Deb is a business owner, helping leaders with complex business challenges and she is also a published author. She started coming to yoga back in March of 2014. She has been practicing 2 days a week for the last year and half and since starting yoga, has began a meditation practice that she incorporates into her schedule all 7 days of the week.
HOW HAS YOGA HELPED YOUR WORK LIFE?
Now 60, she’s always felt like a “spinning top.” She told me about how she used to go to parties with her husband and he would say that she couldn’t just focus on one thing; she was always asking questions and trying to talk to everyone.
Yoga has helped her to feel physically and mentally calmer. Mentally, she has more energy. The combination of breathing and postures has helped her to focus more and tune out the noise around her. When she’s listening to a meditation or yoga instructions, she feels much more in the moment. She’s able to sit and just listen.
She said, “When I leave class, I feel both energized and calm at the same time.” She has more energy than she’s had in a long time and is sleeping better than she has in a long time as well. Yoga is great for her lifestyle because she is always looking for ways to minimize physical stress and boost her immune system.
HOW HAS YOGA HELPED IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?
Deb has an autoimmune disease and it is important that her white blood cell count stays high. Since starting yoga, the white blood cell count went up and she attributes this to yoga, as that was the only change during that time.
She told me that she likes the process of coming to class and she works her schedule around the class schedule. Making it a priority is key!
I asked her what changed in her life since starting yoga and meditation and while she had great things to say, she didn’t immediately know the answer to that one…until a few days later she came back with a story. She realized how much her perceptions have changed when she was driving in a car with friends. As others in the car became frustrated with other drivers (much like she had done in the past), she did not have the same reactions as anyone else in the car. As her friend tried to merge onto an expressway and another car was driving slowly, she felt no need to judge the other driver and instead felt compassion. She knew there must be a reason the other driving wasn’t quite at the speed limit and she looked over to see the woman (in the other car) clenching the steering wheel and looking terrified, probably not used to the aggressive driving on that expressway. Yoga helps us to remember to have compassion for others and see ourselves in them.
WHY DID YOU START PRACTICING YOGA?
A friend who she really respects had recommended it to her…Deb had tried it before and thought that it was boring and too slow and she was a bit intimidated to try it again. When she was younger, she used to go to more competitive classes, but never really liked them. She used to watch the clock to see when they would be over, but now she watches the clock for the opposite reason to see how much more time she has left to enjoy and she is always sad when it is over.
She said, “I love that I have learned to trust my own body and that is not competitive. It’s not just about working out; I like the mind-body connection.”
Also, since starting the practice, she feels more limber and feels like her flexibility has increased.
When she first came to yoga, she was surprised about the savasana (final relaxation time) and thought it seemed odd. She didn’t understand it at first. Now, she knows that change in music that signals we are coming close to the end and she looks forward to the savasana. She said “The concept at the end of being still is such a gift.”
One of my favorite moments with Deb was when she had only been coming to class for a few months and came up to me at the end of class one day. She had a brilliant business idea come to her during the final relaxation that day. Since that day, she has taken action on the idea and made it a reality.
Take some inspiration from a great leader and give yourself the gift of a few minutes to be still each day.