Nowadays, in the midst of dealing with a series of unfortunate events happening around the world, there’s a good chance that you’re also dealing with job stress and anxiety. In fact, according to a 2013 survey conducted by Harris Interactive, eight in 10 Americans are stressed about their jobs. So now what? Well, there are several studies confirming that yoga can help reduce stress, particularly in women.
To gain some insight into how yoga can reduce your job stress levels while helping your career, Black Enterprise caught up with Christina M. Rice, a yoga instructor and Founder of LuxeLife Media Inc., a full-service communications and entertainment marketing firm.
BE: Tell us why you started practicing yoga:
Rice: I needed balance, especially with the demands of being an entrepreneur; something that would challenge me mentally as well as physically. I have tried several different exercise routines over the years—
running, kickboxing, spinning—and I never stuck with them. When I started taking yoga two years ago, I realized I would NEED to go to class. It was challenging physically, but the way it has stretched me in so many areas mentally is why I really fell in love with the practice.
As a yoga instructor, can you share a few ways yoga can help your career?
- Yoga teaches you the discipline of centering yourself in the midst of chaos. One element we teach in the practice is to focus on your breath in the midst of discomfort. Applying that discipline at any point of your day allows you to breathe through an uncomfortable moment, to slow your heart rate down, slow your thoughts down, and then go into “thoughtful” action.
- Yoga can be an outlet when job stress is depleting your energy. It truly allows you to release the stress and tension that we all carry through our days. I always tell my students, whatever you’re going through, bring it to the mat and leave it on the mat.
- Yoga allows you to work from the inside out, which ultimately gives you a clearer focus to handle any obstacles you’re facing.
- Yoga forces you to sit with yourself and, in those moments, confront and work through whatever it is that is afflicting you. Too often, we “busy” ourselves out of facing a challenge, but yoga brings out so many emotions that you have no choice but to be present and fight through. Imagine being able to do that with everything in your life.
- Yoga is physically challenging and intimidating to many people. However, not giving up, showing up each day to do your best, and ultimately succeeding in landing that difficult pose or learning how to do something you couldn’t be before is such a rewarding feeling! You didn’t give up! So, use that feeling of victory and apply it to your business, your career, and your relationships. You’ll be a stronger, better, and more productive person for it.