Networking Yoga
The word yoga can be derived from two root words, according to Wikipedia. The first is “yujir,” which means to yoke, and the second is “yuj samadhau,” meaning to concentrate. Prior to writing this blog, I knew nothing about the origins of yoga, knowing only that it consisted of, seemingly, uncomfortable and difficult poses that helped practitioners become stronger and more flexible. Like most endeavors however, I suppose consistent practice and dedication will help you get better.

Recently, I learned that co-founder of the rap label Def Jam Records, Russell Simmons, practices yoga. I must admit, I was slightly taken aback by this revelation. Russell Simmons started Def Jam when the music and the culture around it was still “street.” We were all kids following the music, and Russell was our much older brother leading the way.

I watched Russell Simmons on his reality show discuss how practicing yoga, meditating, and changing his diet have been positive additions to his life. I was proud of how Russell intentionally introduced the discomfort of the yoga poses to his exercise routine, and was rewarded with a renewed since of self and a healthier body. He now performs these yoga poses in a seemingly effortless manner, and this made me consider our careers, and specifically our ability to network.

Are we willing to do any networking yoga? In other words, when is the last time you stretched yourself and learned something new in an attempt to broaden your network and grow professionally? This is vitally important, and by continuing to use Russell as an example, I can illustrate just how critical it is.

The majority of people in the hip hop community were not practicing yoga, but Russell, having identified a need for a change his life, decided to try something new. After performing some introspection and determining the area in which you need for professional growth, try something new to heighten your flexibility. This could include applying for the training program you have been eyeing for some time. It might mean returning to school to further your education, or taking on challenging projects at work to increase your visibility with management. It could even mean taking up new hobbies that would put you in contact with others that can help you grow professionally. Ultimately, do not be afraid to try a new “pose” and step outside your professional box as this could wind up helping you renew your mind, and in the process expand your professional opportunities.