Improving Performance for the Year Ahead - On AND Off the Mat

In the wake of 2020, an unprecedented year, may still leave you wondering what actions you can take to best support yourself in 2021, and how you can try to continue adapting to the ongoing challenges and changes.


Yoga is a great practice to help feel stable in uncertain times - both on and off the mat. However, the true power of “yoga off the mat” doesn’t lie in a peaceful walk amongst the trees, but in life’s tests and challenges. Yoga asks the questions: “How can you navigate this situation with mindfulness and intention?” “Where can you be a source of light in the darkness?”


When you take your practice off the mat and into your life, you will begin to realize that yoga extends to all corners of your world. But how can you use the principles of yoga to improve performance in your business, community, and personal life? Let’s break it down.




Business

Your professional world most likely looked a bit different this past year. Maybe you moved your office to your living room, or decided to take your business to an online space. Whatever the case, you’re probably now familiar with the concept of adapting your business in the time of COVID-19. Check out our tips and tricks to efficiently adapt your business to the virtual world and beyond.


1. Ask for help!


While it is empowering to learn new business skills, it is nearly impossible to master everything. Instead of struggling through website design, or if you're not 'technically inclined', reach out to an experienced techie friend / colleague to lend a hand through the process.


2. Focus on agility and stability.


In business terms, agility is the ability to quickly adapt (both internally and externally) to market performance changes. Stability is the aptitude to withstand a temporary or unexpected problem. By focusing on financial and structural stability while simultaneously being able to change with the times, your business should be in good hands as we move into the upcoming year.


3. Acknowledge resistance.


In his book, The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield talks about resistance as an invisible enemy within, responsible for the fear and procrastination we feel when doing our work. As fear can play a big role in keeping us from growing, is it crucial to recognize when resistance creeps in, and to overcome it by simply pushing through.


4. Celebrate the small wins.


Make sure to check in with yourself once in a while and congratulate yourself on the simple wins! The scope of our strange new world can feel daunting at times, so do your best to keep a positive outlook. Try this: at the end of each week, write down three wins that you achieved - anything from responding to emails to closing a new client.





Community

Yoga is a Sanskrit word derived from the root yuj, meaning “to yoke” or “to join.” To put it simply, Yoga means “union.” Although our in-person communities have been compromised this year, the concept of union may be more important than ever. AS COVID forced us into isolation and turned yoga studios into online yoga classes, many of us have felt starved of human connection. Here are a few suggestions to strengthen community ties while social distancing:


1. Take the studio to your living room.


Reach out to your local studio to see which yoga teachers have brought their classes online. Sticking to a weekly routine with familiar faces can bring you a sense of community and normalcy without needing to leave your home.


2. Seek a mentor, or a group of like-minded individuals.


Connect with those who share a passion, belief, or hobby with you! Mentorship is an incredible way to expand skills and knowledge in an area you wish to grow in, and doubles as a method of accountability in your practice. Stay tuned for our upcoming monthly yoga membership for teachers, that offers support and on-going professional development.


3. Reach out to friends for a socially distanced walk.


Getting fresh air not only can clear your head, but is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. Call a friend to meet you at a nearby park, or take a stroll around the block to get your blood pumping and engage in conversation.




Personal

If you take one point away from this read, remember that it begins with you. If you’re not taking care of yourself, your social and professional worlds will feel it! Take this as a sign to put yourself at the top of your priority list today. Not sure where to begin? Try a few of our favorite self care practices.


1. Carve out time for yourself.


Self care is not selfish. Taking time to connect with yourself is the first step in establishing effective mental health practices. Introduce or continue to develop a meditation practice to your routine, and then journal the thoughts that come up while you sit. Writing down your inner most thoughts can help make light of what triggers certain emotions felt throughout the day. When you learn to be a witness to your emotions, you become able to explore where the negative feelings of fear and doubt root from.


2. Practice gratitude.


As simple as it sounds, living in a state of gratitude can raise your energy and almost immediately turn a bad day around. Practicing gratitude first thing in the morning can set your day up for success - no matter what events occur. Take a few moments each morning to jot down 3 - 5 things you feel grateful for. When you begin your day in a positive mindset, you will unknowingly attract more positivity.


3. Move your body!


Regardless of how busy we are, you can always allot just ten minutes a day to movement. Ideally speaking, it is best to take short movement or stretching breaks throughout the day (especially if you sit in front of a computer for long periods of time). Daily movement not only gives the mind a break to connect with the body, but also helps keep you healthy. Visit our recent article for a closer look at how movement supports the immune system.


Although 2020 was anything but expected, you have the power to mindfully start this new year on a high note. By intentionally adapting and aiming to embrace the changes from a place of growth, you won’t just survive, but thrive in all areas of your life.


(Heads Up! In a couple of months we will be releasing an exciting and revolutionary new online initiative that helps address some of the points in our blog. If you're keen to know more, send us an email and we will be sure to send you the details as they unfold!) 🙏🏽 support@yogasportscience.com 😀


Hayley Winter is the founder of the Institute of Yoga Sports Science® (YSS) and one of the early pioneers of online yoga education, teaching yoga online for over a decade. Learn more and enjoy:



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