10 Ways Yoga Is Making Me a Better Creator

19 September 2019 | 5 Comments

A few months ago, I wrote about how the challenges offered by indoor rock climbing–a new hobby introduced to me by my lovely girlfriend–were making me a better creator, publisher, designer, and entrepreneur.

We’ve continued to climb on nearly weekly basis, and I’m loving it. Recently, Megan has introduced me to yoga, and I’m enjoying it as well. Even though I’m very much still a novice, it’s made me think about crowdfunding, creation, and entrepreneurship, so I’ll share those thoughts today.

  1. Don’t Knock It Until You Try It: Prior to trying it, my woefully ignorant perception of yoga was that it was just a form of stretching. Boy was I wrong! It was an hour-long test of strength, balance, and flexibility. This was a great reminder to me that I really shouldn’t judge anything without first trying it, whether it’s a genre of game, a measurable marketing technique, or any business strategy.
  2. There Is Always More Than One Flavor: There are many different types of yoga, some more relaxing and soothing, others more intense and grueling. The version I’ve been trying is somewhere in the middle. As an extension to my first point, it’s a great reminder that the right “flavor” for me of anything is out there–I shouldn’t give up on a certain approach, technique, or software just because the first version I tried didn’t work.
  3. Low Barrier to Entry: Yoga is super easy to try for the first time. You don’t need to be in shape to try it, and I bet there’s a free class in your area (or use a YouTube video). You don’t even need a yoga mat–a blanket is fine. I’ve tried to lower the barrier to entry for our games (streamlined rules, rule videos, etc), our website, our social media presence, etc.
  4. “Invite a Friend” Friendly: The types of ideas that spread are those that are easy and exciting to share with others. I’ve experienced that with indoor rock climbing, and yoga is the same. It’s no sweat off my back to invite someone to join us, nor is it a burden for someone else to invite me. At most you might save a space next to you.
  5. Doing It Together Matters: Before I tried yoga, I wondered why most people didn’t just do it in the privacy of their home, as no interaction is necessary. But–other than the motivation of actually doing it–I’ve found that it’s really helpful to be surrounded by others when I do yoga. I get to observe different techniques, and it’s encouraging and motivating to see so many other people trying their best at the same time as me. It reminds me of Daniel Pink’s talk about asynchronous play. From a business perspective, I think it goes beyond the overarching belief that building community is good. Rather, I want to do more to encourage people to play specific games of ours at specific times so they can feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves.
  6. Learn from the Best (but Know Your Limitations): The first time I tried yoga, I was in the front row, sandwiched between someone who was approximately 100x more experienced than me and someone who was 20x more experienced than me. I realized rather quickly that I simply could not do many of the things they were doing. I could follow their basic forms, but attempting a headstand was going to do more harm than good at that point in my yoga journey. This was a good reminder for me as a creator–just because I admire another company’s approach doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for Stonemaier (yet).
  7. Location and Timing Matter: A yoga instructor at a studio may make around $20-$30 an hour. Those sessions are often limited by space–maybe 20 people can fit in the room. However, the yoga I’ve been attending is at local park, and there’s a bustling farmer’s market nearby. It’s free, and it attracts hundreds of people each week, many of whom choose to tip the instructor for her expertise and guidance. Perhaps this is about more than just location and timing–it’s also about how your most optimized source of revenue may be an outlier compared to how you generally spend your time and resources.
  8. It’s Not a Competition: I’m lucky to be in an industry where most publishers and creators don’t look at each others as competitors. Rather, if another publisher is doing a great job, they’re probably inviting new people into the hobby and sustaining them–that’s good for me too. That’s how yoga is. You’re pushing yourself as much as you’d like, but it’s not a competition between participants. No one wins or loses. But it may not be like this in other industries, and if it isn’t, I’d encourage you to break the mold.
  9. The Details Matter: After my last yoga session, Megan pointed out that due to the way I was positioning my body in a certain pose, I was putting a lot of unnecessary stress on my knees. I shifted into the proper pose and instantly felt the difference. I’ve found that this is something I do all the time at work. There are lots of little things I’ve done over the years that simply aren’t efficient, and as soon as I identify them and make a small change, I’m much happier.
  10. Warm Up and Cool Down: One of my favorite things about Yoga Hour is that we start with a few minutes of soothing meditation before entering the “workout” stage, and then we finished in a similarly calming way. I’d like to do that more for my job instead of launching myself into customer service first thing in the morning.

I have a feeling this is just the start of what I’ll learn about myself from yoga, and I look forward to experiencing it more in the future!

If you can think of any parallels between business and yoga, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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5 Comments on “10 Ways Yoga Is Making Me a Better Creator

  1. My wife took a year to convince me to go to yoga. I always had something else I would rather do, until one day I didn’t really have anything… so she took me to a beginner taster session.

    I had similar preconceptions about yoga and that first class changed everything.
    The strength required to keep your balance while maintaining a pose is vastly underestimated.

    Plus doing it with my wife is something I thoroughly enjoy. It’s an “us” moment even if we’re surrounded by other people.

    The other advantage is the serenity of it all, lets your mind relax and drift onto other things. Your subconscious activates and often I find myself finding solutions to issues that I was having a hard time resolving.

  2. Though I don’t currently practice, I did spend about a 6 month period where I practiced Bikram (hot) yoga. In general, I felt more alert, yet more relaxed at the same time. It was one of the most challenging things I have done, but I value the experience and the lessons I learned (continue to learn and re-learn).

    At our work, one of the things we do before we open is stretching. As you pointed out, “yoga” is not synonymous with “stretching”. However, one of my co-workers is an experienced yogi who incorporates several asanas into the morning stretched when she leads.

    I think you can draw a lot of parallels between yoga and business. The first thing that comes to mind is that good businesses are always looking for ways to improve and be better. Both a well intentioned yogi and business person will be actively aware of what they perceive as their strengths and weaknesses/areas for growth. They will both subjectively and compassionately challenge themselves to strive to be better. They will both see that the real competition/adversity is not external, but internal. They will both accept situations and data simply for what they are. They will both act with a full embrace of the present, knowing that the past cannot be changed, and the future cannot be known. They will both shine a light on the fact that our core identity is not our job, nor any title we may hold.

  3. I should like to add a recommendation to one of your List of 10 Ways Yoga…

    3. Low Barrier to Entry
    …(or you a YouTube Video)

    the Yoga with Adriene YouTube Channel are excellent. Just find one of her Beginner’s Videos, relax and enjoy the Journey.

  4. Your analogous learning through Yoga was a delight. About 25 years ago, a friend invited me to try yoga. She said that Yoga wasn’t merely meditation or exercise but the PATH to improve. To me, it was helpful but not my thing.

    A couple years later, I took up watercolor / painting, and I couldn’t stop talking about what I was learning and how it taught me more about areas of my life that needed adjustment. Lessons in focus, commitment, patience, timing, spontaneity, etc. She replied that painting was my Yoga.

    It’s great that you learn from everything you engage with.

  5. Sumptuously! The desire to work on yourself is completely normal. If you don’t think about how to become better than you are, you can lose a lot. Actually, we all well know our weak and strong traits and what we need to work on, etc. But to become better is, first of all, a rejection of those patterns of behavior, because of which we harm our lives and those of others. But there is a joyful moment: you can become better in a month and a half. It is during this time that strong new neural connections form and we begin to understand how to become better. Good luck!

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