Yoga is Judgmental

Posted: September 21, 2014 by Micah Baldwin in Leadership, People, Startup

Micah BaldwinThe next time someone says to me “Don’t worry it gets easier,” I am going to punch them in the face. They call yoga a practice, which by definition means that not only will I not be perfect, but that I will also improve over time.

As an entrepreneur, this is a powerful concept. It’s not about perfection, but about the pursuit of perfection. Startups are our practice. We never are able to create the perfect startup, but we can improve them over time.

The most perfect you are is right now.

Being present is a concept that is often thrown around as a practice of focus on what you are doing, and worrying less about what came before or after. For me, the idea that I am doing the absolute best I can in that moment, that regardless of my previous success or perceived future success, I am accomplishing everything I can in that moment, blows me away.

Less is more

We hear this a lot, and always pass it off as contrite. But in yoga, it’s true. As a swimmer, football and lacrosse player, it was all about working as hard as possible with the physical manifestation of that effort being hard breathing, sore muscles, etc. If you worked so hard that you couldn’t move, then you clearly left something on the field. In yoga, its about pushing yourself just far enough. Imagine having the fortitude to stop. Can we be as successful in our startups if we stop working so that we could sustain our effectiveness over time rather than in bursts? I say we can.

Have a soft face

One of the teachers says this about ten million times a class. The day before last, I tweaked my back a bit, making me have a harder time holding poses. So last night, I decided to focus on having a soft face.

We often say “don’t let them see you sweat,” in an attempt to say that a leader that seems to be constantly under control, is a stronger leader. Last night, as I struggled to not grimace to furrow my brow, I noticed that when my face was relaxed, the rest of my body was relaxed. I didn’t hold my breath as much. I could feel each part of my body and make micro-adjustments to improve my pose. And at the end of the workout, I was exhausted. More exhausted than I had been in at least a week. Forcing myself to relax let me understand more of what was going on around me. Amazing.

Namaste

At the end of each class, the teacher says “Namaste” and we all repeat it. Then, usually instead of laying there and resting for a couple of minutes, most folks grab their stuff and escape out of there rapidly. I always try and hang out for at least a minute or two. Mostly because I want to remind myself that being done, doesn’t mean that I am finished. Running a startup is a series of short bursts surrounded by minute rests that hopefully lead to a “namaste moment.” But, for most of us, the namaste moment isn’t an exit, but just an indication that the current effort is done, and a new day starts tomorrow. It’s important to reflect on what you accomplished every day in the context of that day.

We all make mistakes, do some things awesome, and live our lives in the hope of building one amazing thing.

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