It was 2010 and I was a few months into my new corporate job. I was starting to get the hang of my role and was really enjoying the in-house café where I could purchase a breakfast taco, a sugary hot chocolate, or a hot pizza lunch (sometimes I’d consume all 3 at the same time… shocking, I know!). I was beginning to feel energetically and physically sluggish and the “Freshman 15” was beginning to settle into my body.
One day after work, as I was heading home, I noticed a few folks rushing off to the back of the building with rolled up yoga mats. After a few weeks of wondering what in the world they were up to, I worked up the nerve to ask someone I knew from Human Resources.
A yoga class?! Offered twice a week?! Right after work?! No way?! YES PLEASE!
I signed up immediately and I am so glad I did! Corporate yoga changed my body, mind and life in so many healthy and positive ways; so much so that I made it my mission to help others get healthy through yoga too!
Here are 5 things I learned from taking a corporate yoga class:
My Excuses Didn’t Work Anymore
Excuse: I don’t have time.
Reality: I did have the time! The class was RIGHT after my work day.
Excuse: It’s too far to drive to the gym/studio.
Reality: No driving needed! I felt like I was embracing laziness somehow although I was very active during the yoga hour.
Excuse: I don’t want to sit in traffic.
Reality: I was AVOIDING traffic by taking the yoga class!
Excuse: I can’t get there until 15 minutes after class starts OR I need to leave 15 minutes before class ends. I don’t want to interrupt the class or disrespect the teacher.
Reality: My teacher actually encouraged us to come late or leave early just by letting her know. I felt welcomed at any time. No disrespect, man!
Excuse: I can’t afford it.
Reality: My work paid for more than half of the cost! It came down to each of us paying around $20/month…$20 per MONTH! That comes down to $3/class when the typical drop in fee is now $17-$20. Huge savings!
Excuse: I forgot my clothes/mat/etc.
Reality: I’m laughing as I type this right now: I can’t tell you how many times I went to class in my work clothes!! My coworkers did too - we supported one another. I remember one time I forgot a yoga shirt and my coworker lent me a big baggy t-shirt to wear! Sometimes, if one of us left our mat, the teacher would loan us her PERSONAL mat to use. Sometimes we just grabbed a towel from the kitchen or used the carpeted floor!
Yoga Is for Every BODY
I was a bit nervous to take a yoga class. I was a bit over-weight and the last time I had taken a yoga class I walked out after 15 minutes because downward facing dog felt incredibly awkward. I felt that there was some sort of yoga requirement to touch one’s toes in a forward-fold and I was EXTREMELY embarrassed because I couldn’t do that. When I mustered up all my courage to attend class, I realized that every student was different. My colleagues were short, tall, men, women, young, more mature, flexible or strong. Some of us came to class every time it was offered while others went occasionally. We were all different yet we all wanted the same thing: to get healthier!
Yoga Teacher Confession: OK, who am I kidding? I TEACH yoga now and STILL can’t touch my toes in a forward fold! It’s all on the path to self-discovery and I’m so happy I’m on it!
Yoga Helped Me Focus on Work
At first, I was worried that if I didn’t put work first by staying late to catch up on things, I’d lose momentum and my performance would suffer. After a few weeks of making yoga a priority and making sure I stopped working to attend class, I realized that I was more focused the following morning. My work flow became more efficient, I was more energized and I got more work done!
I Witnessed Growth in My Group
One of my favorite things about corporate yoga was the camaraderie I built with my colleagues. We were from different departments and had different roles and tasks, but we shared the same interest of self-care and health through yoga practice. Over time, I started to visually see that yoga practice could physically and mentally change people. My colleagues would enter class with concerned brows and shoulders hiked up to ears and would leave class with a smile and relaxed posture. We started holding tough postures for longer and a few of us even lost some weight! I saw bodies turn more deeply in twists. Flexibility and strength increased in poses like downward facing dog and the warriors. I even realized, if a yogi led a meeting or sent an email, the tone was more relaxed and inviting. We bonded so much that we would check in on one another to make sure we were going to class. I really miss this group!
I Wanted More
The most important thing about corporate yoga that I discovered is I wanted more. I wanted to take more yoga so I started looking at studios around the area. I wanted to eat and drink healthier so I could have more energy for yoga. I wanted to find more time during the day to take a walk. I wanted to learn more about the different types of yoga styles and meditation. I wanted more free-time and less stress. By making one simple decision to take a yoga class (or 2!) at work, I significantly impacted the rest of my life in a healthful way. The most interesting part is that I was actually MOTIVATED to make all these changes I had only talked about previously!
I’m so grateful for my corporate yoga experience and I’m excited to offer this same opportunity to the world. Of course, I learned so much more from my yoga practice then those points listed above, but the last thing about wanting more is what propelled me into becoming a yoga teacher. I’m so passionate about living healthy as I’ve seen the results it’s made in my life: from my career to my relationships to my health.
Have you taken a yoga class? What did you learn from your yoga experience? I’d love to hear from you!
Be the Light,