The human mind is a noisy place. If the volume cranks up into uncomfortable decibels or the noise is coming from too many sources it’s easy to go from feeling fine to overwhelmed to stuck to shutting down. Mindfulness is, in essence, the practice of quieting that noise and filling it with simple awareness. Doing this provides a calm, neutral space to account for everything swirling around you and find a grounded center from which to get through it. It’s a practice that invites more gratitude, compassion, and peace into your life.
This is a busy season for our restaurants – extra demands will be made of you not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. What practices or strategies do you have in place to take care of yourself? If you need some or you’re looking to broaden your repertoire, check out these tips for bringing mindfulness into your day-to-day from Vestalia’s Marketing Director (and resident yoga teacher) Rachael Crew.
Two Techniques to Introduce the Mindfulness of Yoga Into Your Work Life
by Rachael Crew, Marketing Director at Vestalia Hospitality, 6/12/19
When I first started practicing yoga, it was purely for physical exercise, and over time my relationship with it has evolved. As I learn and grow, I continue to find myself surprised and delighted at how often my practice leaps off the mat and lands in my daily life. Here are two yoga takeaways I find myself using often.
Tune In and Notice
The first several minutes of a yoga class is called integration, it’s the time when students acknowledge what they showed up with and set aside external factors that don’t serve them as they move into a more mindful headspace. For me, that looks like noticing the physical space – the sounds, smells and air in the room and how my physical body is feeling that day. Then, I tune in to my mental and emotional state by taking note of how I feel and what thoughts are vying for my attention. Just noticing what’s present without assigning value and making the decision to set it aside is an important and powerful exercise.
In the workplace, the idea of tuning in and noticing can look different from day to day. Somedays it might mean taking a pause to observe your team’s energy so you can meet them where they’re at. Or maybe you pause to notice external factors and how they’re affecting the workspace. Is there something you as a leader can stop and take note of in order to create a more positive environment for the team?
Yoga, at its core, is a breath exercise. The breath is one of our body’s most powerful tools, yet it’s easily taken for granted since it happens unconsciously. What happens when you breathe on purpose, rather than letting your body take over? A mindful breath is used during yoga to hold and deepen postures, to carry one through a stressful challenge and to recover and feel grounded on the other side of challenge.
Breath can be used similarly in the workspace. Feeling the stress of a busy night? Trying to move past a challenging encounter? Maybe you’re just feeling flustered and need to reground and reset? Step into the cooler and try this simple 1-minute breath exercise:
1. Take a deep breath in through your nose for 4 counts
2. Hold your breath for 4 counts
3. Slowly exhale through your mouth for 6 counts
4. Repeat 3 times
Practicing focused, mindful breathing can help you navigate through the twists and turns that get thrown at you – whether it’s conflict with a colleague, a persnickety guest, or a day where you’re just feeling a little off. I personally use this exercise when I’m feeling anxious – in fact, I go through a round or two of this 4-4-6 breathing before each and every yoga class I teach to temper my nerves. It creates a space for me to pause, reset and mindfully decide how I’m going to show up.
To wrap it all up, here’s yet another nugget of yoga wisdom: Try it on! You need not be a yogi to use these practices in your life so be open and give them a try. Maybe they resonate with you, maybe not. Take what serves you and leave the rest. Namaste.