Everywhere I turn I hear about the failing economy, about how we need to work harder and put forth more effort.
Well, I’m not buying into all the negative talk. Using some tricks I have learned from yoga I am watching my business grow with minimal effort – and you can too.
In order to succeed in your business, it is not necessary to work harder but to work smarter; to narrow your focus and leave yourself space to just be. You will finish your work in less time, with reduced stress and greater results. To enjoy life while we run our own businesses, it is essential to maintain (or create) balance. I guarantee the following steps (that you can do at your desk!!) will add balance to your life, reduce stress and bring a strong sense of calm to all that you do. (More on white space in future articles.)
Step 1: BREATHE
Something we do every minute of every day can actually change our lives. Most of us pay little or no attention to the breath and yet just 5 minutes a day is enough to notice a difference. Here is a simple technique to improve your health, ease your mind and bring balance into your life.
- Sit in a firm chair, feet on the floor, lengthen your spine to become tall; shoulders move back and the head lifts out of the neck. Close your eyes and notice your breath.
- When you are ready, allow the belly to fill as you inhale, as you exhale relax the body and feel the breath travel down through the torso. At the end of the exhale, gently squeeze the lower belly to the spine. Practice this belly-breathing for 3-5 minutes.
- Using a slow count of four, inhale fully. Take a brief pause, exhale fully to the same slow count of four. Brief pause. Repeat for 3-5 minutes or for as long as you want. As you practice, you may need to increase the count.
- When finished, first stop the counting, notice how your breath feels, and slowly open your eyes.
Step 2: YOGA
Yoga works! Not the poses that remind you of pretzels, rather the poses that allow you to heal your body in a gentle, non-aggressive way. Yoga is for men and women of all ages, all sizes and all backgrounds.
- Low back release: Sit in a firm chair, feet on the floor, inhale and lengthen your spine so you become tall, with your chest and belly button reaching forward. As you exhale, round through the back, drawing the navel to the spine. Repeat for 1 minute or longer.
- Hip opener: Keep the right foot flat on the floor; place the left ankle on the right thigh. Grow tall through the spine and gently lean forward. The left hand (or elbow) can rest gently on the left knee. Do NOT round the back. Hold for 1 minute or longer. Repeat on other side.
- Gentle twist: Sit in a firm chair, feet on the floor, inhale and lengthen the spine to become tall, exhale and twist the torso to the left. If you like, hook your left arm over the back of the chair. Hold for 1 minute or longer. Repeat on other side.
Step 3: MEDITATION
Meditation comes in many shapes and sizes and is a wonderful way to tame the “monkey mind”. It is most effective to learn meditation with a particular point of focus. In my experience, it is best to choose one method and stick with it for a while. Commit at least 10 minutes to your meditation daily; you are likely to notice subtle changes in the first week.
- One of the most common forms of meditation involves using a mantra (a repetitive phrase) to focus the mind. It is best to choose a mantra that resonates with you, reflecting your life’s purpose or your spiritual practice. Choose a 3-5 syllable phrase or two the same length. Some examples: “God is great (phrase 1) God is good (phrase 2)”; “I live in peace”; “Maranatha”; “Om Namah Shivaya”.
- Sit in a firm chair, feet on the floor, lengthen your spine to become tall; shoulders move back and the head lifts out of the neck. With the inhale repeat phrase 1 to yourself, on the exhale remain silent or use phrase 2. (See above)
- The mantra is your point of focus; it works as a leash for the monkey mind. Your mind (thoughts) will wander; when you notice, gently come back to the mantra.
These three simple practices will change your life and your business; discovering the white space will allow you to move gracefully towards your goals and dreams. Commit to one or all of the above practices for 14 days and observe the changes; you will not only survive, you will thrive! Namaste.