Personal Endeavours: What Yoga Has Taught Me
It’s our long held belief that having time and headspace outside of work to pursue personal interests and other creative endeavours helps to fuel creativity during the 9-5.
It helps to bring fresh ideas, find focus and gain perspective. It also makes for happier people.
After spending her spare time – and Summer Hours – becoming a qualified yoga instructor, we spoke to Account Director Hayley about her passion for yoga; how it influences her role, and day to day interactions with clients and the team.
Yoga gives me an excuse to take a step back; set the to-do list aside and take a deep breath.Hayley Yates, Account Director
Everyone has their ‘thing’
It’s nice to work somewhere where everyone’s got their ‘thing’. Whether it’s smashing out ultra marathons (Mike), making 80s-inspired synth music (Sam) or drawing beautiful illustrations inspired by nature (Hannah), everyone at Fiasco has a thing that they love outside of work.
For me, that’s yoga.
Finding my passion
I’ve been practising yoga on and off for about 10 years. First picking it up at a free class at university and then finding my way back to it at several important junctures in my life. Initially, I was drawn to it as a form of exercise that wasn’t hyper-focused on calorie counting or getting a PB.
But over time it’s become so much more than that. Like a lot of people, I get caught up in the day-to-day. Yoga gives me an excuse to take a step back; set the to-do list aside and take a deep breath.
Last summer, I decided to sign myself up for a yoga teacher training qualification at Orange Yoga. As a means to deepen my own understanding of its origins, culture and history. But also to understand why it continues to make me feel grounded and balanced.
Yoga has taught me balance. Both in the literal sense, and because it presents a radical opposition to the perpetual busyness of day-to-day life.Hayley Yates
The great teacher
The reason I keep going back to yoga is that I’ve found it to be a great teacher.
The word yoga means connection or union. Connection to others, but also to myself: my body and my mind. And a more profound respect for the fact that you can’t look after one without the other.
Yoga has taught me balance. Both in the literal sense, and because it presents a radical opposition to the perpetual busyness of day-to-day life. Having (and giving) permission to just be still may feel counterintuitive to some. But others need that moment of stillness.
I remember a conversation I had with Tom (our Senior Digital Creative) where we were speaking about the most fulfilling way to approach life. He suggested that it wasn’t in the pursuit of happiness but in the pursuit of knowledge. What we can learn from the situations life throws at us. It really stuck with me and it is definitely true of yoga. The best teachers will always be students.
Rather than contorting myself into positions, I learned to listen to the words and the cues; I tuned into the muscles that should and shouldn’t be working, and found a point of effort – past ease, but before pain.
The most important lesson from my teaching so far has been that the people who stand to benefit the most are the least likely to be found at a shiny, expensive yoga studio. As someone who cares deeply about inclusion, it strikes me that yoga has the potential to help everyone, but that it seems to have fallen by the wayside into the wellness trap (for more on that, I’d recommend Nadia Gilani’s The Yoga Manifesto).
Taking it off the mat
The practice of yoga has impacted my approach to work significantly. I don’t just mean the stretches I do by the coffee machine! I’m a huge proponent of work-life balance. I believe that everyone can do their best work within their allocated working hours (maybe even less…see our Summer Hours initiative).
Yoga has instilled and continues to reiterate the importance of timekeeping. Respecting other people’s time and managing expectations can feel like a small thing, but it makes a big difference. In the same way that people can’t always afford to run 20 minutes over in a client presentation, you can’t overrun a yoga class because someone thought it would be fun to try handstands! It’s hard to find time to fit everything into a day, so the least I can do is stick to the time people have committed to.
After two years of Zoom calls from my bedroom, I came back to the studio feeling a little apprehensive at the prospect of having meetings in real life again. In a client-facing role, interpersonal communication is really at the core of what I do, so I put a few things in place to help me get back in the swing of things. Yoga was one of them. It’s really helped to restore my confidence. It helps me to read the room and respond appropriately, tuning in to the people around me.
Practising yoga helps me to read the room and respond appropriately. It teaches me how to really tune in to the people around me.Hayley Yates, Account Director
In the immediate future, you’ll find me teaching the lovely Gather Round members at Workout Ashton every other week at lunchtime.
Longer term, I want to establish a collective of yoga teachers to set up affordable and super-accessible yoga classes around the city. My aim is to contribute positively to the sharing and teaching of yoga as a practice for everybody.
We’re always happy to chat about how and where we find creative inspiration. If you have any further thoughts, let us know via Twitter.
Words By Hayley Yates
Do you have a project in mind?
Let us know more. We’d love to have a chat to see how we could help.