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LEAD Networking and Yoga

exploring the possibility of practising yoga @ Work

I had the great pleasure to be part of exciting Networking event in Brussels on November 5th and 6th.
The lady that made it possible for me to be part of this happening was one of my students in Procter & Gamble. She thought of me as the right person to introduce the concept of yoga to the ladies participating at the conference.
I soon realized that I was going to meet strong women in leadership positions with very demanding jobs in the Fast Moving Goods Business. CEOs, Vice Presidents, Directors....women that deal with a huge load of stress, number of tasks and have massive responsibilities at work and in their private lives.
I got ready for this event presenting a type of yoga practice customised to their environment. I started from imagining their life style and closer observation of my husband who has a very demanding job in multinational corporation, too. So I tried to be still at my desk for few hours a day just to feel how these women feel when they spend most of their days sitting down, reading and writing emails, attending meetings, driving cars, using the phone, travelling by plane, sleeping in hotels, being literally stuck in the meeting-rooms for days. I started thinking about their work settings and impact on their bodies and minds: are they sitting straight? Do they twist? Are their shoulders tense? What is their positions? What is their weakest spot?
I know for sure that for me being seated in a chair for more than 30 minutes is quite a challenge, I cannot imagine being like this for 8 hours...or more. But I noticed that if I had a morning practice before sitting down for study or work, I would be able to maintain the position at the desk and my focus for much longer. But the thing than made the real difference was an active break half way through the day using my desk and the chair as props to yoga practice. My body and mind were screaming for a stretch and a moment of calm!!!
Still, I was not able to switch off my mind completely and forget the phone buzzing with text messages and emails while trying to stretch and practice the asanas. I thought quiet room dedicated to yoga practice without computers, phones and other gadgets would be perfect, but this is not how our environment, especially in the office looks like. Or does it? So one should be able to practice and benefit from yoga and mindfulness without special mats and candles around...
In couple of days I have put together a sequence of the postures and pranayama practice that I could do dressed in my regular clothes and sitting at the desk. As laptop and phone still competed for my attention, the only way I could use this time without interruption was commitment and focus. Decision to dedicate this time to myself.
I immediately felt amazing change from before the practice and after. I could study and work at my computer, get back to stream of emails with a fresh mind. My body felt more relaxed as I have opened and stretched all the upper part, released the tension around my shoulders, opened the hip and took time to breath calmly and peacefully....Few minutes were enough to change the whole day. This was brilliant! This is it! I had my formula for women in high pace roles and stressing environment.
At the end, 140 successful female leaders participated at this networking event. I had 2 breakout sessions of 45 minutes each to share my practice. The objective was to make these women believe - through first-hand experience that yoga can be practised regardless the place and literally with what you have... It is more about making the commitment to carve-out some time for yourself from what seems to be most of the times insanely busy workday, wanting to give to yourself a gift of happiness and and enjoy physical and mental benefits of yoga practice. 
I was blessed to see the change in their face before and after the sessions and as a results this experience made us all happier. Yoga practice should not be about dedicated space and special hours. Anyone can benefit from the practice, regardless the place. Actually, at the moments when we feel overwhelmed in our minds and constrained by physical space around us, we gain the most.
OM Shri Gurave Namaha
Namaste.
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