Yoga Wisdom at Work: Finding Sanity off the Mat & on the Job. ~ Marlena Rich {Book Review}

The practice of yoga as a stretching, strengthening and balancing exercise program has become wildly popularly in the US in recent years.

Yet, how many of us are aware of the ancient philosophy that underlies the system of poses, which actually engender through the body these sacred and practical tenets?

Maren Showkeir and Jamie Showkeir, who are married business partners, have written a beautifully clear book called Yoga Wisdom at Work: Finding Sanity off the Map and on the Job. This book illustrates the full range of yoga’s transformational benefits with relevant examples of how yoga wisdom can be applied to create a more rewarding work experience.

“While the physical and mental benefits of yoga include increased energy, ability to deal with stress, and work satisfaction, the asana practice is also rich in metaphors for the qualities needed to be successful at work: Intention. Discipline and focus. Stability and strength. Flexibility.  Balance. Willingness to try something new.”

Yoga Wisdom at Work is an invitation to use the Eight Limbs of yoga to cultivate a lifestyle that naturally overflows to the work space, offering keys for staying centered, positive, compassionate and sane every hour of the day, “Off the mat and on the job!” A more creative, productive and energized work environment will deliver a stronger bottom line, measured both in dollars and quality of life.

“Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?”

~ Mary Oliver, Yoga Wisdom at Work

There is no reason to separate work and yogic principles, especially since they “Urge you to unveil your brilliance to the world and to recognize the light that also burns in others.”

Certainly happiness will result from realizing one’s potential through each moment of contented presence filled with gratitude and generosity.

Tama Kieves aptly states, “Why would you prefer to crawl when you have wings?”

Sometimes the change one needs to be in the world is an inner shift of perspective, your wings to open.

The Showkeirs abundantly show how living the yogic path one challenge at a time in the workplace can be the answer to one’s need to fly instead of inching along aimlessly.

I love their recommendations for conscious conversation, which are certain to elevate it.

Ask oneself the following questions before speaking:

  1. Is it True?
  2. Is it Helpful?
  3. Does it Improve upon the Silence?
  4. Is it Necessary?
  5. Is it Kind?

Oh how many times have I wish I had checked in with myself before speaking in a tense situation–and conversely wished others had done the same.

“Yoga’s eight limbs are like a flower bud.  As each layer of petals opens, it reveals the next, and the next, until the fragrant core of full blossoming is revealed.  At the peak of its bloom, the flower is fully realized.  Samadhi is self-realization, the full bloom of yoga.  All the limbs of yoga are designed to lead you to Samadhi.”

Full immersion into one’s work can create the kind of joyful flow, like you experience when everything is kind of clicking.

That is Samadhi.

It is the natural state of flowering, of living ‘on purpose.’  The profound satisfaction described from applying the precepts of yoga can be experienced in any job, whether it be sweeping the floor, cooking, designing a building or coaching a team.  The point is to allow what you do to be what you wish to be doing, and give the best of yourself to it.  Immeasurable rewards will automatically be generated and returned tenfold to you and your community.

As Christine Day, CEO of lululemon athletica aptly states in the foreword,

“This is not your practice life; this is all there is.”

The conscious practice of yoga and all its metaphoric underpinnings poises one to fully immerse in the current of life, truly liberated from the bonds of ego.

What is more, research affirms that yoga and meditation slows the respiratory rate, heart rate and oxygen consumption.

The practice can actually change the brain, leading to increased compassion, self-awareness and memory. It can reduce anger, depression and performance anxiety, improve stress response, immunity, self-control and mood.

All of these fruits of the practice will truly enhance each and every aspect of life.

Yoga Wisdom at Work is a gracious and insightful inspiration.


Like elephant journal on Facebook.


Asst. Editor: Kathleen O’Hagan/Ed: Bryonie Wise

Photo: Pinterest


You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

jamie Jul 12, 2013 4:11pm

Thanks Marlene for this wonderful piece, beautifully done and humbling in content. Thanks Bob for making the point on Samadhi, Desikachar's book is one of the best in my opinion – and it includes one of the most cogent interpretations of the Sutras as well. Putting the Eight Limbs into personal daily practice will bring sanity to any situation.

Bob Weisenberg Jul 11, 2013 8:06pm

Hi, Marlena. I enjoyed reading your review very much.

Be prepared for those critics who will point out that the original meaning of Samadhi in the Yoga Sutra was a meditative withdrawal from the workaday world–a state of blissful isolation. And they are right historically.

But fear not. The authors have many powerful predecessors in their modernization of the Yoga Sutra's message. No less a figure than TKV Desikachar, son of the founder of modern Yoga, brought the Yoga Sutra clearly into the workplace with his groundbreaking 1995 book (including his own translation of the Sutra): The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice http://amzn.to/18QVQko .

Posting this to my new "virtual forum" Best of Yoga Philosophy.

Bob W.
Yoga Demystified

Read The Best Articles of March
You voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares.

Marlena Rich

Marlena Rich is a powerful guide toward opening your capacity for great love, infinite possibility, attraction and connection with your soul mate and yourself. A certified Calling in The One coach, author and a dance/movement transformational facilitator for more than 20 years, Marlena uses insightful, compassionate and practical methods to help uncover and release old patterns and beliefs. Training by author Katherine Woodward Thomas, mentoring by master teachers in ancient and contemporary healing disciplines for 35 years, a depth of experience in the business world and a life-long spiritual practice have prepared Marlena to inspire dynamic, heart-full magic in every aspect of life through partnership and creation of a profound space of deep self-discovery for her clients. Marlena is also an avid Argentine tango dancer and Publicist for the world’s most highly acclaimed Argentine tango performers and teachers, Gustavo Naveira and Giselle Anne, who now call Boulder, CO their home.