Yoga and Your Mind at Work

Written By Picture of Lauren Davish Lauren Davish

As a yoga teacher for the last two years, I’ve learned an invaluable amount about how yoga philosophy can be applied not just inside of a studio, but in other areas of life as well. While many may think that yoga is just a way to gain some flexibility, there’s a whole lifestyle that comes with it when you develop a regular practice — and those values can be applied even in the workplace.

Before you roll your eyes and immediately assume you wouldn’t adopt any habits that stem from people who chant and unblock chakras, keep reading. You might be surprised as to how much these practices can make your work life easier, and even more enjoyable.

Stay Present

I’m sure you’ve been hearing a lot about staying in the present, with meditation seeming to be a buzz word lately. But what exactly does this mean? Essentially, it’s a way of getting out of your own head. It’s estimated that we think anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day — that’s a lot of mind racing, anxiety, decision making, and many times, an emotional roller coaster. And this can be especially prominent at work

But really, anxiety and racing thoughts don’t solve anything, even though you might think so when you have a deadline to meet. In yoga, we focus on the breath to stay in the moment and work through tough poses. This can help in the office, too. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, stop for a minute or two, and just focus on taking deep breaths in and out. You can even count as you do so — any variation of numbers will work, but first try breathing in for 4, holding for 7, and breathing out for 8.

This also helps while driving, especially in heavy traffic. By using the breath to stay present, you’ll make better choices and ultimately change your entire day.

Stay Connected

One of the biggest parts of yoga philosophy includes connection. In the workplace, this means having conversations. It means reaching out if you need help. It means if someone pisses you off, talking to them about it instead of being petty and talking to your friends about it.

Connection also comes into play with the whole mind-racing, anxiety-inducing thought parades we tend to have. When you feel overwhelmed, or worried about a project, talk to a coworker about it. See if they have any insight. The power of conversation can be life changing, or at the very least, can allow you to refocus and get things done.

This ties back to staying present, as well. Connection gets you outside of your head, and again allows you to sort through your thoughts and be in the moment.

Stay Reliable

The word “integrity” changed my life. Although it’s part of yoga philosophy, it didn’t hit me until it was the topic of a seminar I attended a few months ago, and I haven’t looked at my actions the same since. Integrity means keeping your word. It’s doing what you say you are going to do, when you said you were going to do it. It’s being reliable and being on time. Really, living a life of integrity makes things a whole lot easier as a boss or employee.

For example, it’s much easier to just submit work on time, rather than procrastinating, and essentially having to make an excuse as to why it hasn’t been done yet. It’s easier to arrive at work on time, rather than deal with the anxiety of rushing. It’s easier on everyone in your life, and most of all, yourself. Living with integrity means being dependable and trustworthy. And really, it’s not that hard.

Applying these principles from yoga philosophy – staying present, staying connected, and staying reliable – to your everyday life at work can make a world of difference for you and your coworkers. And while you’re at it, try applying them at home, too. When you change your mind-set, others will catch on. Before you know it, your whole world will be different — all from a simple change of perspective.

If you’re interested in learning specifically what will improve your ad agency work life, check out our YouTube video, Advice for Working at an Ad Agency (Part 1).