A Yogic Mindset

by: Sydney Fullerton, Project Manager

On paper, there’s not much that puts yoga and me in the same room. Yoga originated in ancient India and has a Sanskrit vocabulary. I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, have never set foot in Asia, and my native language is English. But I’m grateful that the practice worked its way west, because I can confidently attribute a large portion of my personal and professional success to the lessons yoga taught me.

Balance is essential.
The word “yoga” in Sanskrit means union. Union of body and mind, of strength and flexibility. Yoga asks you to activate your awareness while keeping a calm heart and steady breath through a variety of poses. You quickly learn that balance is the key. As in yoga, so in professional life. In Project Management I am constantly holding what seems like a thousand spinning plates, trying to keep them upright and unbroken. In order to attain balance, I delegate appropriate tasks, create redundant systems and foster successful relationships with my colleagues. This way, even if I take my eye off of one spinning plate, I know that I’ve proactively created a balance of the workflow, that the plates are still spinning, and that we’re still going to make deadline.

Slow down.
In yoga, slowing down is crucial to properly training your muscles and your awareness. It brings attention to smaller details, whether they be in your body and the way it moves, or your mind and the way it reacts. As a Project Manager, making sure people have the time to dig in to a project saves time and money in the long run by allowing them to focus on the details and get it right the first time. I am always trying to make sure that we are creating efficient systems and making the most of a client’s spend. When we go too fast and we waste time doubling back on tasks, it hurts everyone.

Breathing can change everything.
Did you know that changing the cadence of your breath to different patterns sends different messages to your body and brain? Yeah, I didn’t either until I started practicing. Fast-paced shallow breath encourages anxiety and frustration while slow even breathing inspires relaxation and meditative thought. There is no workplace where everything will be peachy keen all the time. Someone is bound to rub you the wrong way or say something that makes your head want to explode or spin around exorcist-style. This is where breathing comes in extra handy. It’s so simple, but it can make many stressful situations more manageable.

These lessons take practice. I work on them every day, and in no way have I mastered them, but they positively contribute to how I see the world and react to it. They might help you too. Namaste.