Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bringing Our Yoga Off the Mat: @Work

Yesterday after school, a colleague friend of mine caught me in the hall and asked, "Why does your face always look so stressed? Aren't you supposed to be all 'Namaste'?"

Yikes.  I think that is the definition of getting smacked in the face with the truth.

It got me to thinking-- how do I bring the peace I create and feel, the relaxation I experience, and that feeling of "letting it all go" and being in the moment off of my mat and into my life?  How do I bring it to school with me, where (like yesterday) I am constantly frustrated with the inefficiency and inadequacy of others, where I am constantly weighted down with even more directives and tasks despite not being given the time or materials to complete those already on my plate, where the process of "teaching" is constantly interrupted by ego and bureaucracy, and where 80 adolescents greet me every morning with tears, smiles, hatred, pain, coughs, defeat.... 

I mean, when it gets to be too much, and I feel my face getting hot, I would love to drop down into child's pose and find my breath-- bring myself back to the moment.  I think we all would! But, I'm not quite sure how productive that would be in the middle of a lesson on pronoun-antecedent agreement.  The fact is, right or wrong, we can't just fall to the ground and find child's pose whenever we please. It's just not physically, socially, or occupationally acceptable!

No child's pose-- so what then? How do we keep our "Namaste"...our "OM"...throughout the day at work? I think it goes without saying that we can always find our breath, even if we can't hold a pose.  Our breath is he one thing that is always with us.  Take a deep breath-- in through your nose, and out through your nose.  It is amazing the relaxing power that one act holds.

We can also find successes we have had on our mat or in our practice and find the lesson in them that we can transfer to work.  My frustration at school is that no matter how hard I try, no matter how firmly I know what the right thing to do is, I am constantly interrupted or blocked from doing what needs to be done.  Something or someone always gets in my way, and I always feel like I crash.

I tried to compare this to something in yoga, and one word immediately popped up:  CROW.  I have struggled with my crow from day 1.  I know exactly what to do, but I can never seem to do it. If I am able to get both big toes off the ground, I am wobbly and unstable and always come crashing to the ground. I crash forward, my face into the ground, or I fall fast backwards, crashing my toes into my mat. It's never a subtle failure-- I always crash.

Until last week.  Something changed-- a switch flipped.  All of a sudden, I am able to get both feet off the ground, lower my arms closer to a 90 degree angle, straighten my back a little more, and hold the pose with stability and confidence until I choose to put my feet down...and that feeling is amazing.

That feeling is what I will take with me to work on Monday-- knowing that even though I might crash over and over, I know what the right thing to do is, and with perseverance, eventually I will be successful.  Crow has taught me, ever so slightly, to be more patient. 



  1. Very nice post. I found this article that I think relates very nicely to your struggles. I hope it helps you with your journey!

  2. My Dear Allison~~ Even though I have not walked the yoga journey that you are embarking on, the trials and tribulations of my life have made me incredibly strong and centered. It has taken me many years to gain the confidence to be "satisfied" and accept this crazy thing we call "life." Perhaps it has come with age, but in the big realm of things, stressing over the things you cannot change gets you nowhere, which is very difficult to accept. I will continue to greet you with "Namaste" to serve as a constant reminder to you of what truly matters :) xoxo