The yoga of conference attendance?

Conference essentials: laptop and yoga mat, plus gratis aromatherapy (thank you Crowne Plaza)
Conference essentials: laptop and yoga mat, plus gratis aromatherapy pack (thank you Crowne Plaza)

What have conferences got to do with yoga? To be honest, I’m not sure. But I’m at one now, and I’ve been struck by how different my behaviour has been both towards other people and towards myself this time around. And I can’t help feeling this is at least partly due to my yoga practice and the different way of engaging with the world that I’ve been cultivating, as well as the greater sense I’m developing of how I’m doing and what my needs are.

So what am I doing differently? Nothing dramatic, just some small shifts in emphasis, but in totality they slightly take me by suprise:

  • I haven’t been rushing around madly trying to get to as many sessions as possible. It is OK to take a break during the day, and actually I ended up connecting with some really interesting people who were also taking a pit stop away from the fray.
  • I have picked sessions according to my own interests, rather than what I think my boss would want me to go to. I shouldn’t imagine that he has heavy expectations of me and realise that he’s probably want me to find my own direction.
  • I’ve chatted with more people informally in the coffee and meal breaks, making a deliberate effort to be smiley and approachable, even though on the inside I’m feeling either shy or boring or both. These convos have all been really good!
  • I’ve turned down a drinks and dinner invite this evening in favour of asana practice in my room followed by a swim plus a quiet dinner for one in my room. The team might think I’m a little standoffish or they might be grateful I’m not cramping their (more youthful) style. Neither opinion will have any long term implications, so it doesn’t matter. After a day of intense interaction, I need some me time.
  • I’m not beating myself up that the presentation I gave wasn’t perfect. It was good enough and attendees were nodding all the way through so they clearly got what I was talking about. Plus the marketing team who asked me to do this seemed more than happy with how it went. Job done!
  • I’ve been mindful of what I’ve eaten and drunk and have taken care not to max out on the coffee and cakes as a way of keeping going. I still had enough energy left for my yoga. And I’m feeling virtuous (in a non-yogic slightly smug way!).

I guess all this adds up to a bit more compassion to myself and others. If I can retain a sense of what I need during the frenzy of a conference, I wonder if I’ll be able to retain a sense of perspective when I get back to the office on Wednesday, my first day after a month off, and confront the over-flowing abundance of my inbox? Wish me luck!

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