22 Nov 3 Reasons Every Workaholic Should Do Hot Yoga
Putting in sixteen hour workdays and neglecting my relationships and physical health wasn’t a badge of honor, it was an addiction.
It was my way of trying to escape the human condition. By working all the time, I could anesthetize my feelings of isolation, keep meaninglessness at bay and avoid confronting my own issues around codependency and unworthiness.
Thankfully, hot yoga became a central part of my recovery program. Here are my three reasons why every workaholic should do it too:
- Learn to respect yourself.
When giving thanks for the many benefits yoga has brought into my life, a major one is the new respect for myself and my body.
Prior to starting my practice, I was much more likely to ignore or even deny my body’s responses and pleas. That’s what happens when you’re a workaholic or a perfectionist. Your addiction to adrenaline and approval alienates you from your body. After a certain period of time, your inability to pace ourselves leads to breakdown, burnout and in many cases, illness and injury.
But the first day I tried doing yoga, there was a total body yes. It immediately helped me use my breath as the bridge between my body and mind, and it gradually trained me to trust my body to tell me when things were not right.
If you also have struggled to respect yourself enough to listen to your real feelings and to attend to what your body is telling you it needs, this practice may just be transforming your life as well.
Are you treating yourself the way you need to be treated?
- Every day your body is different.
The dance of yoga is, we show up and see what body we have today. Trusting that our body is not who we are, it’s just what we are currently experiencing. Consider a typical seven classes:
Monday my neck was stiff from sleeping all weekend.
Tuesday my whole body was dehydrated from the stupid summer heat.
Wednesday my legs felt like tree trunks rooting themselves in the earth.
Thursday my left contact lens came out during camel pose.
Friday my digestive system was out of control from eating fat-free popcorn at work.
Saturday my sweat angel looked like an oversized bowtie.
Sunday my final savasana made me feel like an ice cube blissfully melting into the floor.
It’s like my teacher says, every day your body is different. The yoga doesn’t change, you do. You never know what you’re working with until you show up and confront your truth in the mirror.
And so, our job is to respect our bodies, not fight them. To turn to ourselves with a compassionate heart, not a cruel eye. As opposed to the old workaholic approach, which is to just wait around until our body gives out and forces us to rest and take care of it. Already tried that, and it’s what got me hospitalized three times in one year.
How often have you ignored or denied your body’s responses and pleas?
- Don’t let yourself believe in invincibility.
When you’re a workaholic, somehow all the warnings in the world don’t quite convince you that it’s time to stop.
Here’s the lie we love to tell ourselves:
There’s nothing wrong with putting in consecutive fourteen hour days if we love the work and it feels like a calling and we’re making a meaningful difference in the world, right? May as well just keep pushing until our body gives out and forces us to rest and take care of it. Then we can stop, but not before.
If that’s the case, we’re most likely running on the steam of a delusion. Convincing ourselves that our compulsions are serving something other than our own ego. It reminds me of something my yoga instructor Carol once said in regards to dehydration. She said:
Don’t try to be a soldier when your body needs you to be saint.
If you have to stop, rest, sit out, take a break, refill your water, go to the bathroom or even lay down and sleep for the remainder of class, do it. Listen to your body, not your ego. Our daily practice, then, should always allow unscheduled time for unexpected self-care. Time to listen to what our body needs, regardless of what our ego wants.
In short, we have to stop trying to impress ourselves all the time. Life is not a performance. There is no studio audience. There are no panel judges with numbered signs to score us. And taking a breather is just fine when needed.
Are you still gripped by a mad delusion of invincibility?
Happy working, and happy playing
Get your copy now of 365 Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat: A Year in Hot Yoga!