Yoga Can Help You Get Ahead at Work — Here's How

If you've been practicing yoga regularly, you've no doubt started to feel the positive effects on your body and mind. Once you roll up your mat after class and fix that postyoga messy bun, you feel light, energized, and conscious. But did you know that you could use what you learn in yoga class to be more successful at work? Read on to learn ways to take your yoga practice into the workplace, beyond your postclass "namaste."

Make Room For Mindfulness

The very idea of yoga is to find presence in each moment, without dwelling on the past or racing toward the future. While you may have mastered keeping your mind still during Warrior 2, do you still have trouble focusing on tasks during work? Try bringing all of your attention to whatever task you've started — that means saying no to multitasking. Having a one-on-one with your manager? Hold the space by paying attention, getting curious with questions, and setting deadlines for accountability. Try setting aside an hour at the beginning or end of your day to tackle emails, instead of getting distracted by notifications throughout the day. Being present will help with anxiety, stress, and being overwhelmed by your to-do list.

Nonreactivity Is Key

Yoga teaches us to accept whatever comes our way, without being attached to one outcome or another. Wouldn't it be fantastic if our co-workers never made any snide remarks and we got every promotion we ever wished for? Since we don't live in utopia, there will always be chaos and challenge in life, especially at work. While yoga won't make that go away, it can teach us not to dive into that negative space and, instead, find calm within. Practicing meditation or breathing techniques before work or during a lunch break will allow you to slow down before jumping to conclusions and reacting rashly.

Wherever You Are, Find Light

In yoga when we greet each other with the Sanskrit word namaste, we're basically saying, "the light that resides within me, recognizes and honors the light within you." It's easy to get bogged down and stuck in the seriousness of work, especially in a high-stress environment. Apply that principle of finding the light in the toughest situations to ground yourself. Did your new project totally face plant? Celebrate the learnings from that failure. Struggling with a new program? Ask for help and give thanks to a mentor. If we can flip our perception and stop labeling situations as "bad," everything becomes an opportunity.

Of course, none of these principles come easy. The same way you may wobble in Dancer's pose before hitting your stride, applying these yogic attributes to the workplace requires practice and patience.