I haven’t exactly fallen into a routine yet but for the past week or so, I’ve found myself taking noon yoga classes. Because I typically write in the afternoon, much of what I end up writing about during the week is what bubbles up during class. Today I walked into class with a thought already percolating. Perhaps the thought was there because today many of my former co-workers are traveling for an internal conference – the first since I’ve left. Maybe the thought was there because it’s something that had been heavy on my mind before retiring, and I didn’t want to get too far from the job before writing about it. No matter the reason, it was there when I walked into class…and still there when I left so it wins as the topic of the day.
For years I’ve been able to pick up on other people’s energy. For example if someone is anxious, I can feel it. I’ll get a feeling similar to when you’ve over-caffienated yourself. You know, that jittery, buzzing feeling…and I’ll be able to pinpoint who the person is based on my proximity to them. You might think this sounds like a cool super power…it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for (1) finally figuring out why some days it feels like I’m all over the mood board and (2) learning how to identify what I’m feeling vs what I just picked up from someone else. (Big shout out to my shamans for helping me with both!) So as you can imagine, walking into a closed space like a yoga room…conference room…office…only amplifies the intensity of the energies in the room.
As we started our yoga practice today, I stretched back onto my mat…eyes closed….and relaxed into the floor. I felt the support of the hardwood…of the earth…beneath me and a warm energy surrounding me. I felt grounded. Centered. Calm. I was scanning my body…these were my feelings. As we started moving through the asanas (postures), I stayed centered on my mat….free of distracting energy….with just my thoughts and my breath. Often once the class starts moving, I’ll start to pick up someone’s nervous energy. Maybe it’s their first time to their mat in a while…or ever. Maybe someone carried in a lot of emotion, and they’re struggling to keep their composure. Maybe a fellow yogi has an injury that is impacting their ability to feel centered. Whatever the cause, I’ll usually start to pick up some vibrations as the class gets into its flow. When this happens, I’ll simply say “Your shit. My mat.” It’s a little something my shamans taught me as a means to create energetic boundaries. Believe it or not, it works. Sometimes I have to repeat it several times and maybe finish it off with a strong, internal “ENOUGH”…but eventually, I’m able to stave off whomever’s energy has drifted my way.
But today, none of that occurred. The whole practice was so….so….peaceful. It was awesome. After class I looked around the room. I wanted to see my fellow calm, centered yogis and intuitively thank them for their energetic efforts. As I looked around I noticed something interesting….the class was all women. 15 strong, focused, centered women energetically supporting one another. It felt amazing….and confirmed what I wanted to write about.
When I walked into class, the thought weighing on my mind was how unfortunate it is that some women still chose to compete against each other in the work force, rather than support one another. I had been incredibly lucky to not experience this first hand for most of my career. So much so that I started to take for granted that we – as women – had moved past the petty bullshit of tearing each other down as a means to get ahead and had instead tapped into the power that comes from lifting one another up. That was until I realized that the ones that still do it are just really sneaky about it. It’s really sad, actually. It’s sad that a woman — anyone…but especially a woman — can feel so insecure about her own talents that she lets her ego take over and goes on the attack, pushing aside her natural nurturing instincts.
As I stood in the yoga room, surrounded by 15 women proudly displaying their bodies of varying shapes and sizes I was struck by how different the two worlds can be. In the board room we often look much the same with our dresses, pants, and suits. Each professionally covered up so as not to distract from the work at hand. In the yoga room, we’re half-naked. Exposing our bodies…our imperfections…our souls to each other. Of the two, you might think the latter would draw out judgement and comparison – but not at all. I regularly hear and participate in the admiration of a fellow yogini’s ability…of her cool yoga pants…or of her sporty top. The yoga room is jam-packed with women respecting women and lifting each other up to be better humans. I tried my best to bring that essence into the board room. Time will tell if it rubbed off on the ones that needed it most…one can only hope.
To all my former female co-workers, stay strong. Lift each other up. Nurture one another. Be the heart of the company and support your brothers AND your sisters. Have a great conference. Miss y’all. Now go kick some ass!