When you think of advertising agencies, you don’t usually think of yoga pants and down dogs. You might think of suits, conference rooms, and skyscrapers. Well, I’m here to tell you that, if you are in the world of advertising and aren’t already practicing yoga, you should. Not because your doctor said so or because it’s “in” but because it will make you better at your job – and probably better at life. Not convinced? Here are five ways yoga will make your better at your ad agency job.

  1. Just Breathe: Yoga will equip you with the tools you need to walk into any meeting. Breathing is the most basic ingredient in your practice. Any good yoga teacher will encourage students to focus on their breathing. Pranayama, or mindful breathing, is the best way to calm the mind. You can use these same mindful breathing techniques before meetings and presentations to remain cool, calm and collected. Energy is contagious. Do your best to bring the energy you want to have in the room.
  2. You don’t have to be able to touch your toes but you do have to be flexible. Yoga teaches us to be okay with what is. To work with the cards we are dealt and to let go of the things that we can’t control. Have you ever received feedback that you didn’t expect? Maybe the client had to push back the site launch or the ad (that was supposed to be ready next week) has to go to the printer by end of day? We have all been there. Flexibility is key. You can’t change the situation, so change your attitude about it.
  3. Presence is everything. Everything is temporary- the good, bad and the ugly. Yoga teaches us to be present with every moment. It makes us realize that, in order to operate at our highest level, we must be fully immersed in the moment. Whether it’s reviewing final copy, discussing overall brand strategies, running client calls or trying to keep a pulse on the ever-changing marketing technology world, presence is e- verrr – thang.
  4. Not all people are self-aware. You should be. You’re sending signals to your clients and coworkers whether you know it or not. Body language, tone of voice and facial expressions can all send positive or negative signals to those around you. Make sure you’re sending the right ones. Yoga teaches us to be self-aware, both in the physical body and the mind. It teaches us to observe and examine our reactions. How are we responding to the situation at hand? If you have an RBF, this is a good opportunity to work on it.
  5. This is a practice. You don’t have to be perfect all the time but you have to show up. The definition of practice is: Repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it. There is no “winning” in yoga. There are breakthroughs. There is no “end” or “final game” that we are working toward. In yoga, as in advertising, the work keeps coming and we need to keep showing up. The advertising world is changing quickly. Thus, maintaining proficiency is essential to staying relevant. Just because you may be able to do certain pose or finish a certain project, doesn’t mean that the work is over. Every project is different. Every day is different. Every time you step on your mat, you are different. Keep practicing. Keep advancing. Keep moving.

Now that you have read my two cents, I’ll have to admit that my not-9-to-5 “fun job” is being yoga teacher. I practice, a lot. My mat is where I go to get grounded, strengthen, soften and be present. The biggest challenge is taking the teachings off the mat. Every meeting, project kick-off or phone call is an opportunity to start fresh, be present and rock it!

Here at Stout Heart, we have worked with a number of yoga-centric clients including Elephant Journal and Three Bridges Yoga. We depend on our yoga and our yoga depends on us.