The Benefits of Yoga & Meditation: An Interview with Allison English
How did you get into meditation and yoga?
I first started practicing yoga as a teenager after a serious sports injury left me in pain and immobilized. Yoga became an integral part of my physical rehabilitation - also a huge part of my mental recovery - and I began meditating as a means to increase focus for my rigorous athletic and academic schedule. I found that meditation helped me with my high levels of anxiety, and deepened my attention to the tasks of my day.
Why did you decide to start teaching?
I decided to take a yoga teacher training course after college to learn more about the why and how of this system. I was (and still am) so curious about yoga’s powerful impact on us physically, mentally and emotionally. A part of my original teacher training course included teaching for a year to get my full certification. Not being a person who does this halfway, I found a couple of classes to fulfill the requirement while working full time at The Field Museum in the Department of Anthropology. It turned out that I loved teaching and connecting with people over yoga and mindfulness. Soon after, I decided to teach full time for a year while applying to grad school to get a PhD in Anthropology. That was 12 years ago and I haven’t looked back.
What are the benefits of doing yoga and meditation during the work day?
Yoga and meditation are wonderful pairings with the corporate workplace. In their own way, they each help to unwind tension (physical and mental), develop stronger focus and foster creative thinking. The foundational practices of both yoga and meditation take you out of your habitual way of doing things. Students who practice yoga and meditation during their workday report higher productivity, lower stress levels, better relationships with co-workers, fewer physical maladies and a general resilience to the experiences of workday life.
What are the benefits to practicing yoga and meditation regularly?
Those who practice yoga regularly have more mobility, less pain and steadier energy levels. Those who meditate regularly develop responsiveness and carry a clarity of attention in diverse situations. Those who practice both yoga and meditation regularly bring a strong, centered body and mind to every activity. Like any activity or habit, results are not immediate. If you have been sitting at your desk for years without stretching, your tension won’t release from one or two yoga sessions. Likewise, if your mind is very busy and distracted, one meditation session will not bring you a clearer head. It is the weekly connection in class that helps you build a toolkit to meet everyday moments in a better way.
Allison English is the yoga and meditation teacher in the Chicago office, and well-known in the Chicago yoga community. Check out her blog and social media channels HERE.