We spoke to social entrepreneur, public relations extraordinaire and yoga instructor Mercedes Grant about how daily yoga can help small business owners.
On any given day, I can be found cycling between my shared abode, my “office” (Gene Café, where the best coffee, and employees, can be found, in Vancouver), the by-donation studio where I share my yoga practice every Wednesday and Friday (Karma Teachers) and the ocean…with a fair amount of mischief in between.
Working for my self allows luxuries that the ol’ 9-5’ers aren’t privy to. But it isn’t all fun and games or lattes and ocean dips. Case in point: I’m currently sitting in bed, writing this blog, at 11:00pm.
Being an entrepreneur has its inherent freedoms, yes, but there are definitely challenges, including but not limited to: sleep deprivation, crazy schedules, financial worries, bad coffee, no Wi-Fi, the all too familiar inability to “shut-off” from work tasks leading ultimately, to burn-out.
Anyone who has worked for themselves at some point will agree to all of the above symptoms of self-employment.
So how do we find a way to stay sane, efficient and employable?
My answer is YOGA.
How yoga can help
Yoga has been scientifically proven to effectively reduce stress. It does this by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (the one responsible for mellowing you out), which leads to better sleep, improved focus, more meaningful connections, less stress and anxiety and overall, a healthier existence.
There are definitely other practices you can employ and habits you can adopt, but yoga has it all; breathing, meditation and postures. A well-rounded practice, and one that yields the most effective results, includes all three techniques.
How it helped me
At the end of last year, after working a ludicrous amount of hours over a number of months, I became overwhelmed by stress. This is when I reunited myself with yoga.
I’ve been practicing yoga on and off for just over a decade now, always coming back to it when life gets a little mad. When I burnt out last year I knew I had to change my behaviors and my focus. This inspired me to join Karma Teachers 200 hour yoga teacher training
Now I’m not saying you need to take these extreme measures. Regular practice in a class, at a comfortable studio, your home space, outside, anywhere really, will deliver the same results.
Practicing yoga, whether in class or sharing it with others, continues to positively impact my life and my work, in all sorts of magical ways.
My sleep schedule has returned to something resembling normality, my anxiety has lessened, my relationships with others have improved, a smile has returned to my face and the people around me are taking an interest in yoga too. It’s an “escalator effect” (a term lovingly coined by the goddess, Kim Anami) of positive results.
Need more evidence? Join any one of the FREE-and-BY-DONATION yoga classes happening seven days a week at Karma Teachers in Vancouver’s DTES.