Meditation and Yoga at Work

Living with Presence and Ease in the Age of Distraction

Clarity. Insights. Creativity.

Resilience. Well-being. Flourishing.

Integrity. Wholeness. Trust.

Meditation and Yoga at Work

Living with Presence and Ease in the Age of Distraction

We are living in the age of distraction, anxiety, volatility, information overload, and constant, disruptive change.

 

When I speak with globe-trotting executives, they often say things like, “I have no space mentally.” And yet for mastery in any field, to be able to access deep insights, the best ideas, a wider perspective, and creativity, we need some space in our awareness. In the age of distraction, a spacious awareness is arguably our most precious asset.

The master’s mind is like space.
—Tao Te Ching

In such volatile, fast-paced, distracted times, we need mindfulness, for sure.
We can also benefit from the wisdom and practices of traditions that address the needs of “warriors,” rulers, and busy “householders” as opposed to the needs of ascetics.

 

The Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Vijnana Bhairava are three such texts. They offer wisdom for cultivating awareness in the midst of a busy life in the world.

 

When we study these ancient traditions, we learn that dropping into the heart center or connecting with the hara, the belly center, helps us dis-identify with our conditioned thinking and access both our spacious awareness and our deepest wisdom.

 

When everything around us seems to be spinning out of control, we can remain centered by breathing into the spaciousness of the heart center. When we develop a connection with the hara, the center of pure being, we’re more inclined to take “spontaneous right action” with ease.

 

Today, secular versions of these ancient practices have become mainstream. The Heart Math Institute and Les Fehmi’s The Open Focus Brain are just two of many sources offering modern takes on these ancient practices.

Alice provided me with an expert and caring orientation to meditation as well as the resources to establish and nourish my daily practice. I have found that everything clarifies and more deeply reveals itself in meditation.
– Dave, Retired Bank President

The Case for Meditation as the Core of Corporate Wellbeing

The reviews of corporate mindfulness programs are mixed but the best research available proves that meditation has the power to change both our states and our neural circuitry.

 

Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain and Body by Daniel Goleman and Dr. Richard Davidson, Founder of The Center for Healthy Minds, includes some of the latest research available.

 

Meditation, with its proven ability to positively impact both our mental-emotional “state” and longer-term, our neural circuitry and behavior, is arguably the core, most potent practice to support the well-being and flourishing of employees.

 

Developing a Customized Program

Corporate cultures vary widely. What’s considered “skillful action” in one company might be verboten in another. Well-being programs for the workplace must be developed with a deep understanding of your unique culture and the needs of the individuals in your workplace.

 

We start with a needs analysis—conversations with your Human Resources department, and employee surveys to understand your greatest areas of need. We can also conduct focus groups and interview key managers to gain clarity on the objectives of your program.

 

The programs we co-create are a direct response to the stated needs of your people and the realities of your unique corporate culture.

 

Overcoming The Challenges: Time Scarcity and Adoption

Corporate professionals today typically suffer from very real time scarcity and work-life balance issues. I know from my own experience, what works for a busy New Yorker—maximum flexibility, and what teaching approaches can lead to feelings of overwhelm—expectations that are unrealistic.

 

When expectations for practice are too high or inflexible, people lose motivation to practice or they sacrifice sleep to do the practices which is not a good trade-off.

 

In general, we get better results when we feel invited to practice, when it represents pleasure rather than just another item on an already too long “to do” list, and when we have the freedom to decide how long we will practice every day.

 

There’s a lot to be said for micro meditation and awareness practices and to seeing every moment of the day as an opportunity for practice.

 

The 5-3-1 Practice from Richard Davidson and The Center for Healthy Minds is just one example of an approach designed to help busy people cultivate more positive mental states and traits. It prescribes five minutes of meditation, listing three things you’re grateful for, and one act of kindness per day.

 

To accommodate our wide-ranging mental states and needs, we need different types of practices. Sometimes we need practices that help us calm and ground ourselves, or that help us digest the feelings (sadness, anger, irritation) relating to an experience. At other times, we benefit from practices that help us connect to the deep well of contentment and creativity at our core.

 

When circumstances prevent us from following through on our best intentions, we’re more likely to come back to practice when we’re gentle with ourselves rather than self-critical.

