August 11, 2011

So Hum: for those times when your co-workers are jerks.

Model: Abbie Dutterer; Photography: Faern

“As I’ve become more devoted to my practice, I have tried to bring more of ‘my mat’ into my workplace. I hope that what I am trying to cultivate in terms of calmness, curiosity, and peace in my life—both at work and at home —adds something to the people around me.” ~ Abbie

I SO relate to Abbie!

It’s easy to focus on the present moment when you’re in the middle of your asana practice, but what really matters is if you pay attention to your breath in a moment when you’re late for a deadline…. or in the middle of an argument with a loved one … or having one of those days when nothing seems to go the way you think it should.

I have a particularly difficult time remembering my yoga practice when I’m at the office. This is why I have to have reminders everywhere!

Surround yourself with inspiration. I have an inspiration board up on my cubicle wall with quotes, notes from friends, and pictures. When you’re surrounded by things that inspire you, it uplifts everything you do.

Find ways to incorporate yoga clothing into your work wardrobe. I wear a mala to work nearly every day. I also wear yoga tops in the place of camisoles. That way even though I am conforming to my office culture and look “professional” I have little reminders of my practice even when I’m in meetings away from my desk. (And it makes changing for yoga after work a breeze!)

Take stretch breaks often. There are lots of poses you can do right in your desk chair. My favorite desk stretches are seated twists (using the arm rests for extra traction), Cow Face Pose, and—when no one is looking—seated Cat-Cows and Tolasana from my desk chair!

Listen to kirtan. I love listening to music while I work, but songs with lyrics are distracting when you work with words. Kirtan is soothing and reminds me of my yoga practice, and the fact that I don’t understand the words is a bonus because I can just enjoy the vibrations.

Take a deep breath every time you get a phone call or email. This is my trick to manage stress and communicate mindfully.

Most of all … in those moments that you want to grab your boss by the neck and shake some sense into her, remember that yoga teaches us that we’re all one and she deserves to be treated with compassion and understanding as much as anyone else… especially when she’s a giant pain the ass. We’re all just doing the best we know how to do for ourselves, our families and our careers.

Read the rest of Abbie’s interview here.

Faern is an artist, yoga practitioner and photographer in San Francisco. Besides making as much time for tea as possible, you can find Faern in a yoga class, at her current art show or wandering the city via public transportation. You can visit her in various places online: FaernWorks website, Twitter, Facebook, Faern in the Works Blog.
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