Life of a Corporate Warrior
Imagine a stressful morning at the office – phones ringing, multiple bosses asking for work product you have not completed, monitor glaring in your face, stress creeping up your back and taking hold in your shoulders as you hunch and squint to read a flurry of flustering e-mails. By mid-morning, your body aches from sitting. By noon, you’ve received multiple personal e-mails reminding you to file your tax returns and submit paperwork to renew your insurance. Work demands press up against your personal life and leave little to no time to think about your well-being and health. It is noon and you have your head in your hands at your desk, eyes closed, trying to shut everything out. You peek through your fingers at the clock and realize it is time for Chasing Nirvana Yoga. A smile spreads across your face. It is time to do something just for you. Something quiet, something relaxing, something that’s comfortable, stretchy and feels good. Something that will allow you to restart this day with a clear head and an open mind. It is time for the oasis in your corporate workday – yoga.
As you enter the room for your Chasing Nirvana Yoga class, the lights are off and music is playing softly. Your instructor is at the front of the room with her mat laid out; she is smiling and chatting with other students who have already arrived. As you lay out your mat and get comfortable, you look around and notice Ashley from accounting, Karl from marketing, and some other employees whom you recognize, but don’t know. It feels a bit intimidating at first to be in your workout gear next to your boss but nothing will keep you from that savasana (resting pose) that is awaiting you in a short 45 minutes.
As always, class begins with the instructor bringing the students into down dog, asking the students to raise a leg if they prefer not to be touched for adjustments, while telling them to work around any existing injuries. You don’t raise your leg. Adjustments are one of your favorite parts of yoga class, and you feel comfortable because these instructors use only their hands for adjustments. The instructor then moves seamlessly into a stretching sequence to warm up the body. You move right into the sequence, smiling and feeling good.
After a bit of a warm-up, the sequencing becomes more advanced. You’ve been to the Chasing Nirvana Yoga classes before and the first 4 weeks were great beginner classes that gave you the foundation you need to move forward and keep up, but some of the positions are becoming difficult. The instructor’s demonstrations of unique poses in the front of the class are helpful, and you are pleased when she then walks around the room, stopping for a brief adjustment of your pose. (Ohh, that’s how it’s supposed to feel.)
You are also relieved that you don’t have to translate poses while moving into them at the same time, as your instructor describes the sequencing in English terms and not only the ancient Sanskrit names. Even with the clear instruction, though, today for some reason you just can’t seem to balance in tree pose. The instructor brought you into tree by asking that you rest your foot against your inner shin, then if more advanced to draw your foot up your leg to your calf, and if that was comfortable, to slowly draw your foot up to your thigh to balance. You decide to stick with the “base” pose and rest your foot against your inner shin, feeling confident about holding your tree.
As the class winds down, you are on your mat for ground work, and the instructor continues to walk around the room making adjustments and focusing on the students. She then brings the students into their relaxation pose (savasana) for a couple minutes to conclude class. During this time, the instructor ties poses from the day’s class to how your body is feeling right then. She tells you to notice how your body feels at the end of class, and how much better it is than when you started out your day. As you move out of our resting pose to end class, the instructor closes with some kind and encouraging words that you know will help you glide through the rest of your day in a better state of mind. And secretly you are relieved there was no OM'ing or chanting (that would be embarrassing next to Karl). For next week, she says, we will work on shoulders and stretching out the neck. You think back to hunching at your desk that morning…next week’s class sounds great. You already can’t wait and plan to sign up for it as soon as you get back to your desk!