Unless you’re totally out of the loop, you’re probably familiar with the yoga lifestyle — just like you know you can find tools at a hardware store and peacocks at the zoo. But even practiced yogis can find new ways to use yoga to benefit their career.
While yoga has many known health benefits, experts also say that yoga can help in work environments by teaching you to overcome challenges, practice self-restraint, and maintain a positive outlook. Researchers have pointed out that yoga can relieve stress and improve confidence, particularly in women. If you’re wondering why it would impact women more, the answer is simple: unlike many exercise programs, yoga combines physical exercise with mindfulness, uniting the mind/body connection.
1. Improved Self-Discipline
Becoming adept at yoga takes mental and physical effort. The yogic focus on mindfulness encourages you to tune into your body and gradually work on your postures each day. Yoga isn’t about working out 24/7 in order to compete with others. Instead, the fitness centers around yourself and on making clear and healthy decisions for your body and mind.
2. Increased Confidence Levels
New yoga students can easily recall their first yoga class with the anxiety, lack of balance, and anxious looks around the room to see if anyone else is struggling with the poses. As with any other sport or activity, yoga requires practice to master. Flexibility that once seemed impossible becomes possible over time, with practice. Ingber says that the confidence this gives you helps you begin to see challenges as opportunities and learn how to manage your negative thoughts.
While this helps in yoga class and in life, this feeling of confidence can also transfer directly into the workplace. Being able to manage conflict and demonstrate flexibility can certainly be an asset while climbing the corporate ladder.
3. Reduced Stress
Yoga styles and poses have a positive impact on the nervous system. Meditation, deep breathing, and soothing stances like Savasana or “corpse pose,” which frequently conclude yoga classes, can help moderate the heartbeat and loosen up muscles. When the nervous system relaxes, people feel more settled and grounded, according to Broad.
Research suggests that yoga’s effect can extend to helping people have a more optimistic outlook on life. A 2009 Harvard Medical School study found that yoga improved performance anxiety and helped reduce stress for young professionals.
Learning to change your response to high-stress environments, particularly in the workplace, can be learned with training. Yoga helps you learn and gives you the confidence to keep trying, according to Ingber.
Yoga is a lifelong practice with associated lifelong benefits. It combines working out with stress reduction and increased confidence to help you in work and in life. So, what are you still waiting for? There’s a yoga mat out there somewhere with your name on it!