One of the many cool things that we do here at Corgibytes is yoga classes three times a week. The word “yoga” conjures up images of fit ladies on their mats in a classroom, and the teacher in the front doing crazy poses. You probably don’t imagine a group of people, each one sitting at his own desk, on different continents, connected online with the teacher and doing the crazy poses in their chairs. Well, that’s how our yoga classes are, and as unusual as this might sound, it is amazing. I love yoga classes!
Connecting with Your Breath
Before starting the class, Gabi (our teacher) asks if we have any particular needs, if something is hurting, or if we want to work on a particular body part. We start with breathing exercises. I had never before in my entire life enjoyed that much the simple act of breathing. After the exercises, I always end up, as our teacher says, “yoga drunk.” Try it. Stop reading. Take a deep, relaxing breath, and realize how good it feels!
These breathing exercises are actually a form of meditation, and, in the class, I finally learned to meditate. I always thought meditation was emptying your mind and not thinking about anything. No wonder I always ended up frustrated and thinking that I wasn’t made for meditating. I learned that meditation is not like that. Having our minds in a blank state is not something most people can do. What we do is try to focus our minds on a single, simple thing. Breathing is the perfect choice, although not the only one. With this new understanding, I felt a little bit closer to meditation. But, even though I now had something to occupy my mind, I would wander off from time to time (and by that, I mean every two seconds). Our teacher taught us that it’s the same for most people! And it doesn’t mean I can’t meditate. In fact, it’s the process of realizing that you wandered off and gently taking your mind back to the breathing that makes it meditation. While we breathe, Gabi keeps reminding us softly to go back to focusing on the breathing and not fight the thoughts that come to our mind but, instead, kindly let them go.
Strengthening a Suffering Body
After the breathing, we do stretching and strengthening exercises that focus on our particular needs for that day. Most exercises are performed while seated in the chair and some standing in front of the closest wall. No special clothes required, no equipment needed. When you spend eight hours a day seated in front of the computer, your body suffers and complains. Yoga gives it a little love.
Going Against the Grain
In a society where stress is a status symbol, stopping in the middle of the workday to give ourselves time to slow down and relax doesn’t sound like something a company would be asking you to do. But, as we know here at Corgibytes, a relaxed mind works better than a frantic one. And this pause really helps me feel and perform better.
Not only is the pause provided by the class useful to make the day better, I also apply what I learn outside the class. Like when I’m fighting myself because I can’t focus on work, which could go on and on for hours, and work would almost never win. Now, I stop, breathe and gently bring my mind back to the task at hand. Sometimes, it’s still hard to focus, but it’s a process, and, through practice, I’m getting better at it every day.
I am embodying one of our core values. I am calming the chaos.