3 Business Productivity Lessons From The Yoga Mat
by Linda Feinholz
I'll let you in on a secret... I've recently been enjoying yoga! Enormously!
For years I've been surrounded by friends and colleagues swearing by it, and encouraging me to do it and I kept saying "Thanks! Yoga's not for me!"
All my exposures to yoga left me wondering why folks were raving about it. In classes I took, people were either zipping up and down, twisting and turning and lunging and really busy or they were sitting and sitting and sitting... and not at all what I wanted to join in on either way!
This time last year a close friend said "Come try it out. A small class at my house. This teacher is different!" so I grudgingly did. Just to please her, of course.
And what a revelation! I went, I bent, I loved it!
The class that Tim Waters taught was completely different than anything I had tried before. Just enough calm sitting to get attuned to my body, mixed with just enough moving to keep me happy. And all of it at a pace that let me practice paying attention and becoming more expert at using the various poses. So I've become a devotee as well. And that's where 3 productivity boosting lessons we can all use come from:
1. Create enough quiet to be able to pay attention If our minds are busy and 'distracted' while doing yoga, it's impossible to hold any of the poses. Legs wobble, arms flail and if we're among friends we may even mutter out loud in frustration as we collapse. Contrary to the appearance of still bodies calmly holding weird positions, yoga positions work when our attention is focused deliberately on the effort of every muscle and body part, watching for and adjusting the alignment that sustains 'easy' balancing.
The same holds true in business. We spend our days with 100 To Do's rattling around in our heads, 27 things we need solved today, and the promise to ourselves that we'll get around to taking a look at how things are going... when we have a 'free' minute. But all of that buzzing stops us from getting our minds quiet enough to sit and observe. When you create quiet periods to focus on your business productivity you'll notice what activities and roles may be keeping your effort 'off balance' and in fact wasting time, effort and energy.
2. Allow yourself to fix your position Butt in the air, hands and feet carefully planted, some days my "downward-facing dog" feels like freedom and others I feel like every bone and muscle has never been in that position before. During each class some poses come easier than others. The events of the day, played out in our muscles, change which poses are quickly achieved and held and which require more attention and even re-positioning. Shift an ankle, move a toe and every thing changes!
As a professional we walk into meetings with the same people, to solve similar issues. Yet some meetings go smoothly and others become contentious. When we're paying attention we realize we need to pause and reorganize our approach. Don't waste the opportunity! Even though it seems awkward to say "You know, we're off course here. Let's start over." it's exactly what will get you a more productive result.
3. Rejoice in moments of success When I'm doing yoga and a pose goes well, there's an immediate sense of appreciation for it. Since our yoga class is a small one, we're all exclaiming about it for ourselves and for each other. And the feeling of joy and fun in it multiplies and encourages trying again when poses aren't working.
Remember that acknowledgment is food for the soul. In yoga, life and business when you notice things going well you're encouraged to do more of the same. When you share your observations of success with others they're motivated as well.
The close of each yoga class is a quiet appreciation for the experience, shared with others, and the intention to carry that experience into the next moments. Make it a practice to take that attention and satisfaction with you into the rest of your life and work.
© 2008 Linda Feinholz Management expert, consultant, and coach Linda Feinholz is "Your High Payoff Catalyst" and publishes the free weekly newsletter The Spark! and delivers targeted solutions, practical skills and simple ways to boost professional and personal results. If you're ready to focus on your High Payoff activities, accelerate your results and have more fun, get your FREE tips at her site http://www.YourHighPayoffCatalyst.com
Linda Feinholz may be contacted at http://www.yourhighpayoffcatalyst.com or firstname.lastname@example.org