Tag Archives: Yoga at work

What are you selling?

I have a bad habit of teaching Yoga to my coworkers at whatever job I get. Even though I resolute not to impose my “values” on to others, it always starts the same way. I get through my probationary period, identify times and and spaces where I can take short “yoga breaks,” then I start bringing a few props to work and practice. And then the whole thing goes to pot–someone asks me if I know of  “stretch” that will help their back, ankle, arm, etc.

I teach them a stretch. They get better. They tell others, then there is a line outside my cubicle. Adios lunches! Then everyone decides a “time” when I can teach them. First there are a few students, then half dozen, then most of the staff. No matter what job I get, some version of this phenomenon is inevitable. I even had one job where I taught the clients during a group therapy session. Like a good yoga teacher, I don’t turn anyone away, and try to grow the practice.

There are real challenges to teaching yoga to your coworkers. Boundaries are the first category. Your role changes from supervisee to instructor. It can be quite awkward telling the person who hired you that she is stiff because of stress and needs to stop sitting so many hours without a break. And don’t get me started on how to modify for women who are wearing a dress. I almost never do “hands on” corrections to coworkers unless I know them very well and still try to rely heavily on verbal cues and demonstration.

So to teach correctly, I started bringing more props for everyone to use. So in addition to my laptop, my files in a backpack, I also lug a stack of blankets and a bag of belts up the elevator to work. I must be a spectacle. The other day in the hallway I heard the maintenance woman ask me in her thick Filipino accent “What are you selling mister?” When one has 6 colorful Mexican blankets slung over one’s shoulder, one is just begging to have this question asked to them. So I gave the best answer I could muster at the moment: “I’m selling bliss ma’am, I’m selling bliss.”