As we entered our fifth chair pose of the session – or Utkatasana, for you yogis out there – I was internally screaming, “Seriously, again?!?” I’ve learned over the years of doing yoga to try to “focus on the breath” and not what part, or parts, of my body are struggling. But, sometimes I fail to listen to this internal wisdom. Chair pose requires all of your body, which is true for most yoga poses, or asanas, but in this pose you feel it everywhere. Your thighs and calves burn and your arms reach for the sky (or someone to rescue you), while you try to keep your back from overarching, your shoulders from getting too close to your ears, your jaw or neck from getting too tense, or too much weight resting on the knees, “deep breaths, Leena.….AHHHH! When is this going to end???” And suddenly relief. Only to return to chair pose 3 minutes later, after my other “favorite:” chaturanga (push-up like pose).
Eventually I did reach a point of gratefulness for the challenges presented within the last hour. I thought to myself, “You could have been sitting at your desk for the past hour. In lazy-bad-posture-chair-pose.” Thankfully The Nonprofit Center’s Network’s home, The Alliance Center, cares about our backs (and apparently our thighs, glutes and triceps) and offers free yoga every Wednesday for an hour at noon. Instead of paying out of my pocket, finding a time that works around my family’s schedule and getting myself to a class, I can leave my desk, walk up 6 floors and roll out a (provided) mat with other tenant employees.
Nonprofits on their own, particularly small ones, likely cannot justify the cost of hiring a weekly yoga teacher, let alone have the space to host a class. But by coming together with others under one roof, we pool our resources to support health and wellness for each other. More and more companies are realizing that providing these benefits for their employees produces more productive and happier individuals in the workplace.
We are fortunate that in addition to yoga classes, The Alliance Center offers a wellness room, a meditation corner, discounts to a local gym membership, ample bike storage for commuters, mental health support, and more in the works. All of this impacts our overall psyche and strengthens that link between mental and physical health. Shared spaces that value health and wellness offer an opportunity for nonprofit employees to take a moment and recharge our batteries. And when each of us takes advantage of that, we are giving permission to our co-worker or co-tenant to do the same. Which ultimately pushes each nonprofit closer to their respective missions.
What health and wellness benefits does your shared space offer? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share anecdotes, or NCN members can send photos and captions of your space “doing” health & wellness for our September Social Media “Show Us” Series: Health & Wellness in Shared Space.