Most people fall in love with yoga while working another job. For me, while I knew I liked yoga before fully diving into the workforce, I had started my career in advertising before I realized that I wanted to become a teacher. Some yogis choose to stay in their corporate roles, while others continue working until they are ready to commit themselves to teaching or to running another yoga business.
I fall somewhere in the midle: I still work in marketing half of the week, and I teach when I’m not in the office.
The advertising job that I left behind, while challenging and often interesting, was also fast-paced, demanding, time consuming, and very often stressful.
These are 8 ways I managed to enjoy my time there, while embracing my inner yogi:
Bring yoga to your office. When I was completing my 200hr yoga teacher training, I started teaching free classes after work in a cafeteria that our company shared with another company. It ended up bringing both of our teams together and forming friendships in a way I couldn’t have predicted. Once I finished my teacher training, I started collecting a $5 donation per class for Africa Yoga Project (AYP), and regularly shared AYP news with my office to show them what we were contributing to, together.
Share your meditation practice. One Friday evening, I was working overtime with a co-worker. Not only were we working under a deadline, but we were bagged from a long week. I knew that I needed to meditate, but was surprised when my co-worker agreed to meditate with me. It gave me a chance to practice leading a guided meditation and successfully mellowed us out for the late night.
Carry physical reminders to be centered. Keep a spare mat at the office, bring your mala beads to work, or grow a small plant on your desk. I used to bring my mala beads to work on the days I knew I would need a reminder to stay grounded. No one needs to know what it means, but my co-workers loved learning about the meaning of the stones I carried.
Commit to a daily stretch. Once I started joining in on the daily stretch (led by our neighbouring office’s resident yogi!), I stopped reaching for that afternoon coffee. Every day at 2pm a group of us would take 15 minutes to do some skirt-friendly Sun As, as well as some balancing poses. Get your blood flowing and re-oxygenate your brain.
Do handstands in the bathroom. Well, I did handstands in the bathroom; inversions always manage to get me out of my head and into the present. Maybe for you that’s meditation, or downward dog, or your favourite mudra. And instead of a bathroom, maybe you have a mental health room or a lounge area. Find a minute of alone time to reconnect with your body.
Have an emergency song. Mine’s Baba Hanuman by Krishna Das. I would listen to it on repeat when shit hit the fan.
Share your knowledge of asana. One of my friends at work had a really tight lower back. Sometimes when it got stiff, I would roll out a mat and show her gentle twists and folds she could be incorporating into her day. Obviously, use your discretion and don’t treat anyone for an injury that they haven’t consulted a doctor about.
Carve time for your practice. Assuming you have a practice outside of work, let your coworkers know well ahead of time that you expect to make it to yoga on certain nights. Our team worked late almost every night but when they knew that I needed to leave on time on specific days for my yoga teacher training, everyone was supportive enough to make that work for me.
Be willing to own your identity as a yogi, speak up for your needs, and share what you love. Don’t be shy when it comes to something you’re passionate about –being the office yogi is kind of fun.