The benefits of yoga OFF THE MAT – part 1 – posture, confidence and being in the present

The numerous health benefits of yoga are well documented and generally known. In this two part series I would like to talk about the benefits of yoga OFF THE MAT as I experience it.  This blog will show the portable benefits, transferable skills of yoga to the business world in and in the next post we will focus on the support the yoga community.

I have been practicing yoga regularly since 1989 and have been teaching for four years so I speak from the trenches.

I recently changed the jobs and the process of applying for positions and attending interviews was made easier by my yoga practice. Though I am not a recruiter I would like to share my thoughts on how to prepare for a job interview.

Apart from standing tall (in Tadasana which is our basic standing pose) include asanas which open the chest (to increase confidence), think of the Warrier 1, 2 and 3 poses (virabhadrasana 1,2 and 3 in Sanskrit). Move the shoulder blades in and down to open chest and to lift your sternum. Have energy in your arms and fingers, keep your chest facing the front. Work your legs and feet without gripping the mat with your toes! Legs they are the foundation of the Worrier poses!

Worrier 2 (Virabhadrasana 2)

Warrier 2 (Virabhadrasana 2)

Just watch the “All blacks” at the beginning of a game! The posture, slightly bent knees, chest open. The chanting is getting the team ready for action, focusing their mind for the task ahead! The eye-rolling and poking the tongue out sends out a strong warning to the opponent “we mean business”. We use these latter moves in yoga too, to exercise eyes which strained by looking at a computer screen for too long and in the lion pose we extend our tongue to “clear” it – however I do not recommend it as interview technique!

It is also important to be in the right frame of mind, so regulating the breath (maybe slowing it down whilst waiting for the interviewer, inhale for the count of 4, exhale for count of 4 or 6 if more experienced). During the interview be alert, be in the present by sitting tall, keeping your face relaxed, throat soft, chin parallel to the floor and look the interviewer(s) in the eye. State and quantify your achievements and be aware of and accept your weaknesses.

Yoga teaches us to be strong and flexible on the mat, have perseverance and to know when to have a rest.  All these skills are transferable to the business world!

Dress for the interview in comfortable and appropriate clothes (just as you do for yoga). Arrive a few minutes earlier, just as you come to class on time, ready to start.

Once you know the outcome of the interview be gracious in accepting  “No thanks”. Try to learn from the experience.

After the interview (or any other time) relax in some restorative pose (legs up the wall or lay down and support your calves on a chair). Whichever pose you choose make sure you are warm and stay there for a minimum of  5 minutes, the longer the better. You will be refreshed and ready to start a new day or have better sleep at night.  These restorative poses are also beneficial in the evening, before going to bed – especially if you had a stressful day!