When I first started practicing yoga a year ago, I had no idea how much it was going to change my life. At first, I did it as a workout – a change from my usual Pilates routine – but I soon grew to love yoga for its deeper benefits to my physical and mental health. Before long, I started to notice that it was beginning to have an impact on the way I lived my life as a whole.
Yoga has been my guide and companion through some of the most stressful situations I have ever faced, and not only that, it has helped inspire me to reach beyond my dead-end job and pursue my dream career. The advantages of practicing yoga extend way beyond your mat into every aspect of your life, including the world of work. Here are five ways that practicing yoga can help you enhance your career:
1. Yoga Teaches You To Be OK With Your Limitations
This has been one of the most difficult lessons I have learned – and am still learning – through my yoga practice. Because yoga is about gradual, gentle progression; on the mat, you don’t have to compete with anybody, even yourself. Everybody has different limitations: for example, I soon discovered that my hips are really tight. At first, I found it frustrating. Other people were doing Double Pigeon as though it was the easiest thing in the world, and I couldn’t even get into the position!
Over time I started to understand that I’m just built that way. The only way to really improve my hips was to accept my limitations and modify the poses I found difficult. Yoga reminds us all that we can’t be the best at everything, and that we need to be gentle with ourselves in order to improve.
2. Yoga Shows You That You Can Do The Impossible... As Long As You Are Patient
We’ve all had that moment on the mat when we finally achieve something we never thought we’d be able to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s something big and showy, like hitting the perfect handstand, or something that seems small, like managing to put your palms on the floor in a forward fold. The important thing is that feeling of achievement when you realise that you did it!
Yoga teaches you that with small steps and perseverance, you can achieve your goals, no matter how big or small.
3. Yoga Helps You Keep Calm In Stressful Situations
It’s pretty easy to see how this skill can come in handy in the workplace. Whether it’s attending an interview, sitting in an exam, or just dealing with your cranky boss, a few deep, ujjayi breaths can work wonders for your stress levels -- calming your anxiety and leaving you better able to deal with whatever comes your way.
4. Yoga Reminds You To Relax And Focus On The Things That Are Important
It’s so easy to get caught up in the massive to-do list that blights most of our everyday lives, and forget to look after ourselves. When I was working a demanding job and tackling a long daily commute, I looked forward to my half-hour of yoga when I got home as my time to unwind and throw off the stresses of the day.
Not only did it help me get back to my usual self when I was feeling tense and upset, it also helped me put everything in focus and reminded me that my job was not my world. This gave me the confidence to leave when I needed to move on.
5. Yoga Teaches You To Have Confidence In Your Own Abilities
Every time you approach your mat, it is a fresh start and an opportunity to get rid of the negative thoughts that have been bogging you down. Focusing in on my movements and breath during yoga practice helps to ground me and remind me of my own inner strength.
Whatever might have happened that day to dent my confidence, I can build it back up again through my practice. Yoga helps to remind me of my own, unique strengths, and that has encouraged me to focus on them when it comes to my career.
Yoga can help you enhance your career because it helps you understand who you are. Rather than focusing only on what other people want from you, yoga helps you discover how you can thrive best as an individual.
Whether you want to achieve a total career change, land a crucial interview, or just improve your performance at a job you already have, practicing yoga shows you your strengths, helps you accept your limitations, and gives you the confidence and determination to pursue your dreams, step by step. Good luck!
By Claire Saag - Claire Saag is a freelance writer and dedicated ‘at home’ yogi based in Cambridge, UK. After graduating with a first in English Literature from Lancaster University, she worked for over seven years as a bookseller before leaving to focus on her writing career. She first discovered yoga in 2013 and now practices daily in her spare room.
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