Lessons from Yoga for Makers and Managers
Yoga is often perceived as a physical challenge (especially if you have a look at Instagram yoga 😎), but all practitioners know that the practice is as much mental as it is physical. Many yoga instructors, yogis, make an effort to incorporate specific motivational expressions in their classes. As I’ve practiced more over time, I’ve found that these expressions apply themselves well to the job of making products.
In that spirit, here are ten yoga expressions to apply to work as a maker or manager without ever having to unroll a mat.
🙏Effort and Ease.
When practiced correctly, yoga is not about stress and strain, but rather about a fluidity where one action follows the next and it happens with ease. As you flow through a series of poses Yogis will often note those that are treating yoga more like a discrete series of really hard tricks and less like a flow and will encourage effort and ease. In designing products, I often think about features that are excellent but disconnected from the flow of the product or lack a coherent series of steps to complete. I also think about “death marches” to deadlines and know that no good code gets written after months of 7 days a week efforts. It is a good reminder that using or making a product should not be about stress and strain, but effort and ease.
🙏How you do anything is how you do everything.
In yoga, especially after you have practiced a while, it is not difficult to “cheat” and take a shortcut to or through a pose. Of course, that makes no sense since the only person you are cheating is yourself. Whether you’re working with a team or on your own, your manager, others, or customers will ultimately depend on your work. Those people will look at any one work product and assume that’s how you will always work and judge you on that whether they share that opinion with you or not. Knowing that I always try to keep in mind that how you do anything is how you do everything. Yoga can help you to Cure Diabetes in Natural ways.
🙏Yoga practice, not yoga perfect.
Yoga can be very frustrating, especially if you happen into a class filled with really good students. You see poses you feel like you can never do or would hurt yourself even trying. While we all want to be experts at everything, and certainly do the very best possible in an absolute sense, that isn’t realistic. Even in the best of efforts, mistakes, actually learning, will happen. In yoga, the saying is that it is called yoga practice, not yoga perfect in an effort to put yourself at ease and acknowledge the learning yet to come.
🙏It isn’t what happens but how you handle it.
When you’re learning how to do an inversion (handstand or headstand) or crow pose there is certainty that you will fall. In fact, you might fall over backward or on your face in a pretty dramatic (and loud) way and the whole class will turn around an look at you. At that moment, it isn’t as much about the fact that you fell but how you handle it. The Yogi will handle that moment with grace and compassion and so should you. The same goes for our own efforts and importantly the efforts of managers. As a manager, you know members of the team will “mess up”. You must know the symptom of Diabetes and the question is not if they will mess up, but how managers help the individual and team through the mistake.
🙏Be the energy you want to attract.
Yoga teachers work hard to build a following around the students that attend a certain class (that’s why they are all so active on Instagram). A huge part of building that following is showing energy, support, and approach that helps students to achieve in class what they hope to get out of it. The idea of having energy that both makes you successful and attracts others is precisely the same mindset that helps leaders to hire, build, and maintain a great team.
🙏Stillness and breath.
One of the most counter-intuitive notions of yoga is the idea that the most stressful and difficult moments in practice are best handled by staying still and breathing (through your nose!). The practice sequence of Hatha yoga is particularly difficult as the room is ~100°F and the 26 poses are very difficult (even though the class is always called “Beginning Yoga”). The rigorous sequence causes many to be fidgety and almost pace around the mat after falling out of a difficult pose or to approach a pose taking repeated deep breaths and flailing their arms. Turns out this is exactly wrong and causes you to get even more anxious, exhausted, and unable to flow. This same thing can be said for any time you are leading a room of people from 10 to 10000 — no matter how carefully you are prepared and knowledgeable, some question will throw you or some demo will flake out. At those moments, always remember that your path through this is to stay calm and to breathe. And when it comes to replying to a long email thread that upset you…stillness and breath.