Proposal yoga

Yoga has several aspects that are beneficial to capture and proposal professionals. These include breathing, mindfulness, meditation, and the poses themselves.

Breathing: Did you know that yoga is more about breathing than about poses? Stress and hurrying (everyday hazards of our profession!) cause us to breathe shallowly and too quickly. Every cell in the body requires oxygen, and our level of vitality is a product of the health of our cells. Shallow breathing does not exercise the lungs sufficiently, so they lose some of their function, causing a further reduction in vitality and productivity.

Mindfulness: The practice of mindfulness can help you focus your brain and accomplish more that matters. Mindfulness is about awareness. It also involves acceptance. Try to pay attention to your thoughts and feelings without judging them. Focus on the task at hand without rehashing the past or worrying about the future.

Meditation: Meditation relaxes the mind and body. A simple meditation to do at your desk is a breathing meditation, during which you focus on your breath, thus practicing mindfulness. This will calm your mind and relax your body.

Begin by finding a comfortable position, but one in which you will not fall asleep. Sitting with your hands resting lightly in your lap is a good position to try. Or, gently touch thumb and forefinger together.

Roll your shoulders slowly forward and then slowly back. Lean your head from side to side, slowly and carefully lowering your left ear toward your left shoulder, and then your right ear toward your right shoulder.

Focus inward on your third eye (between your eyebrows). Set your intention for the day ahead. Set it as a positive affirmation. For example, if you want to be productive, think I am productive. If you want to relax, think I am relaxing.

Relax all your muscles. Unclench your jaw and your brow. Observe your breathing. Notice how your breath flows in and out. At first, make no effort to change your breathing in any way, simply notice how your body breathes. Sit quietly, seeing in your mind’s eye your breath flowing gently in and out of your body.

When your attention wanders, as it will, just focus back again on your breathing. If you can’t focus easily, you can think to yourself, I breathe in…I breathe out…

Notice the stages of a complete breath… from the in breath… to the pause that follows… the exhale… and the pause before taking another breath…

Enjoy the slight breaks between each breath.

As thoughts intrude, allow them to pass, and return your attention to your breathing.

Feel your chest and stomach gently rise and fall with each breath.

Now, as you inhale, count silently…one, two, three.

Hold for a moment.

As you exhale, count…one, two, three.

Hold for a moment, and now let’s repeat two more times.

Inhale…one, two, three.

Exhale…one, two, three.

Inhale…one, two, three.

Exhale…one, two, three.

Notice now how your body feels. Gently open your eyes if they are closed. Feel rejuvenated.

Proposal Yoga: I have written and presented extensively on the benefits of proposal yoga. Try this detoxifying spinal twist:

  • Sit in your chair, cross one leg over the other, and grasp your top knee with your opposite hand.
  • Hold the back of your chair with your free hand and slowly twist your upper body and head towards that arm, keeping your back and neck as straight as possible. Hold for 10 counts.
  • Switch your legs and arms and twist in the opposite direction.

You can access my article with additional proposal yoga poses here and one of my presentations on proposal yoga here. Learn how to reduce stress, increase flexibility, and regain composure–at your desk. Namaste!

By Lisa Pafe, APMP CPP Fellow, APMP-NCA Vice President

Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn

Reprinted with permission, APMP-NCA Executive Summary, Summer 2015