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Yoga Stretches into Enterprise!

Our Innovation & Enterprise Director, Ann Davidson, celebrates her fourth anniversary at SIE in January! She talks below about her experience of using yoga to develop entrepreneurial skills and introduces Judi Farrell, Owner of Merchant City Yoga.

My fourth SIE anniversary coincides with the time I began to practice Yoga on a serious basis. As our Innovation and Enterprise Programme expanded rapidly, yoga has helped boost flagging energy levels and keep me healthy which is as far as the connection between work and yoga has been – until now!

Back in January 2012, the Dean of Babson College was already making comparisons with yoga and the practice of entrepreneurship. He used the analogy of yoga practitioners finding their pain point in a posture, pulling back until that pain became a feeling of discomfort that they could sustain in the posture. By holding this discomfort they progressed into the more advanced postures. His advice to entrepreneurs was to do the same; discomfort would lead to progress and advancement in their entrepreneurial journey. When delivering workshops as part of the Innovation and Enterprise programme, I have conveyed this message by giving yoga analogies to illustrate ‘playing to your edge’; developing muscle memory when developing skills as an innovative thinker.

As a means of deepening my own practice, I commenced Yoga Teacher Training in September 2014 and since then I have been making more connections with Yoga and Entrepreneurship. What if we were to mirror the physical and mental aspects of yoga in our mind to open up to fresh ways of seeing the world and new opportunities? If we pull back our shoulders and raise our heads are we more likely to see things and invite people to engage with us. If we drop our heads and hunch our shoulders then we miss things and does this not apply to the application of minds as well?

To learn about more, read onto the article below written by Judi Farrell, yoga practitioner, entrepreneur and owner of Merchant City Yoga.

We know running our own business can involve a lot of long days and sleepless nights. In fact it can be all consuming. There’re never enough hours in the day! But what if there was something you could do that would support you and help you be more effective in your business? What if you could reduce your stress levels and be just as successful and productive?

You might be surprised to hear I’m talking about yoga!

Evan Williams (co-founder of Twitter), Jeff Weiner (CEO LinkedIn), Russell Simmons (co-founder of Def Jam Records) and even Oprah Winfrey and Steve Jobs have all credited yoga with making them better at what they do.

Yoga has many benefits including building strength and flexibility, improving muscle tone and definition and improving circulation. It boosts energy levels, stamina and the immune system. It can help with back pain and stiffness, tummy troubles and can even help with losing weight. It helps us sleep better, relax more, stress less and feel happier. It helps us focus, gives us perspective and creates space in our minds to let creative thoughts bubble up to the surface.

Yoga Article

Success in business is all about the choices we make. When we slow down, move the body and breath we turn down the volume of the noise in our minds. In turn this helps us think more clearly, make better decisions and deal more skillfully with challenges as they come up.

We learn a lot about ourselves when trying to do yoga. What happens when we can’t reach where we think we should? What happens when we come across something that feels like it will always be impossible? Yoga teaches us that persistence pays off – the more diligent you are in your practice, the more accomplished you’ll become. No short cuts, no “hacks”, just each valuable step along the way. And regular yoga practice will help you see that you’re capable of much more than you think!

Everybody can do yoga, even you! If you can’t touch your toes, don’t despair. Getting started is easy. Find a class that fits with your schedule and a teacher you like, that way you’re more likely to keep going. Consistency’s the key – just keep turning up and yoga will do the rest.

It’s easy to believe we don’t have the time to do yoga because we’re so busy with our businesses and our lives. I guarantee you’ll feel fitter, calmer, more inspired, happier – just all round better – after yoga. Imagine taking all that good stuff and feeding it back into your business.

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