The Pleasure Of Yoga For Entrepreneurs
Several years ago, I struggled with sciatica and repetitive strain injury (RSI).
I couldn’t spend more than thirty minutes writing an article without my left hand cramping. When I stood up to stretch, pains shot from my right foot to my hip.
A physical therapist told me the cause was spending so much time sitting at a desk hunched over a keyboard typing.
What’s more, in 2003 medical researchers found up to 15% of adults in the U.K. alone struggle with hand pain or repetitive strain injury at some point.
I didn’t want to quit my job, so I took up pilates to treat sciatica before moving on to yoga. Thankfully, sciatica and RSI aren’t a problem for me today, although finding time to practice yoga is.
Finding Time For Yoga
Founded by American entrepreneur Lizzie Brown and her husband, Yoga Wake Up teaches busy entrepreneurs how to practice meditation and basic yoga postures each morning for several minutes before starting work.
Brown created Yoga Wake Up three years ago after running a public relations agency. More than 250,000 people have downloaded the app, which also offers premium content as part of a monthly subscription.
“Instead of going into the studio and mimicking that, we created [Yoga Wake Up] as a yoga alarm clock…to encourage people to wake up in a more peaceful way,” Brown told me.
“A lot of people will say, ‘I don’t know how to practice yoga,’ or ‘I’m not flexible enough’, but I think of yoga as something that is easy to incorporate into your daily practice.”
Brown has practiced yoga for more than ten years and cites her practice as key for helping her to focus, manage stress and anxiety and maintain her productivity while at work.
“I think of yoga as a practice that adapts to whatever challenges that are going on in your body and in your life,” she said.
Start Your Day As You Mean To Go On
Many focused entrepreneurs value starting the day right by meditating, exercising or working their most important priority for the day. This mindset underpins the thinking that went into Yoga Wake Up.
“When [my husband and I] wake up in the morning, we will sit down and have breakfast and have tea and have a quick recap on whatever it is we want to accomplish that day,” Brown said.
Although early morning yoga can help entrepreneurs manage stress and anxiety, it won’t prevent unpleasant and difficult situations arising at work or in their businesses. All the flexibility in the world isn’t going to solve your cash flow problems, but it may help you tackle them with a clear-head.
Brown describes herself as someone who makes a lot of lists when she’s under pressure, but she counts on her practice to step back and refocus.
“I’m a big fan of focusing on my breath,” she said. “I will…go for a walk or do a quick mix of movement next to my desk or even take a lunch hour or yoga class just so I can…feel refreshed and ready to tackle whatever it is that was a challenge earlier.”
“It’s started to make a really big difference in helping me with anxiety and stress naturally because I use this and my life has really evolved in that way.”
Train To Succeed
Practicing yoga, much like pilates, lifting weights, running and other forms of physical exercise, will strengthen your body. This in turn will enable you to focus on your business without burning out or failing prey to the injuries of the deskbound.
“If you make the decision and commitment to do [yoga], it will help you through any kind of ailment, whether it’s physical or mental or even emotional,” Brown said.
“If you incorporate that daily practice, it can absolutely make a difference in how you spend the rest of your day and help you prioritize whatever it is that you need to accomplish that day and also make space mentally to be your best.”
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