Friday, October 19, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry OM

I have the wonderful opportunity to teach two yoga classes at work on Monday as a part of our Employee Health and Wellness Fair.  I think having a Wellness Fair is a great program for an employer to run.  There is a trend, at least according to the HR thought leaders that I follow, of employers focusing on wellness for their employees. 

Work is stressful.  Any work, any level.  If it were not stressful, it would be called “vacation.” Employers and employees alike know this. Work is a fact of life. We all need to find a method to deal with that relentless stress so we don’t go climbing clock towers or let other areas of our lives be ruined. 

For me, this method has been through cultivating a yogic practice.  Not just asana, although that helps incredibly because I sit behind a desk all day, but meditation, chanting, breath control, and the discipline of practice itself helps me to get through the day.

I don’t think anyone would accuse me of handling stress well.  But I think back to when I was in sales or working in kitchens for 12+ hrs. a day.  I handled stress by smoking a lot of cigarettes and drinking a lot of booze.  I ate like crap.  I did nothing to prevent or treat back, knee, elbow, and hand pain.  I was a physical and emotional wreck a lot of the time.

Over the last 8+ years, I have systematically worked to bring my body and mind back to some sort of human level baseline.  It is a work in progress.  This practice has not cured me of all my ailments (physical and mental) but it certainly has helped.  I am in better physical shape and have more sense of purpose than I did 8 years ago.  I have grown further in my career in these last 8 years than in the same time prior.  Of course this causes me to take on more stress, so I continue to practice.

My practice has changed over the years.  What I teach may not be completely appropriate for everyone, but my hope is that some part of it plants a seed.  The movement, the stories, sitting still, saying OM—hopefully something in there resonates with my students so that they can find a path that works for them.

This is all based on my direct experience.  Not something I read in a book, not something someone told me.  I have seen growth first-hand and think that I am in a much better place because of this practice.

There is a lot of work left.  But every OM gets me a little bit closer. I may not be all peacelovehappiness yet, but at least I can get out of bed in the morning.

My boss’ boss is a Churchill fan.  He frequently quotes “Keep calm and carry on.”  Saw this on Dharma Yoga’s page not so long ago and it seemed fitting.  Although I would personally alter it to “Keep Calm and Carry रमा .”

Be well.

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