Yoga. Host it at your SKO or User Conference!

Michael Wilde
Nov 4, 2017 · 5 min read

The end of the year is coming up. While the children have a few more months to end up on Santa’s “nice” list, vast teams of sales professionals are in (or entering) what is known as Q4. Crunch time. It will be go-go-go from now until the end of the fiscal year. Guys and gals gonna be stresssssssss’d out. After the quarter is over, many sales teams gather in convention centers or hotels to learn about the new things (including products and yes — demos!) for the upcoming year. Offering a daily yoga practice to your teams and customers is a great way to do the following:

  1. Keep folks from getting shit-faced the night before an important session. Try practicing yoga hungover; I dare you.

The practice of yoga is truly a gift from oneself, to oneself.

Becoming a Namasté Nerd

I began the practice of vinyasa flow yoga back in early 2012 at Life Time. I found it super challenging, but very rewarding. Then I met all of these weird yoga people — or rather, became one of them ;) All kidding aside, in the practice of yoga you learn so much about yourself. A yoga practice kicks both your mind and your ass into shape. Lululemon creeps into your life. You start buying yoga clothes, mats, eating better and saying words like “hip openers”, Ujjayi, and “namasté”.

About 70 internet years ago (circa 2013 if I recall), I had gone to a social media conference called Big Boulder that Chris Moody and his crew at the time (“GNIP” — now Twitter Data Services) put on in Boulder, CO. Of course, Boulder, being soooooo Boulder had yoga classes offered at the hotel. I met Megan Kelley there in yoga practice. (she probably doesn’t think I remember, but I do.).

The idea of offering a practice (and hikes up the Flatirons) meant that Moody’s crew not only took the time to provide a cool experience but recognized that these group fitness events allow multiple people to not have to share 2 treadmills and 3 ellipticals, because whats motivating about the treadmill in your hotel — even if one is available?

I carried a briefcase back than as a joke, but actually, it fits perfectly under an airplane seat #protip

Mindfulness for Techies

A friend of mine, Jennifer Minella (VP of Engineering) over at Carolina Advanced Digital, has been into mindfulness for a while now. She gave a presentation about mindfulness with Mike Rothman at the RSA information security conference back in 2014. We knew each other from the early days of Splunk and was following my journey into mindfulness through the practice of yoga. At the time I was working in the CTO’s office at Splunk and made Jennifer a video to show at that RSA conference session. Jennifer and Mike’s session was focused on helping Security Operations pro’s — known for being stressed out as they fight bad guys all day — release some of the pressure of their jobs.

The video below has a bit of dialog and little “demo” of my yoga practice.

In 2014 I became — and still am — an RYT200 Certified Yoga teacher, specializing in heated vinyasa flow, weekly at Life Time in Austin, TX.

Yoga @ Splunk

After becoming a teacher I had offered, Splunk (my workplace) pro bono services as a yoga teacher at their Annual User Conference in 2015 called “Splunk conf”. Having attended many conferences myself, I observed thousands of customers and employees going to giant hotels in places like Las Vegas and Orlando, eating and drinking great food and only a handful in the hotel gym in the morning. It made me want to give Splunk’s attendees something more to do — and a reason to get up “way freaking early”. If we built it, would they come? Attendees came and loved it. I have offered yoga for most of the last few years at Splunk Conference and I’ve taught yoga at our Sales Kickoff Meetings (SKO) as well.

Those are my bud’s Gary Harris and Dominic Sipe from Splunk at SKO2016. I’m standing up at the top of the photo with the “Inhale Exhale” shirt on ready to turn a whole pile of “type A’s” in to “type OMs”. Even Ben Dearinger at Splunk (conference organizer) ordered Splunk-branded yoga mats that we have available for conferences and events.

DockerCon 2017 Yoga

Almost like a roadshow, we got Betty Junod and the Docker team to let us teach yoga at DockerCon 2017. Logistically easy to fulfill this year, as was in my backyard (Austin, TX) this year. We promoted, they came, they breathed and bonded.

In keeping with my nerdiness and as a containerization/DevOps expert, I have a really fun talk about some of the stuff I had been working on at Splunk around Dockerizing Demos.

Add Yoga to your Events

It has been a fascinating experience blending yoga and with high-energy driven guys and gals — some of them a little like me.

If you are organizing a conference for your customers OR your sales teams, consider adding a daily yoga practice to the event.

Cost is minimal. Mats are cheap to acquire, the PA system…well, the hotel already has that. Just one more thing needed: a good yoga teacher. Vinyasa, yin (restorative) or other Hatha yoga styles are good to teach for larger groups. Most cities have teachers that will gladly take extra jobs if they’re are aware of them. (despite their skill, yoga teachers do not get paid much money, btw). One might even be able to work out a deal with a local yoga studio or fitness club to provide the gear and teachers for a fee or marketing swap.

Interested in following my yoga pursuits or if you’d like to ask questions, you can find the Namaste Nerd on Facebook or at my blog over at https://namastenerd.tumblr.com where I have class descriptions and Spotify playlists.

the source code in me, honors the source code in you.

namasté.

Wilde About Demos

Writings, musings, sharing and expertise about all things “product demo” related.

Michael Wilde

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I am a career sales engineer/tech evangelist at Honeycomb. I create innovative ways to show off technology. From message, to process I have experience to share.

Wilde About Demos

Writings, musings, sharing and expertise about all things “product demo” related.