Career Yoga: 5 steps to strengthen your foundation, follow your dream [job]

Career Yoga is an approach to career change that blends the ancient principles of yoga with current career development. It breaks the process of career change down to five areas: Balance, Support, Strength, Flexibility and Alignment.

Yoga has been an important part of my life for over 25 years. The philosophy remains with me whether I’m on the mat or not. I became a certified yoga teacher as the first step to becoming a career coach and dream advocate. I knew the practice of yoga was a great training ground for guiding people toward more peace, health and happiness at work. Since then I’ve taught basic yoga in corporate settings and a yoga class I coined “No Sweat” yoga when I lived in Taos, New Mexico.

For me yoga is always a journey back to myself. Insights from yoga teachers I’ve had always make their way into career development programs I’ve created. This blog series is an exploration of Career Yoga, helpful for anyone considering a career change – yoga knowledge or experience is optional!

Here are the five principles and related questions that are the foundation of Career Yoga. Subsequent blogs will go more deeply into each area. As you review the following, think about which of the five concepts may help you most as it relates to your professional life, whether you’re considering a career change, find yourself on the wrong end of corporate downsizing or  ready to jump into greater responsibility at your current job.

Balance: In yoga, finding your balance physically translates to the ability to relax into a sense of freedom in your mind. In Career Yoga finding your balance is attained by looking clearly at your mindset and behaviors so you can meet this same sense of freedom by asking these questions:

  • How can I become more financially free?
  • How can I become more physically free?
  • How can I become more emotionally free?

Support: Finding and following a calling requires you to nurture honest, meaningful relationships and using those relationships as a foundation for change. It’s difficult to have work you love without a boss, peers and clients with whom you enjoy working. Likewise, it is challenging to enjoy work if your personal relationships are fractured.  When we explore this in a subsequent blog, I will ask you to answer these questions:

  • How can I create healthier relationships with people who challenge me?
  • How can I create healthier relationships with people who support me?
  • How can I build a more developed network?

Strength: Most of us spend a majority of our time contemplating our weaknesses instead of our strengths when developing our careers. The more effective path is to explore and hone aspects that are part of our professional DNA such as:

  • What are my natural talents?
  • What am I curious about?
  • What moves me to tears?

Flexibility: In yoga, having a long and consistent practice will help you develop flexibility, which prevents injury. In Career Yoga, opening your mind to new opportunities and learning new things is foundational to creating a satisfying new career chapter. Here are the main questions to ask yourself regarding flexibility:

  • Am I holding on to things I need to let go of?
  • Am I open to new options and learning new skills?
  • Am I willing to stretch out of my comfort zone to create new connections, ideas and solutions?

Alignment: In Career Yoga, we help you align the head and the heart so you can make the best choices for your future. Ideally, all that practice and strengthening lead you to work that is both emotionally and financially sustainable.  In the process, we ask you to define your soul work. Soul Work is the best use of your passions and practice. Here are the questions we’ll explore regarding alignment:

  • What is my soul work?
  • What is my bridge to soul work?
  • What am I willing to give up to get to my soul work?

I look forward to this conversation and want to hear from you! Exploring these concepts together in the coming weeks will help you move from just a job to having your dream job. I hope you’ll take part by commenting and asking questions.

Now it’s your turn! To get started, please post which of the five concepts, above, and answer one or all of these questions:

  • Which principle is the one you find most challenging?
  • What impact has this had on your career?
  • Name one principle that you’re looking forward to exploring, one that you feel energized by.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Laurel Donnellan

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