Does Making Myself a Pretzel Help?

Lessons from my JOURNEY with Yoga.

Do you know want to know what’s getting me through this? Yes, this moment of missing my friends, and dining out, and even my podcast listening commutes?


Or at least my version of yoga which can be just doing Shavasana (lying on your back, eyes closed, breathing).

And why is it helping? Well, to be honest, I don’t totally know because I haven’t got there yet on my journey.

BUT I do know when I think about my long and winding relationship with yoga, there are some good lessons in there.

Did you know that one of my first jobs out of university was managing a yoga studio? Feels like a lifetime ago. I was young, flexible, and owned exactly one couch and a futon.

AND I was happy to learn yoga while running payroll, managing budgets, and scheduling classes.

Life was good.

And life is good now, if a bit uncertain, emotional, and testing my resilience muscle.

So, while yoga-light (my name for a lot of Shavasana and a few poses) is keeping me going, I thought you might find a few of my lessons helpful, you know, relationship building AND for CORPORATE FUNDRAISING!

I feel your doubt but read-on. All of them can be applied without turning yourself into a pretzel. And they are GOOD!

Phase 1: Rejection

There was a time when I was firmly in the camp that yoga and meditation was for other people. I thought:

  • I can’t stay still that long.
  • When I lie down my racing mind is worse so I’m better off not doing it,
  • I’ve never been flexible, not even when I was a kid so I’ll never be able to do it.

Have you ever thought of any of those? Or that kind of thing, even just one, when you were trying something new?

You know what those are – lame excuses!!

AND all the reasons why yoga and meditation are exactly what I needed. But I was scared, uncertain where to start, and didn’t know what to expect, so I avoided getting started.

Hmmmmmm. Any bells going off?

Phase 2: Re-boot

Long after I left the managing-gig, and I had lost my connection to yoga I got a gift certificate from my husband. And it seemed unavoidable. I had to get re-started.

I did take my time finding a yoga studio that aligned with my values. It had people who were warm and friendly. Teachers that were willing to invest in me. And I began to learn.

At the beginning, I learned that I needed to show up.

I learned that consistency, just showing up, was more valuable than what I did in any given class on any given day.

Being present at the studio helped me build a relationship with people there, and feel more comfortable with what I was doing. And, this kept me going.

Hmmmm. Is there somewhere you could be showing up?

Phase 3: Improving

As my relationship with Yoga continued, there were ebbs and flows. There have been times when I was super consistent at showing up, and others when there has been a longer stretch.

But, I always come back. I keep showing up.

And when I do, I see small improvements that match up with small actions that I take. The small improvements, the micro actions, strengthen my relationship with Yoga.

They remind me that showing up and taking action is worthwhile.

I wonder if showing up and taking action would make a difference for you?

Phase 4: Building

Another cool thing that has happened as I have built my relationship with Yoga.

Along the way I have redefined what our relationship looks like.

Being real, I did have long term visions of crazy flexibility when I started. Now, I’m thrilled with how I can calm my mind and lie in stillness.

I thought success would look like being able to do the crow (if you know it, your thinking WHAT!, if you don’t suffice to say I’m not even close :-)), and now when I feel powerful in a mountain pose (that’s standing arms by your sides), I can feel on top of the world.

Success has been redefined. And it’s good.

Do you have your success criteria right? Could adjustments help you?

Phase 5: Connection

So, here I am in a time of crazy uncertainty. And I have my friend Yoga here for me.

All this relationship building when times were more steady is paying off. I can turn to yoga when I need to clear my brain, or feel calm.

Or when my back cramps up from sitting in front of Zoom for too long!

I am so grateful.

What relationship are you feeling grateful for today?

The Wrap-Up

I hope my reflections offer some helpful lessons for relationship building more generally. And if you are so inclined, relationships with your corporate partners.

Lesson 1: You have shared some reasons not to reach out. And I encourage you to acknowledge those thoughts and feelings and take action anyway.

Lesson 2: Take micro-actions consistently. This is not about building the relationship all at once. Small actions over time are the biggest difference makers. So, start.

Lesson 3: If you keep showing up, together you will define what the partnership will look like. This may not happen quickly. It may not happen exactly how you expect. But as the lines of communication open, it will happen.

Lesson 4: If you stay in touch, through the good times and the bad, when the timing is right you will have a partner you can count on.

So, I leave you with this. The time to get started with micro-actions is now. It is time to be in touch. With everything changing, its the perfect time to reach out.

Take good care.

Heather Nelson