Everything I know about getting stuff done, I learned from yoga.
You can ask my family – I used to suck at getting things done. I didn’t finish much, or if I did, it was painful and I whined the whole way. Then I started practicing yoga in college and that pattern began to change.
I started with yoga to be less anxious and bitchy, but I got much more.
I got a practice that taught me about alignment – not only of my body, but also the alignment of my intentions with energy and action. That alignment (especially with the actions part) is the key to making things happen in real time.
Which is also known as getting the job done, yogi-style.
Yogis are peaceful, but they are also bad-asses. Here are some of the strong yet flexible, get-shit-done principles that yoga has taught me. This is the most important stuff that you can you take off the mat to make your vision a reality and make a positive impact on the world around you.
The first rule of yoga is you have to show up consistently. There is no benefit if we don’t make it to class or roll out our mats regularly. This can be tough, I know. But it’s a universal rule – showing up and doing the work, over and over again, is what makes us kick-ass yogis.
This is equally true in our work. Showing up, every day creates results on the mat, and off.
I’m all for vacations, rest, play, and downtime, but if you want to experience success, it’s important to show up consistently.
Take Action at your Edge
Once you show up in class or you roll out your mat at home, the goal isn’t to stay completely within your comfort zone – it’s to stretch your limits. Not to a place of pain, but to the place where you are working with your edge, challenging your body in ways that will create a new experience of yourself and your body and what you are capable of on a whole lot of levels.
Again, it’s the same with your work in the world. No matter what, you are going to experience taking action in ways that feel really uncomfortable. There are going to be ample opportunities to do things in your work and in your life at the edge of your comfort zone.
Life provides almost limitless opportunity to learn how to stay with the intensity of sensation that is brought on by taking action at your edge – whether you are doing a handstand for the first time since childhood, or you are learning how to ask for a raise with confidence. It requires courage to risk playing at your edge and stretching into new places – but this is where all the juicy stuff happens, so it’s totally worth it.
Keep Breathing and Relax
In yoga, we focus on conscious breathing as an important way to relax into the intensity at our edge. When we are taking action at our limit, in yoga or our lives, the breath is a great indicator. If we have gone way beyond our edge, we won’t be able to stay with the intensity. Our breath will be ragged – or we will barely be breathing. At that point, we aren’t staying with intensity – we aren’t really there at all.
If we aren’t present, then we are likely in fight or flight and that does not produce the kick-ass results that we are seeking, on the mat or in our lives. On the mat, we may injure ourselves from not being present to our bodies. At work, we might freeze up at the critical moment or push into a place that we aren’t really ready to be.
Staying with the breath helps us maintain relaxed focus, even in the face of intense sensations. It helps us stay grounded. And staying grounded helps us take the right action at the right time – with a lot of ease.
Notice what is going on in the present, adjust accordingly
One of the most important things that this former (sometimes current) perfectionist has learned from yoga: sometimes the action we take just doesn’t work out – it might even look like failure. And that’s okay.
Everything happens for us, not to us. The universe is so kind – simply presenting more opportunity for us to get curious and notice what is happening and make adjustments to our intentions, our energy, or our actions.
In a yoga posture that requires balance, sometimes one side is easier than the other. Some days it’s a wonder I can stand on two feet. But it doesn’t MEAN anything about me personally. It might indicate I’m distracted or I’m tired and knowing that allows me to correct course. Maybe I will call a friend to talk about what’s going on in my head or take a nap – that is excellent noticing and adjusting instead of making my lack of balance mean that I have no right calling myself a yoga teacher.
In our lives, when we show up and take consistent action at our edge – staying relaxed in the face of the intensity – it’s MUCH easier to notice what happens when we ask for the raise or pitch the new idea without getting all wrapped around the axle. We just NOTICE. Do eyes glaze over? It isn’t personal – just notice and adjust.
Notice, adjust, repeat.
Say Thank You
No matter what happens, we end yoga classes with the salutation Namasté. Recognizing the perfection and divinity that lies within each person, each experience, and each moment – this tradition is like a formal acknowledgement that we extend to everything around us.
When you can find a heartfelt well of gratitude for all of it – for the motivation and ability to show up, the courage to act at your edge, the wisdom to stay present and relaxed and the insight to listen up and adjust as needed, results happen and the impact you have grows.
Step by step, stretch by stretch, your intentions will become real through the beautiful, consistent practice getting the right stuff done, yogi-style.
Nona Jordan is the Business Yogini – a strange cross-breed of yogini and money-loving business coach. She inspires and motivates with her get-sh!t-done attitude, holistic perspective, warm presence, humor, and down-to-earth style. She gets absolutely giddy and cannot stop talking about her work helping yoga teachers, coaches and other healers own their unique brand of awesome and make a great living doing the work they love changing the world. You can find her at Nona Jordan.com.