Exploring yoga for change

Exploring yoga for change

‘Be the change you want to see in the world,’

This is a saying I hold close. And deep. In my heart.

Gandhi led a revolution, using peaceful means to free his country. My aspirations are a quite revolution, but he is a huge influence for me.

You don’t need to be leading a revolution to find this phrase useful. You can use it to change your own circumstances for the better.

If you want the world to be different, you need to embody that and be part of that change in the world around you.
So if you want to feel loved, behave in a loving way. If you want to be loved unconditionally, you’re going to have to be prepared to give that out to others. Which I know some people find very difficult, because I hear it all the time…

Why aren’t my children more grateful?
Why does my husband have to leave the lid off the toothpaste/toilet seat up/toast crumbs in the bed?
Why can’t my mother admit when she’s wrong?

People are flawed. They just are. Get over it. And if their experience of being with you is that you scold them, hold back from them, flash micro-expressions of irritation at them when they displease you; don’t imagine they won’t pick up on that.

We see more than we realise.

Communication isn’t just about words. It’s about flashes of movement. Shifts of tone. Sudden silences. 

Author and inspirational speaker. Danielle La Porte, very astutely reminds us that when we behave in the way we want to feel, we become that. Change is an inside out job, not an outside in.

If you want to feel amazing, consider what that would feel like. What would that look like? How would you eat, exercise, think? What would your home look like? What would you be reading? What would your best friend be like?

Have you noticed how some people are very good at telling you what they don’t want? They spend all that energy thinking about that they want to reject, but put no energy into thinking about what they want to create.

Interesting. There’s an irony in that without a plan you don’t move; there’s no risk. Except you stagnate, of course, and which is worst?

Accessible Yoga for All

Here’s something I want to see: accessible yoga for all.

I know what it’s like to be unemployed; it can be limiting in many ways. You have time, but little money. I remember being unemployed and that unsettled feeling of instability I carried. Which is ironic when I think about the jobs in which I earned a lot of money; I had no time and my self care was woeful anyway.

That’s why I created a yoga programme for employees to enjoy in their lunch break. It started when I worked in a university and I taught it there for two years. It’s an on-site delivered, easy to fit in option that gives an oasis of stress recovery for people who spend too much time sitting.

But what if you’re not working?

Now I strongly suspect a lot of yoga teachers will overlook a student’s inability to pay for classes during periods of unemployment, because we know if there’s one thing that’s going to help them it’s regularly getting away from their worries and spending time in a calm environment.

But being unwaged happens when we retire, when we’re students, when we’re running the house, bring up children… if you want to start an activity and lack on money is an issue, how can you access what you, of all people, could benefit most from? And how disempowering is it, to be ‘given’ when you can give and make a choice about how much

So here’s my little Be the Change solution. I’m not sure if it’ll work for me and it’s not original, but this was what I came up with – and I strongly suspect the Universe lent a hand…

Yoga by donation

I teach one class a week where if you’re unwaged, the price of a place is by donation. There’s a minimum donation of £1 (so I can cover the room costs) and if you’re waged a mat is £6 (still pretty good value for where I live). If you want to read more about my classes, the details are here and there’s a Yoga with Deana Facebook group too.

Where I’m teaching classes is subsidised through the philanthropic legacy of the man whose building it once was. That means, if every space goes I’ll cover the cost of the room hire anyway. I’m looking at grant applications to extend this too.

But as far as I can see, when I give of my time the energy I put into that doesn’t have to come back to me as money.

I’m helping people in my location, in a small way. I’m helping feel better and hopefully live better. I’m pushing positive energy into the world in a different way which means positive energy should return.

Maybe not so altruistic of me; but I’m enjoying the journey there. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

5 reasons why yoga brings more profit to your business

5 reasons why yoga brings more profit to your business

What does lunchtime look like where you are?

A refreshing walk in the park with your work best-friends? 

Maybe you’re juggling the job and family so for you it’s (yet another) quick dash around the supermarket, grabbing everything you need to keep the home life together? 

Or is it this… Another uninspiring sandwich, eaten el desko as you plough on with your spreadsheets and emails between bites?

If you work in a small team or you’re a solo operator, pounding the keyboard at home, it’s very easy to prioritise everything but what’s screaming out for your attention.

Can’t hear it? No? Let me ask you this…

Got any niggling aches and pains? Do you find you’re flagging as the day progresses? Reaching for snacks and caffeine to push you through the work?

That’s the screaming. Your body’s screaming ‘Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!’ And probably swearing it’s backside off too.

So, no – another headache pill and another shot of coffee is not the answer. Not when your mind, body and soul needs nourishing.

Yoga: the stress buster supremo
Yoga cuts through stress like a knife through butter and stress costs your business – a lot. Have you considered how many days productivity you’ve lost to stress? And if you’re a solo operator like me then you know how valuable your health is – losing time is one thing, being ill is not going to help our profit margins.

One of the world’s biggest health insurance companies, Aetna Inc, worked with a university to measure employee stress and evaluate a corporate yoga programme they introduced at the company. Employees taking part showed a 33% reduction in stress levels in just 12 weeks. If stress is costing your business; yoga is a great investment, not a luxury.

Yoga: mindset booster
Yogic philosophy has an assortment of highly effective weapons for battling though any day. Like mind martial arts. The art of ‘non attachment’ changes your life like no other when it comes to getting along with coworkers. Once we can separate our emotions from our actions life gets a lot easier.

Yoga: instant energy
Want to change how you feel. With yoga. Right now. In just 2.5 minutes? Try this.

Set your phone timer to let you know when 2 minutes are up.

Stand with your feet apart. Hands on your hips. Chest lifted. A slight smile on your lips.

Close your eyes.

Feel the energy flowing up from the ground. Sense your spine lengthening as the energy surges up.

Imagine your cape, your wonder woman or superman cape, fluttering in the breeze behind you.

Breathe in deep.Breathe out deeper.

When the timer rings, throw your arms up into the air – like you’re celebrating Olympic gold. Hold your arms up there for 10 breaths.

Feel free to shout ‘YES’ if you want to.

How do you feel now? Better? That power posing exercise – viramudra to jayamudra, if you want the yoga terms for that– is a very quick way to shift your psychology through your physiology. Imagine what a weekly class could gift you.

Yoga: the office painkiller
We all know sitting is ‘the new smoking’ and our desk bound lives are doing us no good. At all. But  as well as giving you great tips for yoga at your desk, the strength and muscle work developed through a physical yoga practice, together with improved posture, makes our lives more comfortable.

Yoga: the focus sharpener
Mindfulness is an amazing tool for helping us get through all those annoying jobs we purposely ignore in favour of the ones we prefer. Turn the dull jobs into a mindfulness exercise and the joy can start to reveal itself.And, being completely present, you make fewer mistakes. Saving more time. Hurrah.

I could go on, but here’s the bottom line. Yoga saves you money, makes you happy, stronger and more effective, your team more effective and so your profit margins more effective.

All you need is space for a yoga mats, a dance studio space is not required. 

I teach corporate yoga in the Eastbourne area of the UK, but every town has one, if not more. What have you got to lose? Except maybe your back ache.