Wellbeing exercises and practices – such as physical exercise, receiving massage, aromatherapy or other complementary therapies, can all increase employee happiness and health – as can wellbeing initiatives, such as free gym membership, weight loss and stop smoking challenges. And it’s proved that improved happiness and health do enhance employee performance.
Sherpa’s three wellbeing practices will also do that for you. But they will also enhance performance further, in and of themselves, because at the same time as being relaxing and enjoyable, they are potent forms of mental and emotional training that enable you to take charge of any mental or emotional obstacles to sustained high performance:
1. Pure Meditation Foundation
Learning and then practising Pure Meditation Foundation enables the practitioner to quickly re-connect with calmness, presence, positivity and therefore clarity of mind. The more they practice (e.g. 10-15 minutes daily, once or twice a day), the more quickly they will be able to make this re-connection and the stronger that calmness, presence, positivity and clarity will become in their everyday lives.
Aka: resilience and emotional control.
Because it requires focus, practising meditation regularly also improves the ability to focus and concentrate – essential, but often overlooked, basic cognitive skills.
Like all of Sherpa’s wellbeing and performance-enhancing practices, Pure Meditation Foundation is essentially a Mindfulness practice.
But unlike standard Mindfulness meditations (such as the Mindfulness of breathing or body scanning), PMF has added elements: inward affirmation and visualisation components that are repeated in harmony with the breath. These added elements harness more of the power of the mind to create deeper calmness and inner peace, more authentic positivity and more powerful presence than standard Mindfulness practices. How do we know this? Because we have taught both extensively and there is a clear difference in terms of the quality of practitioner experiences.
2. Transformation Yoga
You might be surprised that given that Transformation Yoga is an integral component of our training package, we didn’t mention ‘physical training’ above. Well, we teach Yoga differently. For us, although there are clear physical benefits from TY practice, the most important outcomes from TY practice are energy, vitality, clarity and motivation.
In fact, contrary to popular belief, the main aim of Transformation Yoga is not about being able to get into the full posture. (This should also be the case for any true Yoga.) Rather, it is about:
a) Stretching to the point for the optimum flow of life-energy (vitality; also called ‘prana’ in yoga and ‘Chi’ in T’ai Chi) through your body – without straining or hurting yourself. This might not be very far and that’s okay. The stretches will still be energising. Feeling more energised and vitalised is naturally motivating.
b) Harmonising each and every movement you do with the breath (this, in itself, has a marvellously balancing effect on you, immediately bringing peace, presence and clarity). Focusing on both stretching to the point for the optimum flow of vitality and harmonising this with breathing greatly develops focus and concentration.
c) Keeping a good posture throughout. This means keeping the spine aligned and not bending it or twisting it in ways that reduce or cut off the flow of vital energy or, of course, in ways that might damage it. Moving safely is paramount. Postural knowledge and awareness can then be taken into your work and life.
3. Optimal Breathing
Like our Transformation Yoga, the Optimal Breathing we teach – as the third component of our standard training package – is easy, accessible and inclusive. We teach several easy breathing practices, from the Yoga tradition, that:
a) immediately reduce stress levels; i.e. within seconds; restoring clarity and good decision-making capabilities.
b) remind your nervous system of your respiratory system’s natural breathing rhythm and movement (sometimes ‘lost’ or ‘forgotten’ by our bodies during or even after long periods of stress), restoring physiological equilibrium.
Regular practice of Optimal Breathing will enable your nervous system to switch from its sympathetic mode (flight/fight/survival) to its default parasympathetic mode (rest, heal, restore, calm, clarity) much more easily and quickly than virtually all other methods we know of.
c) release tension in the chest; thereby freeing up breathing more and potentially increasing lung capacity. Enhancing breathing in this way purifies our circulatory systems – oxygenating and therefore revitalising internal organs. This includes invigorating the brain – thereby enabling enhanced mental focus, clear strategic and creative thinking and clear decision-making.
d) boost the immune system (linked to b. restoring physiological equilibrium). Our cells can much better fight off viruses and bacteria when they are sufficiently oxygenated. The result: less illness, better performance.
Getting ourselves locked into flight/fight mode unnecessarily means oxygen is concentrated in muscles (ready for action) whilst our vital organs can become starved, inefficient and, over the longer term, diseased.
Thousands of studies worldwide now demonstrate that Meditation improves cognitive abilities and reduces stress, Yoga improves health, energy and motivation, Breath Enhancement practices improve focus, clear thinking and decision-making.
See our comprehensive Evidence base page for many of these studies.