Visit Yourself At Work: Professionals Find Peace in the Workplace

Via Devon Ward-Thommes
on May 1, 2009
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After completing her Master’s in Public Policy and her MBA at University of Maryland, 31-year-old Klia Bassing felt as if her work at the World Bank wasn’t really making a positive impact. So she read a book, Find Your Career In Business. The author suggested she make a list of all the people she was jealous of. Her list included: painters, people who make music in groups, and her meditation teacher, Tara Brach, of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. “Well that doesn’t really help,” she thought. “I can’t do any of those things for a living.”

Almost three years later, she is the founder of “Visit Yourself At Work,” a program designed to teach mindfulness through meditation in the workplace. She teaches five-week courses emphasizing attention to breath, bodily sensations, thoughts and emotions during lunch breaks at the National Academy of Sciences, The Washington Post, Discovery Channel and the World Bank Group, to name a few.

“I noticed an age gap at meditation classes I attended – there were some young people in their twenties and early thirties and people in their fifties and older, but a lot of parents and professionals weren’t making it to evening classes,” Bassing explains. “I wanted to teach at workplaces in order to make mindfulness teachings accessible to professionals without a lot of leisure time.” It turned out that the community was hungry for this as well: 53 people signed up for her first class at the National Academy of Sciences and there were people on waiting lists at the World Bank.

Bassing realized she could do a lot of good by targeting people who make important decisions. By helping these professionals cultivate “the natural goodness that we feel toward others in mindfulness practice,” she hopes to help not only Washington residents, but all the people influenced by their decisions.
Despite initial challenges (one student thought she was teaching about medication instead of meditation), Bassing is finding fulfillment and joy in teaching mindfulness. Her students are profiting, too – they report decreased stress and an awareness that things like lost metro cards are not such a big deal. Bassing is now taking Visit Yourself at Work national. In explaining her path thus far, Bassing says, “I just want to be a grateful servant to whatever it is that moves me to benefit people.”


About Devon Ward-Thommes

Devon Ward-Thommes, M.F.A, R.Y.T., is a devoted yogini, a poet and essayist, and a practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga and Vajrayana Buddhism.  Her life’s passion is awakening loving-kindness through creative, embodied practice and sharing these experiences with others.


6 Responses to “Visit Yourself At Work: Professionals Find Peace in the Workplace”

  1. E. Fabricant says:

    How inspiring! I'd love to know more about how/where this work is headed nationally…

  2. R.B. Moreno says:

    Glad to hear the program is running strong! Recession-proof? Probably. Sweet head shot, too!

  3. Jeanna Carter says:

    It was inspiring to read about Bassing's program on teaching Mindfulness to the "working" age group. That age group is a significant and crucial part of our society. It will be great to continue to get updated about Bassing's program.
    On a related note.
    Last year, Bellinghan, WA School District offered a training about Mindfulness and the social, emotional and academic benefits of Mindfulness in the classroom to educators. Students are also significant members of our society, and teaching them mindfulness as a way of being early in life will help our society as a whole.

  4. A. Posegate says:

    As a D.C. resident, I certainly realize the benefit and potential of a program like this, especially considering all the decisions made here that affect the entire world!

  5. yup says:

    another good article about another interesting woman. You're on a roll . . .

  6. Klia Bassing says:

    Thanks for the comments and interest!

    Stay up to date on (i) press coverage, (ii) the growth of my business and (iii) subscribe to the free daily Twitter tips on Mindfulness in daily life and for cultivating a meditation practice!

    Kind regards,