Everybody, breathe. How yoga can unify and calm a virtual workplace.

November 05, 2020

2020 has been a pretty stressful and tumultuous year. For many, the pressure of the pandemic, home schooling and maintaining employment has taken its toll. It’s why, a few months ago, Splendid introduced a regular and free virtual yoga session – hosted by our wonderful, in-house Anasura yoga teacher, Kylie Anderson. As well as a great way to get together as a team outside of ‘work’, the session has been incredible in instilling a sense of calm and a more mindful approach to day-to-day life.

Here, Kylie shares her thoughts on yoga and her side-hustle as a yoga teacher.

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1. For how long have you been practicing yoga?

Ahh, I’d be giving away how old I am if I told you! I think it’s been around 20 years now. I haven’t always stuck to it, but I have always come back to it. I have enjoyed learning the various styles throughout the years and I've have had a regular practice for eight years.  

2. What inspired you to start teaching?

It’s not something I have openly discussed at Splendid yet, but I did my teacher training in England right after the loss of my son, who was stillborn at 21 weeks. I was looking for something to give me back my courage and purpose after such heartbreak, and the idea presented itself. I had thought about doing it many times prior, but it had never felt like ‘the right time’. It was, and continues to be, such great therapy for me and I knew I wanted to share it with the world. 

 

3. How do you juggle yoga practice with your role at Splendid? Tell us about a typical day.

The Splendid/yoga juggle can be tricky! During the working week, I try to practice yoga for three of the five days, as well as teaching a class one morning a week. I am not going to lie, sometimes sleeping-in wins!

A typical day goes something like this:
  • 7am - Wake up, pranayama and light practice - 40mins.
  • 8am - Breakfast. 
  • 8:30am - Shower and tidy up, getting ready for the working day. 
  • 9ish - Open the laptop and ‘werk it’ ‘til lunchtime, have a break and a walk on the beach, and then get back to it until around 5pm. 
  • 5pm - Log off and either do more yoga or gym with my PT (who lives next door) or chill before dinner.

Staying active is key!  I need to move around a lot!

4. What are the benefits for bringing yoga into the workday?

There are so many! Firstly, yoga helps to give us calmer energy and headspace. It not only shifts your physical body and energy flow, but it also creates space for mental clarity, giving you the ability to focus on the task at hand. It helps to keep you in the moment.  

When we are calmer and focused, not only are we more efficient, but we also tend to have a greater capacity for empathy and understanding for others - which is great when you are handling clients and interacting with co-workers.  

Basically, its awesome and I encourage everyone, even the most non-yogi types to take ten minutes a day for mindfulness. It could just be deep breathing, going for a walk or closing your eyes and relaxing  it’s all yoga, and it all helps. 

5. What are your greatest successes and challenges of virtual teaching?

  • Connections with friends and colleagues who don’t live where I do! It has been such a blessing because I have friends all over the world and with virtual classes, it doesn’t matter where they are. Especially in the current climate, that connection is really important to me.  
  • Exploring vocabulary  it’s tricky when you’re not right there in front of your students, as verbal articulation becomes even more challenging. It has really helped my language improve, which is great.  
  • Not having to travel to a studio or rent space has been a revelation!  
  • Giving something powerful, nurturing and loving to people in lockdown during COVID has given me all the feels.  

Some challenges are: 

  • Camera angles, lack of lighting and not being able to really see how someone is interpreting my instructions. Sound is often an issue too. I can never tell if people can hear me clearly or not! 

    Connecting with people on a level where I can improve their practice. I just have to trust they are taking it in and enjoying themselves. 

6. What are your top tips for others looking to teach yoga?

  • Don’t be afraid of it! Whether is the technology or promoting yourself or what your house looks like, just go ahead and do it. People will love it. 
  • Try and light the room well. Make sure you have stable internet and make sure your voice can be heard clearly.
  • Talk to your students the same way you would if they were in the studio right in front of you - keep that connection. 
  • Wear simple colours - I am a big fan of a loud legging, but I try to stick to single colours on screen so my movements can be seen easily. 

7. What are your future plans with your yoga journey? 

I don’t know what the future holds in terms of my yoga teaching. I’d like to see it grow and deepen over the years. I’m trying to stick with today and this moment. I want to enjoy the journey I am on now and we will see what happens. 

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Kylie is an Anusara Elements teacher. Anusara is alignment based Hatha yoga and is grounded in tantric philosophy. Anusara means ’flowing with grace’, which translates in today’s language as being true to yourself, resilient through difficulty and innately appreciative of the dance of life.