Updated: Jul 19
The Big Q's
Why did you choose a yellow umbrella for your brand?
Yellow is a color I associate with sunshine, safety, and joy. An umbrella, for me, is an icon of protection or a tool for creating personal #safety from rain or shine. Simple as it may sound, I think any industry could benefit from more of these things. I'm on a #mission to share tools for making the workplace a happier, safer place to be (both physically and virtually) by empowering employees with tools for self-care and consulting organizations on ways to craft a more intentional and supportive brand and culture.
Why did you start doing yoga?
My career story is a familiar one among #millennialmarketers, entailing an awkward launch from college to the job market. I found yoga in my own pursuit of wellness and the ever-elusive work-life balance. In my 5:30 p.m. post-workday race to relaxation at my local yoga studio, I discovered that there was much more than "fitness" rolled into the average yoga class. Specifically, I enjoyed yoga instructors' invitations for self-compassion more than the, "No pain, no gain!" approach shouted by personal trainers at the gym.
Why did you keep doing yoga?
There was still plenty of opportunity for sweat in a "power" class when that's what I really needed, but I injured myself less often and was more excited to go back. Getting to a regular yoga class in my early career development years helped me manage the stresses of my daily job through physical exercise, and taught me to slow down and self-regulate so I could appear–and feel–more poised in meetings. It also helped me mature as a person by giving me permission to #practice #compassion for myself and, by extension, my coworkers.
Who else can benefit from yoga, and what's holding them back?
I have received feedback as I have shared learnings with colleagues through the years, which leads me to believe that there are many more people–and organizations–who can benefit from yoga principles and practices. They might be more accessible if a few common hurdles can be lowered. Some of these barriers might include #stigmas and #misconceptions about the origins of yoga and what it might mean in Westernized culture, or simply the time commitments required to access an average studio class based on #scheduling and average minimum class lengths of 60-75 min. A lot of people seem to think yoga isn't for them because it's "weird" in some way, requires a lot of time or money, or there's an expectation to sit still or be flexible. These things don't have to be true.
Why target corporate audiences?
I think Corporate America and our 24-7, "right-now" culture has been showing signs of hunger for these tools for years, more like starvation. Most recently, the "Great Resignation" has been an eye-opening example of employees advocating for their unmet needs, and holding corporations accountable for supportive changes. It seems clear the next generations will have higher expectations still. I see an opportunity for yoga to be helpful to both groups–employees, and employers–in creating more supportive, balanced, and sustainable workplaces in the future, across industries.
What does "corporate yoga" mean, really?
My approach to #corporateyoga is to demystify it and make it accessible and approachable for employees and the organizations who employ them. That means remote and on-demand access, dynamic platform capabilities, shareable content, movement demonstrations from mostly seated or standing positions, wearing workplace-accepted attire, and using predominantly English terms and descriptions, paired with explanations for the intended benefits to bodily systems.
I like to demystify the principles of yoga by debunking common myths and addressing misconceptions to help beginners overcome misgivings and curate their favorite tools for work-life balance and self-care. I also occasionally overview what new practitioners might expect in a local yoga studio or other common formats it takes, to support further curiosity and exploration within communities.
What do the characters following your name mean?
The "RYT-200" indicates that I am a Registered Yoga Teacher who has undergone a 200-hour accredited training curriculum to understand basic yoga principles, origins, and applications paired with a foundational overview of human anatomy and physiology. I am registered with The Yoga Alliance, one of the largest governing bodies–if you will–within the yoga industry. It requires participating members to provide proof of training certification through a recognized educator, maintain a current log of teaching experience, and meet minimum requirements for continued education to retain "active" status. The "TIYT-II" indicates an additional specialty I acquired through my continued education, for becoming a Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher, level 2.
Why specify "Trauma-Informed"?
My most recent (TIYT-II) continuing education involved two 25-hour training courses with an emphasis on the neurological connections between the bodily nervous systems. We looked at ways of recognizing trauma-indicative behaviors in public populations and offering tools for managing them through applied yoga techniques. For example, recognizing what a panic attack looks like, understanding the neurological processes going on behind it, and offering ways for individuals to explore self-soothing techniques and even proactively learn to avoid a future event.
Expanding my understanding and definition of "trauma" helped the Yellow Umbrella Yoga mission to take a clear shape. When we consider that trauma is defined as anything that is too much, too fast, too soon, or anything overwhelming (too much, or too little) sustained for too long, we can then give ourselves and our colleagues permission to acknowledge and manage the many reasons that burnout runs so rampant across industries. I assessed that seeking "work-life balance" is really about recognizing, managing, and healing from the traumas that people experience in their lives, and in the workplace, every day.
Where to go from here? How to support the mission?
First and foremost, practice #selfcare and self-compassion to help normalize them in a professional setting. No matter where you are in the world, or what your role is, that's good work. You can follow Yellow Umbrella Yoga on LinkedIn and YouTube and join me for one of my class offerings, or find one that works for you from the mounting resources available.
Last but not least, seek and support #mindful business practices–individually, and within your teams and organizations. Simple practices like setting personal boundaries around time management or scheduling needs for meals and personal breaks can set helpful examples for peers and leadership. When opportunities arise, contribute suggestions for defining workplace policies around a supportive and human-centric culture.