I love yoga. I love how I walk into the studio and how everything is just quiet and peaceful. My teacher says it's the room's aura, I think it's just good architecture.
The brick walls are painted white, there is dark wooden flooring and the high ceilings with the huge industrial windows make you feel like you were outdoors. There is no distraction, just me and my pink yoga mat.
So during the lesson, while doing all kinds of postures, no one is talking, we're not supposed to look what the others are doing and we are sitting down in child's pose if becomes too straining.
For me there's just one problem:
Life does not work like that. And life as a designer definitely doesn't work like that.
picture by Werner Moser via creative commons license
First there is the part about being quiet.
Obviously there are times where you should just listen to what the client expects or you quietly focus on a concept. However, there are all these times when you have to speak up for your opinion and for what is best for the design and therefore for the client. And you will have to speak up to be able to work on the project in the first place.
Then there is the “not looking at the others”.
A designer who only focusses on their own work will get into trouble at some point by accidentally copying someone, by designing something way out of fashion or by not listening to his client's briefing properly. We need others to discuss ideas, to work as a team on bigger projects and to survive the week before a pitch presentation ordering pizza together and patting each other on the back.
But what I struggle with the most is that in yoga you are told not to be too ambitious and to stop whenever something hurts or doesn't feel right.
Nevertheless, right after my lesson I will have an appointment with my client scheduled who will tell me that he doesn't like the colour / shape / price of a something I designed. I've been told that a design looked like shit – yes, in these words. And yes, I would have loved to sit down in child's pose and cry onto my yoga mat. But fortunately I didn't, I made it to the elevator.
lyn tally via creative commons license
So maybe yoga is the wrong sport for me? Does it make me too weak for my job?
Maybe. But maybe it's just having that 2 hours a week where I'm only focussing on my breathing that let me get out there again?
While we are doing the different asanas my mind is completely focussed on just doing this. I forget all deadlines, all eMails not sent and clients not called.
When I get tired or something just doesn't feel right I stop and wait for it to get better. There's a pose that always hurts my knee? I will do something else instead.
I just don't feel like sitting up for the meditation? I'll rather lay down then.
picture by Augusto Mia Bataglia via creative commons license
I get to only listen to myself, and to hear my inner voice I have to shut up and not look at what the others are doing.
There's nothing wrong with the concept of yoga, there is something wrong with my life choices every now and then.
Even if it makes me a sissy, there is no way I will stop doing yoga.
The studio is my little island of sanity.
Check out my favourite Yoga Studio that I described above, if you are ever in Hamburg:
How to get there:
Take the U1, 5 or 4 Bus and then walk for about 5 min
15€ for one hour but there are cheaper packages if you are planning to go more often
Write a comment
Say Cheesy Cake (Monday, 12 January 2015 23:25)
I'm glad you are happy with your found place of peace. I have my moments when I want to do the child's position as you say, and just rush to the bathroom! I hope to one day find my own place of peace.
Thanks for sharing Sarah.
Jo of http://saycheesycake.blogspot.nl
claudia (Friday, 30 January 2015 09:50)
I think it's the best thing to keep doing yoga. Even when it's totally different than what you are used to, eventually when you accept yoga it will give you the most beautiful things in life. Especially because it's so different than our normal lives. I love it, hopefully I can start doing Ashtanga yoga again after my pregnancy. Can't wait!
Good luck to you!
Sarah (Saturday, 31 January 2015 09:15)
thanks, Claudia! And good luck to you too, hope you'll get back to doing doing yoga once the baby is there :)
Matt (Thursday, 12 February 2015 11:04)
Simply the title got my attention, and it was a good read.
The point “not looking at the others” is quite interesting.
Certainly, as a designer you live from inspiration around you.
As a Entrepreneur it can be even better, not to look at others. Gary Vaynerchuk has some great comments on this at this Ask Gary Vee Show:
Keep up the awesome work, Sarah!
Sarah (Sunday, 15 February 2015 16:41)
Natasha (Wednesday, 06 May 2015 13:37)
Interesting article! I really enjoyed your perspective.
Personally, I've never really thought about how my yoga practice may effect my behavior within my job, for me it's always been a separate release and relaxation at the end of the day!
Sarah (Thursday, 07 May 2015 08:02)
Hi Natasha, thanks for your comment!
I'm still not sure if it has an influence on my "real" life or if it should be seen separately but I'll try to keep my eyes open for changes :)
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Jessy (Friday, 13 November 2015 08:21)
as a webdesigner and yogateacher I feel your struggle. Yoga and it`s philosophy helped me to stay calm and focused when someone's not liking my creative stuff and to let things go that do not serve me both in my job(s) and personal life. I think it's better to bring yoga into "real life" than to take ones job-problems onto the yogamat and being reflective doesn't make u a sissy :-D
ahşap merdiven (Monday, 23 May 2016 15:34)
Obviously there are times where you should just listen to what the client expects or you quietly focus on a concept.