Eryka MacKenzie, Associate Director of Project Management
Across the U.S., yoga’s popularity has risen like wildfire to the point is it is now seen as part of our pop culture. This has helped create the perception that yoga requires a lithe, flexible body; spandex clothing; and the best mat one can afford. Personally, I disagree with this perception. I lead office yoga sessions at True Health New Mexico because I was taught in my yoga teacher training, and still believe with my whole being, that yoga doesn’t require any of these. I believe yoga requires nothing more than an open heart and an open mind.
It has been said in more yoga articles than I can count that yoga means “union.” This is true. Simply stated, union of the heart and soul with the divine, which lives inside all of us and makes us all part of the whole. Because of this, I choose to offer yoga at the office as a gift to myself and my fellow employees. These yoga sessions are a small gift we each give ourselves. It’s a gift of time to remember who we are at our core. A time to step away from the noise we all experience, whether it be from our jobs, our personal lives, or our own voice inside that can distract us from who we are.
See if you can imagine the following: A conference room with lots of natural light and views of the Sandia mountains. A group a people in business-casual clothing standing or sitting in folding chairs in a circle with their shoes off, with soft spa-like music in the background. The participants are of all ages and sizes. The session begins with a guided breath, with each person allowing the breath to expand at each’s own pace. For the next 20 minutes, they move through a series of simple stretches or poses that open the heart, shoulders, back, and legs. All poses can be done without having to sit on the floor. Often there are simple balancing poses standing next to the window ledge or using a chair for support, allowing the focused gaze to be on the mountains. Alternatives are provided for anyone with limited range of movement. The session is brought full circle by returning to the breath and offering gratitude.
And now imagine how different your workplace could be if you and your coworkers were offered this on a regular basis.
Yoga doesn’t have to be complicated to provide benefits. It doesn’t have to be done in a studio or with expectations of performance or results. From my humble perspective, all it should do is provide a time where the practitioner offers a gift to herself. A gift of a rhythmic breath, a quiet mind, and union to her true self. And everyone, no matter what age, skill, body type, or other imposed category has the ability to slow down and breathe.
Because of this, yes, yoga is for everyone.