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… take your pick – 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, creativity, we need some space in our awareness. In 2019, our awareness – 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 also need the wisdom and practices from 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 (from Yoga’s Shaivism, also known as Tantra) are three such texts. They offer time-tested wisdom for cultivating awareness and for skillful action in a challenging world.

 

In 2019, there are secular versions of these time-tested meditation practices (from diverse traditions) that help us access the wisdom of our body and a deeper dimension of ourselves – our spacious awareness. (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.)

 

When everything around us seems to be spinning out of control, we can remain centered and at ease, by breathing into our spacious heart center. And we can take spontaneous right action from the hara, the belly – the center of pure being.

Dropping into the heart or the hara helps us dis-identify with our conditioned thinking and access our deepest wisdom.

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 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 on the power of meditation to affect lasting, beneficial change.

 

In my opinion, meditation is the core, most potent practice for supporting the wellbeing and flourishing of employees. My intention is to make meditation and meditative practices the focal point of these corporate wellbeing programs.

Developing a Customized Program

Corporate cultures vary widely. What’s considered “skillful action” in one company might be verboten in another. And in meditation, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

 

Meditation and yoga 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 people 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.

 

My primary role is to develop the most effective program possible in the most cost-effective, time-efficient way. I may curate rather than re-create foundational practices – identify and use the best ones.

 

As needed, we bring in experts – neuroscientists or Teachers who have an area of expertise that is helpful. My personal, global network of experts offers a deep well of resources.

Overcoming The Challenges: Time Scarcity and Adoption

Corporate professionals today typically suffer from a very real time scarcity and work/life balance issues. I know from my own experience, what works for a busy New Yorker and what teaching approaches can lead to feelings of overwhelm. The practices we explore offer maximum flexibility and are respectful of people’s time.

 

In general, we get better results when we feel invited to practice and when it represents pleasure rather than unpleasantness or just another item on an already too long “to do list.”

 

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.

 

What’s true is that when we practice, even just a little, on a daily basis, we experience the benefits. When that happens, we find ourselves meditating a little longer – because it feels good. Our practice deepens and expands organically.

 

To accommodate our busy lives we need practices of different durations. We also need different types of practices to meet wide-ranging needs.

We sometimes need practices that help us calm and ground ourselves, or mitigate suffering. At other times, we benefit from practices that help us connect to a deep well of contentment at our core and “follow our bliss.”

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

 

To support adoption of practices, communications are key. I have deep expertise developing global internal and external communications programs to achieve diverse objectives. I love working with a smart, global team to create a program that meets the needs of employees and that is fresh, new and industry-leading.

The Opportunity

In 2019, it’s time to widen the conversation beyond mindfulness to create the most potent meditation and yoga-based wellness programs that best meet the needs of time-challenged professionals.

 

Global companies have an incredible opportunity to create global “sanghams” or practice communities, that will support the wellbeing and flourishing of their people and that will 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 wellbeing programs.

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

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 as part of well-being, transition management or 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 busy lives, work/life balance challenges, and time constraints.

 

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 and ease 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 senior executives the opportunity to focus on both strategic planning and  practice – meditation, mindfulness and yoga – throughout the day. Focusing on both 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: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain and Body, Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson note distinct benefits of retreats. They found that the more time spent on retreat, the stronger the connectivity between the meditators’ prefrontal area and amygdala, and the less reactive they were. Also, “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, is easy to access from Boston and the ideal place for retreats and off-sites.  This beautiful and historic grand resort hotel is also very 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 being part of the swim team and coaching the swim team, and of the beauty of summer in this idyllic spot.

 

There are gifts of spending time on retreat at The Wentworth in all four seasons – in the fall, when the foliage is at its peak; in the winter, when a blanket of snow provides quietude; in spring, when the leaves, blossoms and life returns; 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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