I have a very clear memory of sweating and powering through 108 sun salutations at the start of 2015 thinking, “Wow, I thought this was going to be harder.”
Not that it was a walk in the park cause it wasn’t 🙂 What I expected was muscular pain, crying inside, regular and long breaks, and constantly asking myself, “Are we there yet?!” Instead, I felt myself get stronger and stronger with every single sun salutation. I have no doubt that this strength came from nowhere else but the shared energy and the shared intentions of all the people in the White Space community.
Intangible as it may seem, teacher Julie, one of my most favorite teachers in the world explained it perfectly one sweaty afternoon in an Ashtanga class. I forget what part of the primary series we were in but I remember the feeling of working to regain my breath when she started explaining (not verbatim): when you start really paying attention to your breath, somehow you also notice the breath of the people around you. You begin to breathe as one and when you do that, shared energy flows in and amongst you, keeping you strong and lifted.
Yoga may not be designed specifically to up your sales, navigate workflows, or handle conflict, but what it gives you are life skills to do all of these things mindfully. How ever you are on the mat, that’s the way you are in life. Whatever you learn on a mat, adds to your growth as a person and as a team.
Looking for specific ways how yoga can make your team effective, cohesive and simply awesome? Let’s name a few.
- Yoga is good for your body, mind, and spirit.
Not only does yoga undo any tightness chronic office work is sure to bring about in the body, yoga is good for the immune system, focus, sleep, memory, and general well-being. All the things that make up for happy and effective human beings. Not to mention, some poses will really teach you the value of hard work 😉
What’s good about the benefits of yoga is, the more benefits you feel acting out in your life, the more you become passionate about taking care of yourself and being intentional in how you live your day. To read more about yoga’s benefits, you can read this piece from Yoga Journal.
- Yoga brings you together in embodying a shared intention. In turn, intentionality will charge your work with energy.
As a group or organization, most of you will be there because you want to be there and you want to do what it takes. Your shared intention as a team is usually what companies call a mission-vision statement.
Though for sure, this is already something you live out daily, it still makes a difference when you all come together and put yourselves to task in embodying the intention through movement and meditating upon it in quiet and stillness. In a way, this is how all of you as a group can make friends with the Law of Attraction.
At the start of each yoga class I do, I ask students to set an intention for their time on the mat and I can attest to how the air suddenly seems charged with purpose once we turn our intentions on. This declaring of intentions is something you can definitely do for your own team yoga class.
- Yoga can foster trust and openness in a team.
A lot of my friends, usually guys, are reluctant to go to yoga because they’re embarrassed to be seen struggling in all their non-flexible glory. I always tell them, no one’s looking at you 😉
But it’s true. Especially when you start out, there will be much sweating, making of faces, groaning, and putting the body into what seems like compromising positions. Yoga looks great in pictures but honestly, when I practice I sweat like a crazy person, my hair in a mess, yoga glow nowhere to be seen.
To allow yourself to look and be like this around other people requires confidence in yourself, trust in the people around you, and the openness to be seen as “silly,” or “weak,” or even “ugly.” Yoga for a working team will bring the trust and openness you have for each other on a whole other level and what’s more, will test it out in a different setting. By all means, laugh at and with each other 🙂 Depending on the poses, yoga can also help you open the heart and release fear. Trust and openness.
If you want actual physical connection, partner yoga can also help your team connect in a way that almost feels like playing.
- Yoga can help you grow in kindness.
One of the key yamas in yoga is ahimsa or kindness. You are encouraged to develop kindness towards yourself and others. That’s really just it. A kinder workplace is a better workplace 🙂
Funnily enough, I was once hired because of the thought that yoga could make people kinder 🙂
- Yoga is a great way to recharge and prevent a feeling of burnout.
So you’ve got your intentions and you know what you’re working towards – wonderful. This doesn’t mean that there’s no danger of your team getting burnt out and absolutely consumed by the work.
Needless to say, yoga is a great way to recharge tired bodies, minds, and souls and come back to your inner temple. Everyone needs this and if you’ve been working hard, you more than deserve to give yourself an hour of restful movement. Specific yoga poses also help you in letting go of negative emotions. If this is a theme you want to work on, tell your teacher.
I’ve experienced holding team yoga sessions for a big group of junior nuns and I can attest to all this, although they were already incredibly kind 🙂
If you want, you and your team can try it out once and see how you like it 🙂
If you need a teacher, please feel free to get in touch. Thank you very much for your time.