 

To support adoption of practices, communications are key. I have deep expertise developing global internal and external communications programs to achieve diverse objectives including adoption.

 

The Opportunity

If powerful men and women could remain centered in the Tao, all things would be in harmony.
—Tao Te Ching

Global companies have an incredible opportunity to create global sanghams, practice communities, that support the well-being and flourishing of their people, and that potentially have a positive impact on the world.

 

I’m interested in working with both small companies and larger, global companies that are nimble, entrepreneurial, and leaders in their industries. Such companies have what it takes to be the first movers and co-creators of potent, industry-leading well-being programs.

Getting Started

 

Often, when getting started, the best approach is to just dive in!

 

I am available to offer these and other programs in your workplace on short notice, as part of well-being, transition management, and other initiatives.

Meditation and Mindfulness in the Age of Volatility: Essentials for Corporate Professionals Presentation

Today, athletes, artists, CEOs and others are crediting meditation for their ability to perform at high levels. Benefits include increased mental clarity, improved ability to focus, access to deeper insights, and reduced stress.

 

In this experiential session we invite relaxation with a few simple yoga poses, explore easeful ways to enter meditation, and learn ways to cultivate mindfulness throughout the day. The evenness of mind you gain from these practices will help you tackle whatever life presents with greater presence and ease.

 

Contact Alice to schedule an introductory group session on the essentials of meditation and mindfulness.

Meditation for Corporate Professionals

Cultivating Mental Clarity, Spaciousness and Skillful Action

 

Meditation is Yoga’s deepest, most transformative practice. In this 3-week class, learn easeful ways to enter meditation. This class is specifically designed for corporate professionals who have time constraints and work-life balance issues.

 

In this class, we explore the three main centers in the body to access the clarity of the mind, the spaciousness of the heart, and the spontaneous right action of the belly center.

 

In each class we will:

  • Stretch, release tension and invite relaxation into the body with a few yoga poses you can do anywhere (no mats needed)

 

  • Explore wisdom and tips that makes meditation easier, like softening the body and relaxing the ego

 

  • Cover the basics—posture, breath, and working with the mind

 

  • Soften and open into meditation with mantra and the breath

 

  • Explore the three main centers in the body to access the clarity of the mind, the spaciousness of the heart center, and the spontaneous right action of the “hara,” the belly center.

 

  • Depending on the group’s needs, we can also explore skillful ways to work with suffering and difficult emotions; techniques for tapping insights and enhancing creativity, and micro meditation and mindfulness practices that can be done anytime, anywhere.

 

  • Answer questions. Address common obstacles. Shed light on experiences. Provide encouragement that helps people stay committed to practice.

 

To schedule this class for your group, send me an email: Contact Alice

Retreats and Off-Site Meetings

Senior management retreats and off-site meetings are ideal settings for deepening our meditation, mindfulness and yoga practice.

 

In retreats, we focus exclusively on practice. In management off-sites, we offer the opportunity to focus on both strategic planning and  practice (meditation, mindfulness and yoga) throughout the day. Focusing on both strategic planning and yoga helps us learn how to integrate practice into our work day. And the spaciousness we gain from quieting the mind and relaxing the body enhances our mental clarity and leads to better decision-making.

In Altered Traits, Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson note that the more time spent on retreat, the stronger the connectivity between the meditators’ prefrontal area and amygdala, and the less reactive they were.

Goleman and Davidson also point out: “A meditator’s hours of retreat practice most strongly correlated with slower breathing, much more than daily practice.”

 

Wentworth by the Sea, located in Newcastle, New Hampshire, an hour north of Boston, is the ideal place for retreats and off-sites.  This beautiful and historic resort hotel is also close to my heart. During the summers of my childhood and adolescence, my family belonged to the club at The Wentworth, as it’s called by locals.  I have many happy memories of the beauty of summer in this idyllic spot.

 

There are gifts of spending time on retreat at The Wentworth in all four seasons: when the fall foliage is at its peak; when a blanket of snow creates stillness; when life returns in the spring; and in the beauty of summer—when even on hot days, you feel the cool breeze from the harbor.

Musings on Meditation and Yoga At Work

Yoga offers potent wisdom and practices for calming ourselves. You don't even need to be a meditator or a yoga practitioner to experience the benefits of these simple practices.

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