by Del Belcher
I began practicing yoga a few years ago after realizing that lifting heavy things was doing more harm than good. I needed something I could do at home, that worked with my schedule and was fun. Yoga fit the bill, plus I could burn fat, build strength, and stretch out in one session. As I spent more time with my yoga practice, I realized that yoga was more than just exercise. For me, yoga became a path toward mindfulness and a more healthy inner self – the movements I did on my yoga mat helped me become a better human being off the mat.
Yoga does in fact have some incredible health and fitness benefits; however, its primary nature has been hitting me lately way beyond the yoga mat. As my yoga practice has shifted from “something I do” to “something I live,” I’ve found that these lessons from the yoga mat apply directly to what I do at my desk.
Old + New
Yoga is really old. While being ancient, yoga is still relevant and its essentials have basically stayed the same: Creation and transformation through movement and breath. As a new yogi, simple moves seemed scary, but as I became more proficient in the essentials, advanced poses became less-and-less challenging.
There’s always some new method or tool popping up in the marketing world. Yoga has taught me that no matter what platform is next, there are marketing essentials that will always stay the same – it’s by remembering these essentials that I will always be ready for the next new thing.
It’s OK to Play
Perfecting a yoga pose is something totally worth striving for, but sometimes in striving for perfection, I miss the point. Then an instructor will say something like, “why don’t you play in the space or try this modification.” These playful adjustments provide an opportunity to discover new things about a pose.
In marketing, there are elements of style or branding guidelines that I need to follow. But I’ve found that a playful tweak here and there provides a lot of space for discovery. Taking a photo from a different angle or wording a post differently than normal can be adjustment enough to open up a whole new creative outlook.
Take a Break
Savasana, also lovingly called Deadman’s or Corpse Pose, is taken at the very end of a yoga practice. Basically, it’s just lying on your back on the ground. That’s it. During my first yoga practice I thought, “How on earth is this a yoga pose? I’m not doing any work!” In all actuality, Savasana is as important to yoga as Downward Facing Dog. Savasana allows my body time to absorb what just happened and to experience the practice more fully.
New initiatives, video deadlines, end of year publications – community college marketing is a lot of hard work. In all of the hustle, yoga has taught me to just stop what I’m doing and look at my efforts. By doing so, I’m able to absorb and experience all of the cool things I’ve worked on and ask myself, “How did it make me feel? How did it impact others?” It’s hard for me to think about these things when I’m going a million mph. Is there value from a constant high volume workload? Sure. But there is also value in savoring a job well done.
Being > Doing
One of my most powerful yoga revelations was realizing that the purpose of yoga isn’t just to do yoga. The purpose is to become a better, more whole human being. I might be able to do a sweet headstand, but if I haven’t learned to center my mind – even for a moment – what’s the point?
While post likes are nice, likes aren’t the real reason why I do what I do at Jackson College. My purpose as a community college marketer is to provide information on life-changing opportunity to people in my community. The most viral video in the world means nothing, if it doesn’t benefit the community. Doing marketing is one thing. Being a marketer is another, and being the best marketer is about transforming the lives of those in our community.
Del Belcher is the social media specialist at Jackson College in Jackson, Michigan.