The following are based on what I have heard people say to me as a yoga teacher regarding holding yoga classes in their workplace.
1. I’m way too busy to leave my desk
Really? Are you that important that your company will collapse entirely if you leave your desk for an hour? I understand some of us have demanding jobs and it feels really difficult to leave our computers for any length of time. However, why sit there cramming sushi or a sandwich into your mouth, staring goggle-eyed at the screen, whilst dropping food onto your keyboard? I bet your company won’t thank or appreciate you any more for it. We’re all entitled to a lunch break – so take one!
2. I’m not flexible
Me neither. Okay I am more flexible now that I was say ten years ago but I’m not a naturally flexible person. As a child I did calisthenics for five years and I was always the only one who couldn’t fold forward low enough to get my head onto my knee, my chest and ear to the floor and as for the splits – forget about it.
My point is that you don’t NEED flexibility to practice yoga. Sure one of the benefits of a regular practice is increased flexibility but if you can move your arms and legs you’ll be fine!
3. I run or go to the gym for exercise
Fabulous; I’m all for exercise and improving your cardio strength. This doesn’t mean you can’t practice yoga as well. Yoga strengthens your core, improves joint mobility and stretches and lengthens you all over which is likely to help your body lift weights at the gym and run any length of distance.
4. I don’t want my colleagues to see my butt up close
Fair enough. We see our colleagues dressed smartly and professionally at work and don’t really need to see them in lycra or shorts. Be kind to your co-workers by wearing something loose, comfortable and modest to class and set your mat down at the back of the room. I find that people are generally more focused on themselves and moving their own bodies in and out of poses anyway.
5. Our workplace doesn’t have the space
Unless your office is like an animal factory farm, you probably have a bit of free space somewhere in your building or on your floor – plus you really only need enough space to move your body 360 degrees. This may mean getting a little creative with finding and using the space or moving some furniture out the way but this is usually all possible.
Here are just some of the spaces that I’ve taught corporate yoga classes in:
- Meeting rooms where we’ve moved the table and chairs to the back or side
- Board rooms where the table cannot be moved so we just moved the chairs and practiced around the table
- Under trees outside in a park whilst dodging bird droppings and swatting flies
- A warehouse full of clothing racks, fabric swatches and mannequins
6. Our company’s not insured to hold yoga classes
This one seems like a legal minefield but actually it’s really simple. Guess what? Yoga teachers have their own insurance. Generally speaking, they are usually insured wherever they teach – whether it’s on the beach, in your meeting room or in a gym.
Give yourself permission to take a lunch break
Honour yourself by taking a lunch break and while you’re at it – give yourself the gift of yoga. Your boss will appreciate your increased productivity and more importantly you’ll replace stress and tiredness with being calm, relaxed and focused.
About the author: Jemma Newcombe left her corporate job to pursue a career that she loved and where she could find fulfilment. Jemma started up three clouds yoga and teaches yoga and meditation to the corporate sector in Melbourne Australia.
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