When I teach yoga, I tell my students, pay attention to the sensations in the body. Sensations are good, pain is not. Move in a way that makes sense for you. You should know your body better than anyone else but sometimes we miss the signs.
This idea that the body is present 100% of the time, is not applicable to just yoga practitioners. This morning, I woke up to a sore throat. I caught a cold. Last night, I noticed that I was a bit congested. I thought it was related to the wine I was enjoying. My body was sending me signals. I noticed and chalked it up to tannins in the wine, a known allergen to many. Think about this for a moment, when you stub your toe, ouch! When you are hungry, you feel hunger pangs. In these examples, your body is present. These sensations are commonly noticed but what about the more subtle ones? Dry, brittle hair, hair loss, tension headaches, night teeth grinding. Why is this happening to your body? I promise you, there is an underlying issue. This is likely the sympathetic system or “fight or flight” in us that is activated when we are under pressure or undue stress.
Pressure is different for everyone. What causes me stress may be quite different for another. Certainly we adapt and through experience we learn different coping mechanisms, yoga and meditation is one that works for me. Sometimes it is more than that. Sometimes there is a systemic issue that needs addressing. It is my responsibility to take care of me but if the workplace culture is such that absenteeism and health issues are on the rise, this needs looking at. This is more than employees taking mental health days. How do your employees behave at work? Have you noticed?
Let’s bring the body is present 100% of the time to the workplace. Let’s suggest the body in this case, is the working environment and that sensation is good as it relates to your workplace culture. Sensation would look like healthy conversations, diverse opinions, safe place to open and share. A collaborative environment where no idea is a bad idea. Sounds like a great place to work. On the opposite end of the scale, we have pain in the body or workplace; betrayal, lack of trust, fear-based tactics, top down approach, oppressive workplace. These behaviours or pain points will manifest itself in different ways, presenteeism (at work but not productive), inability to counter opinions, feeling unheard, unacknowledged and unappreciated. The latter will be disruptive to your workplace. You will see an increase in medical costs. You will see an increase in absenteeism. You will see a loss in talent. If any of these symptoms are on the rise, it is time to pay attention. The body is present 100% of the time.
Michelle Precourt is a Career Coach, Recruitment Expert and Registered Yoga Teacher based in Ottawa, Canada. In addition to providing first-rate career coaching, she draws from her yoga expertise, instructing clients in calming techniques for better interview performance and workplace success. When Michelle is not working, you will find her practicing yoga at a local studio or hiking in nature with her husband. Learn more about Michelle and her work at https://michelleprecourt.com/