By Poornima Vijayashanker
Last year when I was living on the East Coast, I drove to DC to attend Racheal Cook’s Yogipreneur Urban Retreat. On the drive, I enjoyed all the beautiful fall colors of the trees and leaves. It was absolutely magnificent to see, and I now completely understand why people love the seasons there so much – but this Cali gal is still not looking forward to winter!
You might be wondering what goes on at a Yogipreneur Urban Retreat. Well, naturally, we talk shop, just within the context of being yogis! While the retreat was mainly for yoga professionals such as teachers and studio owners, I was curious and wanted to attend.
One of the speakers, Francesca Cervero, talked about how the majority of her 25 private clients are men who are in finance. They aren’t particularly thrilled at the thought of doing yoga, but they have been referred to her by a concerned spouse or friend. Francesca takes the time to find common ground with her clients individually, and one thing they often care about is improving their golf games! Francesca fortunately has the ability to translate this goal into yoga postures that will benefit her client.
She also has the ability to intuit someone’s emotional state before putting them into a posture. While the client may be physically capable of performing the posture, yoga postures have a funny way of bringing out the best and worst of people’s current emotional state. Managing these emotional responses can be a challenge for a yoga instructor such as Francesca.
As she stated this, one of the attendees asked Francesca the question, “How do you do this day in and day out?” Francesca’s response was that she has a deep reserve of personal care. She makes it a point to have a strong daily practice, and to nurture herself. Only when she does is she then able to help her clients effectively.
Her response got me thinking of my response to those who often ask me, “How are you able to do so much in a day?” And that’s when I realized that just like Francesca, I too have built a reserve of resiliency. My RoR comes from my daily yoga practice, but more than that I make it a point to rest and relax daily. I also do the following:
Make it a point to sleep 7-8 hours so that I’m alert and refreshed. Caffeine is not a kind substitute.
Eat healthily; usually it’s green smoothies, oatmeal, and tea for me. But I do indulge occasionally – I cannot live without meat, wine, beer, cheese, and chocolate!
Taking time outs. There are of course moments when I get anxious or stressed (usually after a round of rejections) and that’s when I either hit the yoga mat, go for a walk or run, or just breathe!
Detaching from drama. I do my best to support and help friends and family through tough moments they are going through, however, I also make it a point to not let their negative moments or thoughts bring me down. This is easier when I’ve done the first three things on this list!
When I’m consistent with these four things, I’m able to focus, get things done, and most importantly, I can minimize the negative self-talk that can suck up more than few moments a day. I’m also more compassionate and kind towards others, because I’ve taken the time to care for myself first.
Prior to this personal care regimen, I used to push through the tough moments with sheer willpower, but I failed miserably! Two years ago I was sleep deprived, stressed, and rushing around so much that I actually got hit by a van in London. Fortunately, I walked away with minor bruising in my left calf, but it could have been worse! While I was waiting in the ER, I realized that I needed to be present, and to do that being calm became a priority over always making progress.
It isn’t easy to build up a reserve of resiliency. It requires discipline. There are times I have to say no to social engagements, and head to bed at 9pm on a Friday or Saturday night! But I can only perform at a certain level if I’ve taken the time to care for myself.
Of course, I understand that some people may want a coach or some more personalized guidance to get them over an initial hump. Over the past year, a number of people have reached out to me, seeking mentorship on a number of topics such as startup guidance, and career development and coaching.