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Walking the tightrope between two worlds

I’m not alone in juggling multiple roles in life, many of us juggle multiple family roles: wife, mother, sister, grandmother, daughter, aunt alongside our other roles in life (the labels we put on ourselves to assume our identity) this might be teacher, PA, IT manager, artist, rock climber, football coach.

Whatever our individual labels/identities might be how do we balance our energies and ensure there is enough of ‘us’ our authentic ‘non labelled self’ left at the end of the day?

I’ve been thinking about this in my own life, I don’t have family commitments like others, I don’t have children of my own and as my parents both died young I don’t even have the commitment of being a daughter looking after ageing parents like some of my friends do. My life is simpler than others in this respect, but I do have two very different roles I assume in my working life/career.

Many of you will know of me as a yoga teacher but alongside that most wonderful of ‘jobs’ I also work part time as a Philanthropy Manager for a charity in London. These are very different roles, in one I am my own boss, I have complete creative autonomy and in the other I work as part of a team, I have a boss and others set my targets and manage my performance. Also, the people I meet in both worlds are different, well at least on the surface they appear different. This balancing between these two worlds -the corporate and yoga world has its challenges at times.

As an example today as I write this on the train going to London, I spent this morning teaching a chilled out yoga class to a group of lovely ladies and I am now on route to major city fundraising lunch for 550 people (quite a lot of them very wealthy men in suits), after this I am teaching yoga again tonight.

So how do I balance my roles? This morning, I felt like wonder women (even if I don’t look like her!) changing in the hall toilet after teaching class to get into my dress and jacket to go straight to the station. Partly it is this ‘externalising’ that helps me get into my fundraising role – dressing for the role does change my mindset. But really it all comes down to energy, yes, the energy in a yoga class is very different to the energy in a high-powered lunch in a stunning fancy venue…. But it is all energy. People are people and certainly some my students also live in this world.

Taking my yoga practice off the mat and being able to adjust to a corporate environment is a fantastic opportunity for me to practice everything I hope I teach in my yoga classes. If I can bring these qualities into my corporate world maybe I can affect others around me too?

These qualities are:

  • self-awareness

  • empowerment

  • opportunity and fearlessness

  • kindness and compassion

  • self-care

I wanted to add a few comments on this last point, with many commitments/roles it is very easy to overlook self-care and I know it’s an old cliche, but you really can’t be there for others if you are stressed-out yourself. It’s not selfish to schedule time for a relaxing bath, yoga, meditation, exercise or a walk in the park it’s essential and in busy weeks it’s more challenging but it becomes even more important.

It can be done; I know this week ahead is going to be very busy so I won’t be able to progress any big projects but at a minimum I will do at least 10 mins meditation and 20 mins yoga/other exercise every day, I have made this non-negotiable. So, if like me you juggle many balls don’t forget the most important ball is you. Schedule your own self-care as you would the school run and see how this changes your attitude to the roles you play. And perhaps next time you are in an environment very different from the calm, supportive yoga class environment maybe mindfully consider the differences and similarities and use it as an opportunity for growth and learning not resistance and resentment. That for me has been where the real awakening has happened taking my practice off the mat.

Photos here of me taken with 72 hours of each other:

Teaching on a yoga wellbeing day

Running an event at the House of Lords.

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