At FlatironCity we love having a workplace that reflects our members' interests and goals, whether this ranges from meditation to happy hour to yoga. Our yoga class, open to members for free at Wednesdays at noon is taught by Christine Provine - we sat down with her to hear about her practice and why she teaches. She's also an entrepreneur, so she gets the vibe at FlatironCity and why it's important to take a break mid-week.
Tell us about yourself.
When did you start teaching yoga?
July of 2011. At the time there were only a handful of studios in Atlanta. I started out by teaching community classes on the Candler Park Golf Course. It was a beautiful natural setting for a yoga class, birds chirping, trees blowing in the wind and the occasional golf ball whizzing by. (those were the days)
Why did you start practicing?
In my early years I trained to be a professional ballerina. After a badly broken ankle abruptly changed my career path, I found my way to yoga as a alternative that still involved flexibility, strength and movement. Shortly after I started practicing, I was drawn more to the philosophical elements of yoga as a way of living. Finding an ethical vocation, helping others, mindful speech, mindful action, mental well-being, healthy eating, personal development - all inspired my decision to become a yoga student and eventually a teacher.
Why is it important for entrepreneurs to take time out of their day to practice?
Ah! there are so many ways that yoga can benefit the entrepreneur! As I am one myself, I find that yoga is essential for my overall well-being. Here are a few benefits to highlight...
Mental well-being - Entrepreneurs spend so much of their time in constant activity that they often have little time to quiet the mind, reflect and observe the big picture. The practice of yoga, meditation and breathing is like when you stop shaking the snow globe and allow the substance to settle so that you can see clearly what is inside. By bringing your focus to something simple, such as breathing in and out or transition between postures, you allow your mind to find a clear focus and a stable rhythm. To find harmony and order in life, we must be able to balance the
Letting go - It can help entrepreneurs get out of their head for a bit. Whether you're leading a project, a team or having to make executive decisions, taking an hour of your day to practice yoga allows you to get lost in the flow and the rhythm for a short time. If you're being instructed in a class, it gives you the opportunity to experience playing the role of your employees and not having to be in control 100% of the time.
Leadership - Yoga is a challenge at any level. Whether your challenge is to get upside down, hold a balance or to quiet your mind chatter as you lie in savasana, the practice of yoga teaches us to have courage, discipline, strength, serenity and compassion on the mat - qualities of a good leader. Starting from your own inner work and personal development so you can be the best in your role. Everything you do on your mat - is a reflection of what you do off of your mat. Seriously. You can look at how you approach challenges or poses that make you uncomfortable and examine your mental process. It's incredible how connected these two experiences are.
Creativity - Creativity is often at it's best when you are in your "flow state". When intuition exceeds your problem solving mind. If you're in a field that encourages you to be creative or imaginative, yoga practice can help create the space for those ideas to appear. The dynamic movement can help you find your "flow" and tap into that intuitive space. For myself - I find that space when my breath, movement, thought, and sensation are all in alignment and I'm no longer thinking about what's next - it just comes, it flows.
Energy + Rejuvenation - Exercise and rest are essential to living a healthy or holistic life. By giving yourself 60min of yoga in the middle of your day, you accomplish both. Through the physical practice of asanas, you build endurance, strength, cardio and flexibility. Are you sitting at a desk all day? What better way to relieve pressure or tension in your back and hips. Do you always find yourself going for that 3:00pm cup of coffee? All you need is a little inversion to help with blood circulation and to increase your energy level. The wind down at the end of yoga practice allows your body to relax into a stretch, your heart rate to slow down, your mind to quiet - eventually getting to that last pose (savasana) where you basically get a 5 minute nap time to reset, recharge and rejuvenate so you can take on the rest of your work day.
Where do you teach outside of Flatiron?
Atlanta Hot Yoga, Evolation Yoga and I have regular private lessons. Recently I started teaching Goat Yoga at Serenbe Animal Farm. New territory and challenge for me as a yoga instructor, but the goats are excellent students.
Any favorite teaching stories?
Something that happened a couple weeks ago - I was teaching the Saturday morning community class at Woodruff Park. I was already excited to have new students in the group- 2 guys that had never attempted yoga before and came to class with their mats still in plastic wrap. We all had the best time, lots of laughs, everyone getting into their groove. I looked up about half way through class to see a woman (who had likely slept in the park that night before) joining in some of our exercises from a distance. She did the rest of the class with us from where she was standing and then went on her way. It was a reminder to continue to help share light, to inspire and to help people realize that they too matter. This is why I teach.