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Yogascapes New Office

February 6, 2016


We have jumped on board to help create a co-working space at YogaKula in Berkeley to lean more deeply into our relationship with work and explore what it means to be leaders in the “yoga/wellness industry”

As a company that offers transformative experiences aimed at people becoming more aligned in life, to discover who they are and how they meet the world, to integrate the teachings of yoga in all aspects of their lives – it’s obvious that we want this for ourselves, too.  And we know that the more that we, as people and as a company, can align with our purpose and can live a life more deeply connected to who we really are, what we offer back into the world will only be stronger.

So how do we do that? How do we honor the values that we embody on a yoga retreat, the lifestyle that we rave about, the open hearted way in which we greet the world when we travel… while we work? How can our work life be included in the inner circle of spiritual life? How can we be aligned with and move closer to our purpose in life in work and at work?

I’ll start off by saying that for us, it’s not enough to simply do good work, we strive to go deeper by honoring our values while we work and how we work. It’s not enough to use yoga and meditation to do a better job, or be more efficient at working within the parameters and pressures of culture norms – we need yoga and meditation to inform what we do, how we do it, and for it to seep into all aspects of our day. It’s not good enough to imprison spirituality into the dark corners of the day, we need to embrace our truth always. It’s not good enough to be successful in a business sense, without first redefining what it means to be successful period and wearing that on our sleeves.

It’s simply not good enough to be anything less than determined in our integration of our lifestyle, belief systems and the way we meet the world.

In the last ten years of having a serious relationship with work I’ve found that as a society we support detachment while we work.  We see work as a means to an end, an end which itself is not necessarily truthful to our hearts. When we detach from ourselves, how can we be connected to an “end” that serves us well? How can we be connected to a vision that comes from within?

For those of us who notice this imbalance that happens when we detach during most of the hours of the day, we then have to work extra hard in our personal life to balance out what happened to us during the day in order to find balance. Essentially we are standing still – at work we get more detached, at home we try to catch back up to ourselves. Our body feels this fighting in the form of stress and frustration.  Our story becomes this drama of the back and forth between detachment and reconnecting.   For some of us we’ve found a solution in working jobs which allow us to spend less time at “detachment” and more time in our personal lives. I believe that’s one way of creating more balance, but is there a way to stop fighting ourselves? To stop spending our precious energy on picking ourselves back up after we detach?  What if work wasn’t detachment?  What if it was another outlet for connecting to our deepest truth?  Below I explore some of the ways in which we might be detaching at work and look to our new office space to explore ways in which we can shift from this disengagement of our values at work to create a playground where we are invited to embody our truth more and more of the time.

> Detached from our bodies – One fundamental way in which we connect to our purpose is by becoming infinitely curious about who we are and deepening our relationship with ourselves.  One gateway to do this is by exploring our bodies, freeing our bodies to move more naturally, healing wounds, strengthening weakness, stretching places that are bound, learning to listen to the wisdom of our bodies, opening channels for energy to flow freely and becoming more aligned period, to name a few.

New age mindfulness in work theory would say that this makes our brains more clear so we can do better work.  I would like to argue that doing better work is a side effect of becoming a more aligned human being. I would argue that more important than being able to cross more things off your to-do list, is deepening your ability to know who you are, what you need, what feels good, what serves you, where you are going, what matters in your bones.  From there we can do incredible work because it is coming from a place of truth and serving a deeper purpose.

In our new co-working office space we will be surrounded by invitations to be in our bodies.  From the way we sit or stand in front of a computer, to foam rollers and mats on the floor for moving and massaging our bodies. From having $5 yoga classes available all day long to heavily discounted massages – each day will be filled with opportunities to be in our bodies so that when we come home we don’t have to recover from a day at work, we can rejoice from a day of being connected to our souls.

> Detached from seasonality – Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm, hard work in the winter months, 2 days off, Quarters, Fiscal Years.  Our language isolates us from our environment, a language which represents a system completely separate from the agricultural calendar which has guided humans beings to live more deeply, more successfully, more connected to the earth and to their families for ages. We talk about quarters and have no idea when the seasons are.  We celebrate national holidays over solstices and equinoxes.  We pretend that our environment isn’t an important factor of… life. Our environment is life. We don’t just come from nature, we are nature and to separate from the natural cycles of the world is to separate from ourselves.

