Julia here, WordPop’s PR consultant. For the past 10+ years, I’ve been a PR pro and yoga practitioner. A few years ago, I added “certified yoga teacher” to my credentials. Balancing between the two sometimes opposing roles of PR practitioner and yogi got me to thinking…what do they have in common? As it turns out, it’s a lot! Yoga isn’t just good for strengthening your body – here are 9 PR skills you can strengthen through yoga.
- Persistence – When I wanted to pop into a headstand in the middle of the room, without toppling, a teacher suggested I practice every. single. day. By applying this advice, I now stand topsy-turvy with confidence in the middle of a room full of yogis. PR can take similar persistence – never underestimate the power of follow up when you have a good idea and the right set of ears.
- Flexibility– I’m a planner and I like things to go as planned. This mental inflexibility mirrors my tight and inflexible muscles. As a yogi, I’ve found stretching consistently works to lengthen and maintain flexible hamstrings. As a PR pro, I’m constantly stretching my brain muscle to problem-solve when things don’t go according to plan. I also create a plan b (and maybe even a plan C), which makes things easier, when…inevitably…things go off course. For example, if we don’t get content approval in time, can we re-pitch what we’ve gathered at a later date or to a different reporter?
- Detachment from ego – When you’re trying to twist into a pretzel but you’re more of a dough ball, it’s helpful to detach from your sense of pride. Contrary to the myths perpetuated by Instagram, yoga is not about competing with the people around you or even comparing your body today to the way it was yesterday. It’s about accepting yourself as you are in the moment. As a PR pro, it can sometimes feel like your pitches are getting sucked into a black hole, but detach from your sense of ego. There are plenty of reasons why stories get passed by (something more urgent, a jam-packed inbox, time of day). As long as you’re sending relevant pitches to the right people, be persistent and don’t let a lack of response get you down.
- Discipline and enthusiasm – In yoga, these two are interconnected and driven by core strength. Translate that burning-abs feeling into fiery enthusiasm or passion for each endeavor you undertake. By strengthening your core, you can tap into your innate sense of discipline that helps you get things done in your busy professional life. As a PR pro, you have to stoke your fiery-passion for every single pitch in an effort to convince a journalist that their readers or viewers will view the topic with similar enthusiasm.
- Support from your kula – Your “kula” is your community. Through professional organizations and graduate school, I’ve cultivated a group of brilliant PR minds that I’ve tapped as resources on a number of occasions to help brainstorm solutions that worked. It’s also helpful to have good relationships with other local PR pros, especially those in similar industries, because we often collaborate.
- Intention setting– I usually kick off a yoga class by asking students to close their eyes, become aware of their breath, and set an intention for their time on the mat. This is a critical first step to any PR campaign but it can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Sometimes we learn about an initiative later than we’d like and we’re scrambling to catch up but it’s critical to take a step back. What’s the point of this initiative in the first place? By setting clear goals, you can make sure you are spending your time wisely and can identify success when it happens.
- Seeking insight from the primary texts– Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are a series of 198 aphorisms that form the foundation of our modern yoga practice. They’re a distillation of a bunch of other foundational texts…basically the ancient version of tweeting at conferences. Just as it’s important for yogis to crack a book from time to time, it’s important for PR pros to make the time to eat up the foundational texts of our profession. The AP Stylebook, Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style and Crystallizing Public Opinion by Edward L. Bernays are all worthwhile.
- Quiet your monkey mind! Speaking of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, one of the first sutras (in sanscrit) is “yogaś-citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ.” Translation: the purpose of yoga is to quiet your churning mind. We all have those days where we have flagged three hot items for the day, but somehow, even more urgent items keep piling up in the mailbox faster than we can read them. Here’s a tip for handling the chaos. It’s counterintuitive but separate yourself from the inbox. Take five minutes to close your eyes and notice your breath. You can even intentionally breathe in for four counts, out for four counts. Repeat, reset.