It’s Monday and my friend Jared wrote on my facebook wall from North Carolina to say:
Can you please maybe think about writing a blog posting about how you kept up your practice as a consultant? I literally have found myself working 18-20hours/day… it’s changing my body radically, and yoga has been out for a month! Would love to know your secrets/advice. Miss you! xx
And so here it goes. I won’t lie. While working 60-80 hour work weeks, I had more time to think about practice than to actually practice. My body suffered. I’m still working on a shoulder problem that I trace back to toting around nearly 50 pounds of gear on an off of airplanes, in and out of security and up and down hotel elevators while doing a job called “consulting.” Being a walking office also meant sitting in incredibly uncomfortable make-shift office settings. The business admiringly called us road warriors, which was somehow supposed to be glamourous as we racked up air and hotel points, but my body will tell another story. As it went, most days started around 6am and ended somewhere around 10pm. Which meant that at night I chose between eating, sleeping or physical activity. I am not ashamed to say that I mostly chose food or sleep over physical activity, although this also meant that I started to feel like an over-stuffed sausage. Most yoga took place up in my head, but here are ways that I kept my practice alive:
- If I had a real “office” or cubicle, I would literally crawl under the desk for supine twists, crunches, plank, etc.
- I had also been known to sneak in a down dog when no one was looking, even if it meant that i headed to the ladies room and put my hands on the dirty floor (you can wash afterwards). And Eagle pose works great in a bathroom stall.
- At night, on a hotel towel, I committed to at least three sun salutations, pigeon plus ujayii breathing (even if you are laying in bed – bed yoga is also better than nothing).
- Weekend practice at a studio, even if you don’t get to sleep in and even if you spend the rest of your Saturday working. After all, sleeping is overrated in this industry, right?
- Block off lunches/late afternoon breaks where you can to do yoga, walk, practice tree or breath
- Mantra: find one. say one. repeat. whether it’s in sanskrit or music lyrics. In college, I would walk around with the go go’s “we’ve got the beat” guiding my path, in grad school, i used kundalini’s “sat nam” or “i am truth” and in consulting, it became much sadder with: “what in the hell am i doing?!”
In other words, become a yoga ninja, or yoga road warrior. You can fit a yoga pose in almost anywhere. The people who look at you like you are crazy are jealous that they can’t balance on one foot while waiting in line for their coffee. And you can always breathe. You can always smile. You can always practice positive thoughts. All of this is yoga.
It wasn’t until I decided that I didn’t care how I was judged on the job that I started to make more time for practice. By the end of my consulting career, I was on a project where I was able to block out time on a daily basis for yoga. And I kept that commitment with fervor because I remembered what it was like to not have the ability to block that time.
How do you keep your practice?