Design-asana: Yoga makes you design better

Most of you know that I practice yoga and have got back on the fence with running again so things are shifting in my body that I haven't felt in quite some time. I'm currently progressing thru a knee thing, which can cause sharp jabs of pain, but I know what it is and I'm working around it. Sometimes things happen in class that stirs up a lot of emotion, or inner conflict, because you're forced to deal with the issue on a 30" x 64" mat space that you can't flee. Yesterday during practice was no exception.

I'll spare you the justification, but the instructor wanted me to come out of my variation because she didn't like me doing it. It wasn't that I wasn't safe, or that I didn't know what I was doing (I found yoga 10 years ago and have steadily practiced for 5 years), but when I said "Thanks, but no thanks. I've hurt my knee." I received the evil-yoga-teacher-look-of-death. It's not like she asked if there were any injuries in the room.

I carried that death-mask thru the class, on the drive home, at home, and then to bed at 3:00 AM. I lay there so furious at the instructor because there was no courtesy, no respect, and no tolerance for another way of doing things. I vowed never to practice at that studio again or take that instructors class.

Then it hit me. I'm laying in bed, exhausted, doing emotional summersaults because of someone else's ignorance. Well, enough of that, I thought. This instructor can't take that much of my well-being away from me, fair or not fair, it was completely my choice to handle it the way I did.

Much like yoga, being a designer presents it challenges that you have no options to walk away from. It is demanded of you to be the problem solver by the client, your boss, vendors, and contractors. That's a lot of expectations! Having gone thru my emotional and mental anguish unnecessarily yesterday, I can take that tool and use it in my professional life.

BE OKAY WITH DOING LESS - We're such perfectionists and we have such high expectations of the perfect drawings, specifications, and job-site conditions. Fact is, some jobs don't require that amount of high-level work and it's important to identify when you can do less work. Everyone loves less work.

RESPECT THE UNEXPECTED - Challenges and choices face us every day, but if we get ourselves into a knot about it we're doing nothing but choosing stress over calm. You have to expect the unexpected when working on a project, and it's important to stay grounded and balanced, avoid unnecessary reactions or thoughts, and focus in on the real problem. Sometimes you present yourself with the most unexpected of solutions.

WORK-LIFE BALANCE - Oh boy, that's a big one for most of us, isn't it? Work is not just another four letter work, and neither is life. To be successful, you can't be always on for everyone all the time, so turn off, exercise, and focus on that. The most pleasant of solutions have presented themselves to me after walking off my yoga mat

LOOK IN THE MIRROR - If you work in a firm, or a small one like I do, you all feed off each other and sometimes the smallest thing can tick you off and you just avoid it all together. Put a mirror in-front of your desk and watch your reactions. You'll be surprised to learn your reactions are unhappy or unwanted. But look at yourself, accept the beauty of what you see, not what the perception of beauty is, and smile. Not only will this help you with your daily tasks, but it will help you with your clients. You'll become more aware of your facial expressions and choosing the best expression.

If you're in Vancouver and interested in trying yoga, give YYoga ( a whirl for $30 and two (w) weeks unlimited. If you want to meet up for a class together, give me a shout.