The Twisted Entrepreneur: Yoga for Business Owners
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Feel like you’re twisted in knots at the end of the day? With all you do to keep a business running, it’s not surprising. One study reports that 62 percent of small business owners said their stress level is worse than they imagined. Yet, over 85 percent say it’s worth it. So how do you turn that stress into success? One way is to channel the benefits of yoga to power your entrepreneurial energy.
Benefits of Yoga
Before you sit cross-legged on the floor and chant ancient phrases, stop and consider the benefits of yoga. The secret lies in the integration of mind and body. By practicing specific poses and focusing on breathing, you use meditation to be more mindful. Instead of your environment controlling you, you control how you perceive it. Of course, you will want to consult your health care professional before starting a yoga practice.
The Mayo Clinic lists the following potential health benefits of yoga:
- Stress reduction – Lessens stress and anxiety. And it can enhance your overall sense of well-being
- Improved fitness – Leads to improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength
- Management of chronic conditions – Can reduce risk factors for heart disease and high blood pressure. It has also shown benefits in managing depression, pain and insomnia
Besides the medical advantages, yoga has a direct benefit for entrepreneurs, according to DoYouYoga.com. For example, yoga focuses on knowing the inner self. That can help clarify your core mission and give you the confidence to move forward.
In yoga, you’re also called on to set your daily intention. Think of it as a prioritized to-do list of personal and professional goals. The focus these intentions provide help make them happen.
At Your Desk or On the Mat
Some people fear yoga is about lying on a mat and getting into positions you’re not sure you’ll ever get out of. There’s a little bit of truth to that when you first start. But that’s not the only way you can practice yoga. It can be as simple as sitting at your desk.
eHealth suggests a series of easy, at-your-desk yoga exercises that keep you fit, feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the next task. Here’s are two of the desk yoga techniques:
- Leg stretch – Find a steady surface to lean against, like your desk. In a standing position, place one hand on your desk. With the opposite hand, hold the front of your ankle and stretch your leg inward. Repeat this on the other leg
- Seated meditation – Find a semi-quiet area (or put on your noise-canceling headphones). Sit down with your arms relaxed at your side. Close your eyes and breathe in and out at a steady pace for 1-2 minutes
Now that you’re nearing nirvana (the state of inner peace, not the classic rock band), you might be ready to try some more traditional yoga poses.
Get out your yoga mat and take a look at these 10 Yoga Poses You Need to Know from The New York Times. This free resource provides videos showing how to do poses, when not to do them, and what to do with your mind while your body is in that position. Here are a few examples:
- Child’s Pose – This is your go-to move when you need a rest during your workout. It provides a gentle stretch in your neck, spine and hips
- Downward-Facing Dog – One of the most common poses, this one can help relieve back pain. It strengthens your arms, shoulders and back while stretching the muscles in your leg
- Seated Half-Spinal Twist – Here’s one of the more advanced moves, but it can release tight muscles around the shoulder and upper and lower back
Yoga can be an effective tool to channel your business energy in a positive direction. The best part is you don’t have to be a yogi for it to work. A few simple exercises at your desk can make an impact. Check out these resources to start. Namaste (that’s yoga for I bow to your success).