4 lessons you can learn from yoga to propel you to career success


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Meet Wellness Collective, our new, immersive curriculum with Athleta that hooks you up with actionable advice from the smartest experts and brand founders in wellness right now. Get the goods at our monthly event series in New York City, plus our online one-month wellness plans. Here, Yoga Foster founder Nicole Cardoza shares the ways yoga benefits career success.

Have you ever been flowing through a yoga class and suddenly gotten hit with a burst of creativity or finally figured out what you want to say in that conversation you’ve been putting off? Well, what if you could apply that same mid-flow inspiration to your career?

While we don’t suggest breaking into wheel pose in the middle of your office (unless your job is down with that kind of thing), you can tap into those asana-inspired vibes to fuel your workplace success.

Nicole Cardoza, founder of Yoga Foster—a mindful movement program that teaches educators how to use yoga to empower their students—uses this principle in her training programs, and she’s sharing how you can apply it to your own career goals.

“Yoga is a practice that goes much deeper than getting a seat in the boardroom,” Cardoza says. “It’s a complex, intimate, spiritual practice that can offer transformation for not just ourselves, but how we engage with the world around us. I think that it can help us feel more rooted in who we are and help us feel more grounded, which helps us show up more authentically wherever we are.”

Keep reading for her intel on the way yoga benefits career success—broken down into a four-week process.

Finally sticking the pose you’ve been working on is a total boon to your confidence, but all the hours you spend on the mat leading up to that moment are where you really reap the benefits of your yoga practice.

In the same way, if you have your sights set on a particular position or overall dream job, Cardoza cautions not to get so focused on your end goal that you become too rigid or mentally skip over what comes in the middle.

“Alignment is a practice, not a destination,” Cardoza says. “Work towards aligning your job with your career goals, but allow yourself the flexibility to try new things, or prioritize a decent salary over fulfillment if you have to.”

yoga benefits

During a yoga class, you don’t automatically jump right into the most complicated poses—you spend lots of time warming up and synchronizing your breathing to your movements in order to make the asanas easier to flow into.

Apply that practice to your career by trying to slow down your workday, rather than charging through it from a reactionary stance. Setting yourself up to act rather than react will help you find more peace in your days that will ultimately make you more productive and successful.

“See where you can introduce ease into your work,” Cardoza says. “Add time in your schedule to take deep breaths, reflect on the day, and prepare for a presentation or meeting. It’s a practice that’s worth extending out of yoga into everyday life.”

Cardoza founded Yoga Foster because she was frustrated that the school where she volunteered didn’t have the resources to fund yoga programming when there were pricey boutique studios down the street.

“I created Yoga Foster to redistribute resources between wellness communities and classrooms to create sustainable ways for all of us to practice,” she says. That compassionate focus on others helped propel her career path while also giving back to her community.

“Always pay attention to who’s not in the room,” Cardoza says. “Barriers of entry are very similar in a yoga class and in the office room. Allow this practice of union to carry off the mat and encourage you to seek inclusivity in every space.”

There’s a reason yoga instructors always invite you to explore the different sensations your body is experiencing that day—because yoga is a practice of self-inquiry, Cardoza says.

Applying that same introspective practice to your career can help you find more fulfilling success when you make the time to sincerely listen to your own thoughts and feelings about your current situation.

“As your career grows, keep an honest dialogue with yourself about how you feel in your role, and in the physical space of your office,” Cardoza says. “Do you feel safe and supported? Challenged or threatened? Acknowledging these feelings as they arise may help you create more healthy boundaries between yourself and the work.”

Sponsored by Athleta

Top photo: Nicole Cardoza

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