office yoga

Our core values are all about YOU.

This post was originally published as a guest post on the kind over matter blog on Tuesday 19 March 2013. The last time I wrote about Kindness in Business, I was writing about how better boundaries mean better business.

It's even easier to observe good boundaries when you know where they are. One of the best ways to get clear about this is to figure out your core values, and those of your business.

Core Values.

Sounds like such a business-speak term, doesn't it?

But really, you will have certain deeply held values that govern how you go about life. And business.

My three personal core values are safe, strong, and sovereign. I go through life living to those. For example, several times every day, I ask myself:

Am I safe, and am I doing anything to create safe (or unsafe) space for those around me? 

This is a very important value for me because I had an unsafe childhood. So I am always checking: am I creating safe space for myself, and for those I work with, those I have relationships with? One of the big ways people create UNSAFE space, apart from obvious forms of violence, is by not being clear on their values, and therefore allowing and creating violations.

My personal values aren't QUITE the same as the mm...Yoga!  business values. 

Sovereign shows up in both, but otherwise they are a little different. I must confess, it came as a bit of a surprise to me to find that the business values were not exactly the same as my personal values. But, really, of course they weren't going to be: mm...Yoga! exists to serve a group of people who have different needs to me, but as a group the needs are well served by these four values: Affordable, Accessible, Sovereign, Fun.

Let's take a look at Accessible.

It's very important, in the context of this business, that anyone feel welcome at a yoga class we are running, regardless of age, physical wellness, or level of experience. Loads of people SAY these things but then ask their students to do bendy stuff they really can't or shouldn't, or wear skimpy clothes that make people feel uncomfortable, or talk about bra-straps when there are men in the room, which is NOT an accessible way to give a man an instruction.

I try to make the classes accessible to as broad a range of people as possible by doing things like giving people detailed information on how their poses should feel and how they might feel if they needed to rest and joking about my own limitations so people feel comfortable to honour theirs.

I feel this is a way of showing true kindness to people - seeing them as they really are and showing acceptance for that.

It's funny how that went: by figuring out my core values, and the core values of my business, I found a way to show a great deal more kindness to myself, the people who work in the business with me, and also, most importantly, our clients.

I hope, and from your feedback (like the lovely note below) believe  we are getting this right - if not, you'll tell us, yes?


Nadine made a massive difference to us here at Microsoft through her corporate yoga program. Her intuitive and customised approach to each individual's levels of competency of yoga was amazing and valued by the beginners to advanced class participants. Her advice to listen to your body throughout the classes was welcomed as was her bubbly personality and wicked sense of humour!

Trudi Grant, Microsoft Australia

If you can sit + stand up from the floor, you will live longer.

Have you noticed the very strong squatting theme round here lately? Here's (another reason) why. Squatting develops musculo-skeletal fitness, in a way that, say, walking, doesn't.

When you are strong, supple, and balanced, things like sitting down on the floor and then getting back up are easy.

And there is evidence to suggest that this particular kind of fitness decreases your risk of mortality from ALL causes! Yeah, eventually we are all gonna die, but there's nothing wrong with putting that off as long as possible.

So, could you stand up from here?
So, could you stand up from here?

According to this article:

The test was a simple assessment of the subjects' ability to sit and then rise unaided from the floor. The assessment was performed in 2002 adults of both sexes and with ages ranging from 51 to 80 years. The subjects were followed-up from the date of the baseline test until the date of death or 31 October 2011, a median follow-up of 6.3 years.


Over the study period 159 subjects died, a mortality rate of 7.9%. The majority of these deaths occurred in people with low test scores - indeed, only two of the deaths were in subjects who gained a composite score of 10. Analysis found that survival in each of the four categories differed with high statistical significance. These differences persisted when results were controlled for age, gender and body mass index, suggesting that the sitting-rising test score is a significant predictor of all-cause mortality; indeed, subjects in the lower score range (C1) had a 5-6 times higher risk of death than those in the reference group (C4).


It is well known that aerobic fitness is strongly related to survival, but our study also shows that maintaining high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength, power-to-body weight ratio and co-ordination are not only good for performing daily activities but have a favourable influence on life expectancy.


Yeah. Time to get squatting. And yoga-ing in general, actually.

Have a great week.

Good squatting technique

  As I said on this blog last week, squatting is awfully good for you. Done right, of course.

I've found YET another article to support this. It has a great illustration, for one:


Also, it quotes Kelly Starrett who you are about to watch in the below video.

One Hundred Percent of people I see in the clinic with osteochondritis, flaking-off, osteochondral defects, chondral malasia- which is a softening of articular surfaces- usually with a meniscus injury….All these things are accompanied by people who are not squatting, they are knee bending…..They can’t squat, they have never been shown, it is their coaches fault, their PE teachers fault….They’re gonna have muted hip function and lead with the knees….The best way I know how to fix them is to teach them to squat. The squat magically cures knee pain.

I know this is an exaggeration but if we can teach people how to squat correctly it carries over to reducing shear forces in landing, walking stairs, improves running mechanics and a long list of benefits for your athletes or clients.

This is the best video I've ever found to explain good squatting technique. Granted, we yogis don't add those monstrous weights to our practices, but a good squat is a good squat, and a bad one...will hurt you. The monstrous weights mean that people HAVE to keep their technique 'clean' or they will get hurt a heck of a lot faster.

I've seen way too may people who have form like this girl - including me, with my sticky-outy ass! It can be corrected though, with the right movement cues.

The opposite is also true: round your lower back and 'tucking the tailbone' when squatting can lead to all manner of nasties, including lumbar disc compression. So, stick your ass out, but STABILISE your core by setting your legs up properly.

Watch and marvel.


Check it out, try it out, let me know what you think.