In our new office space we will be invited to plan meetings, events, projects and day to day activity based on the moon calendar and based on the most beneficial times for us as human beings to do certain kinds of activities at more effective times of day.  Since we, as a community will all be participating to some degree in this new (also very old) way of working, it will be easier for us to shift into this healthier way of interacting with the world.

> Detached from the people that inspire us –  Being surrounded by people that inspire us drives creativity and learning. At many workplaces we are either surrounded by people who are exactly like us or who we have no connection to us at all because bottom lines and numbers on a resume are what tend to drive hiring.

Because the co-working space is curated, we will be surrounded by people that compliment each other’s skills, needs and most importantly, energy.  We will be spending days with people that truly inspire us and teach us, and host events with even more people who do the same.  When you fully embrace the temporary nature of life, who you spend the majority of your waking hours with matters.

> Put value in the way other people measure success – When we’re part of a bigger economy, a capitalist system, a patriarchy, we are pulled into measuring our worth and our value based on what the system determines is most important. We spend more time in the realm of what capitalism thinks is important than we do checking in with ourselves about what is meaningful to us.

What if we celebrated a balanced work life? What if we celebrated feeling healthy and happy while we work over working late nights?  What if we celebrated stress free days and vacations without worry? What if we stopped listening to old measurements of success and trusted what we know to be true is most important to us?

> View work as our mission – An ironic side of detachment at work is when we think that work is our purpose in life and when it is not simply a way in which we fulfill our purpose.  When we see work as our purpose then we get caught up with all the drama, all the stories and all the fluctuations of work.  We bring it home, we measure our value on the ever changing ups and downs of our job. Work becomes our measurement of who we are when we think of work AS our purpose.

When we see work as a powerful way to fulfill our purpose, not the purpose itself, then we can take everything with a grain of salt.  We can roll with the ups and downs because we know that there is a bigger purpose behind what we are doing. When we see work as our purpose it’s hard to connect to our purpose outside of work.  When we see work as way to fulfill our purpose, the mundane takes on a sort of sacredness.

> We stop growing – Success and growth in a financial sense dominates our growth as human beings.  As humans we thrive when we are growing, when our edge is challenged.  We discover who we are in the face of creative stimulation.  When we stop valuing our growth as individuals in the place that we spend the majority of our time we become starved.

One of our core values in our new workspace is to create an environment for learning by facilitating workshops for each other, supporting each other in endeavors and bringing in outside inspiration and information that push the edge.  We know what we are doing is radical and can’t wait to experience the growth that happens when entering something new, powerful and exploratory.

> We become isolated – The wellness community is suffering from isolation in their work, which means stifled healing for all.  While some companies are adapting to more tribal systems of interaction and understanding the value of collaboration and team building, wellness practitioners and healers are being isolated to do their work without the support of the community.  Healers need support as much if not more so than anyone and our society needs healers to be healthy more than we ever have.

We are creating a space in which we celebrate community and support not only entrepreneurs but the people who care for the spiritual backbone of society.

> We become detached from our immediate environment – Office spaces are filled with horrible light and an unfriendly atmosphere.  We spend most of our days in a space that doesn’t fill us with a sense of comfort which means that our beings are on edge all day long.

We are designing a space that upon entering you feel like you’re home.  A space that invites clarity and calmness into the body.  A space that feels both flexible and grounded, inspired and easeful, nourishing and stimulating. Where we spend our time is as important as who we spend our time with and in both cases we want to have our whole being feel taken care of in a place that we will spend so much time.

In the creation of this new space, our meetings have been focusing on our values and problem solving for these issues above. The process of creating a space that embodies all of these beliefs begins by holding to, uncovering and honoring the journey of this creation. If we are aiming to create a space which holds these values, than the way in which we create this space is fundamentally a part of how that happens.  The beautiful thing about creating something new is that it is such an opportunity to hold integrity in every single decision.  It is such an opportunity to honor the most mature version of our hearts in a physical space that others can feel empowered to do realize their highest self.

We can’t wait to share what we are working on with the world and have you over to our space for a chai from the Himalayan restaurant downstairs or a walk into the gourmet ghetto or a midday foam roller meeting.








Ben Crosky

Ben is on the board at KulaWorks - A revolutionary new co-working space that is part of YogaKula in the heart of Berkeley's gourmet ghetto.