as a result the first thing we see is the enormous number of emails already waiting for us in our inbox? Isn’t it oh so tempting to take a quick look even before we have got out of bed? Switching to a standard alarm clock and giving yourself first priority in the morning will help set your path for the day ahead.
Those of you who have attended yoga courses understand the benefits of a regular morning asana practice. In an ideal world, we would practise every morning but what about those days when you are running late or have an early start? Can you still find time in your day to practise some pranayama? Even ten minutes spent focussing on your breath can help centre you and give you greater clarity of mind. The morning is also an ideal time to focus on your intention for the day, how do you want to be today and what do you want to do for yourself? Affirming this in the morning can help guide your responses to any challenges you may face.
Consider your journey to work, or if you are lucky enough to work from home, consider how you transition into working mode? Can you use this time to write in a journal, perhaps catch up on some reading or maybe do something creative like colouring or knitting?
Once at work, when the pressure begins to build with emails, meetings and telephone calls, it can feel insurmountable to get everything done and remain calm and peaceful. Can you come offline to figure out what it is you need to prioritse and what can wait? The culture of business environments often encourages us to be available all the time via email and instant messenger, which means it can be easy to just keep responding to what comes in rather than setting your own course. Taking just 5 minutes offline to prioritise can help us to stay connected to our own intention for the day. Could taking time to have a tea break with an old colleague or using paper and pen instead of a computer for a few minutes be the most helpful thing you can do in your day today?
The most obvious but sometimes most challenging thing to do can be taking regular breaks, including a good lunch break. Bringing your own food to work is great way to ensure you are getting nourishing food during your day, but it can be easy to convince yourself you will be more efficient by eating at your desk. Ten minutes of genuinely giving back to yourself through mindful eating can help re-set you for the afternoon. You may also be able to book out a meeting room or borrow an office for a short while to practise some meditation or pranayama at lunch. Or even come along to our new Yoga in the City class on a Monday lunchtime. Finding even a short window of space and time for yourself at lunchtime can support you throughout the rest of the day.
Perhaps there are aspects of your job that you find dull or people who really frustrate you? When considering aspects of your work you don’t enjoy, can you find something that these aspects are teaching you? Are you learning something here? In doing this, can we then move towards appreciating our time at work, as simply another route to our own growth and learning… another set of challenges we can work to overcome.
It is ultimately important to remember that we have on some level actively chosen our work and embracing all the joys and challenges it brings us is also an active choice. What can you change today that will bring you, and perhaps even those around you, more joy, more inspiration and more appreciation of how lucky you are to work where you do?
Helen Smith, Trainee Yoga Teacher, TRH Office and Marketing Manager