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Business lessons from a yoga mat

By Collette Hetherton

One of my personal goals for 2014 is to become certified to teach yoga. I have been relishing the challenge and generally feel exhilarated and energised at the end of monthly weekend intensives.

I like seeing my practice improve bit by bit and am now able to get into handstand, which is something I was never able to do as a kid.

This last weekend though was a major battle. I was tired and preoccupied and simply didn’t want to do it.

I dragged myself through the first day and struggled with even the simplest postures. Nothing seemed to flow and there was certainly no grace about my practice.  Come Sunday morning I was even less inclined to go and now had muscle soreness and the memory of the day before to add to the mix.

As I was grumbling to my partner about ‘having’ to go through another day. It suddenly hit me. I don’t HAVE to go! No one is forcing me to go, except myself, and I am completely free to choose whether I pull on my stretchy pants and step on the matt or stay home.


So as I contemplated all the things I would do instead, I came back to a place where I remembered that I am actually choosing to do this.

I’m choosing to go to yoga so I can be healthy and balanced. I’m choosing to go because I want to lead by example and show my daughter that looking after your own health and wellbeing is important. I want her to make good choices and part of that is being shown what they look like.

As simple as this realisation was, it gave me space. I could stand back and step out of the feeling of drudgery I had been sucked into. This space enabled me to actually show up (literally and figuratively). 

Sunday practice was much more enjoyable and I reached some significant personal yoga goals which had completely evaded me the day before.

Sure, but what’s this got to do with business?

Sometimes we become so immersed in trying to solve business problems it all becomes a chore. Am I recruiting the right staff? Is this the right investment decision? Am I targeting the best customer base? Should I pick Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or all three??……… And so it goes.

Things stop flowing. And suddenly everything we do seems to take twice as long and becomes saturated with problems.

Taking the pressure of “having to do something” away, makes whatever you are doing so much easier. Just giving yourself permission to stop thinking about your tasks for an hour might be enough to get that flow back. Sometimes you might need to take a couple of days break entirely.

Of course you may feel that you can’t afford to step back or take a short break, particularly if you are a solopreneur. But if things are a struggle at the moment, the greater question should be, can you afford NOT to step back and take a breath.

Bad and costly decisions are made when you aren't on your game. And are pushing because you feel you have to, can push you in the wrong direction entirely. 

Are things flowing for you at the moment – or is it time to stop and take a breath?