Apply these on-the-mat lessons to your off-the-mat job search.

When you’re in the deep trenches of job seeking, the last thing you’re likely thinking about is yoga. You probably have more pressing issues to deal with. Perhaps you’re worried about how to pay next month’s rent or can’t shake that the dreadful feeling you’ll never find employment again.

Yoga can help these worries and job-hunting related stressors in more ways than one. It’s a great way to break away from the job hunting boards to refresh your mind and body. And, it provides some powerful lessons along the way:

1. Flexibility is key

While you don’t have to be flexible to do yoga, it helps. The more you practice, the more flexible you become.

Job seeking is similar. Being flexible in your search and related activities will help you see open doors where you may not be looking. Sticking to a rigid job seeking routine takes impressive determination, but it could also be limiting your potential.

The universe works in strange ways. That person you didn’t stop to talk to because you had a routine to follow could’ve been a door you chose not to walk through. These proverbial doors can be anywhere.

Be open to the possibilities, be flexible in your day and remain curious about where opportunities may be hiding. Consider applying for jobs outside of your field, brainstorm how you could create your own dream job, take your search beyond the traditional job boards (Twitter, anyone?) and get out there and network.

2. Embrace the journey

This may be the hardest of all. We’re always focused on the end goal. Looking for a job is time consuming, tedious and frustrating. Embracing the journey seems impossible, but at least entertain the idea of enjoying each step of the process.

Can you find any benefits to being unemployed? Or if you hate your job and are looking for a new one, maybe there’s a reason to hold on for a bit longer. Stay open to finding the message or important life lesson in the job hunting experience.

Think about what you’ve applied for, the people you’ve met and what you can see yourself doing next. Take it one day at a time. One application after the other. Take each rejection or milestone as they come.

One potentially disastrous outcome of letting desperation rule your search for employment is that you could end up in the wrong job. Attempting to embrace the journey will allow you to stay focused on letting the process unfold as it will and taking the opportunity that is right for you.

3. Breathe through the difficult periods

In a challenging yoga pose, as in much of life, we forget to breathe. Yes, breathing is an involuntary action, but in yoga, the goal is to do it consciously.

The poses become easier if you anchor your breathing. If you get into a tight pose, breathe into your low belly or into the spot of discomfort. Where your attention goes, your energy will follow.

In stressful situations, such as job seeking, remembering to breathe into the discomfort can help you relax, feel better and reduce tension-related illnesses (such as tension headaches).

If job seeking gets to be too much, go for a walk or do something you enjoy to clear your head and reconnect with your mission. Sometimes taking a moment to breathe is all that’s needed.

4. Have faith in your abilities

Sometimes yoga students need an experienced teacher to guide them into more challenging poses. They may think they can’t do it, but with some guidance and faith in themselves, crazy things are possible.

We often don’t give ourselves enough credit in our abilities. It’s not easy to suddenly believe you’re awesome (p.s. you are!), but luckily, you can fake it to start. The human brain doesn’t distinguish between a real smile and a fake smile. Similarly, just telling yourself how awesome you are can make you believe it.

Take a little time each day, or throughout the day, to remind yourself of your awesomeness. Take stock of what you’re capable of, what you have to offer employers and what obstacles you’ve overcome to get to this place. And beyond just believing in yourself, practice applying for jobs and interviewing with confidence.

5. Beware of your mind playing tricks on you

We all think the mind is so great and powerful, and it is! We have the ability to learn and create and do all these wonderful things—but the mind is not always an ally.

It tries to tell us we’re not good enough, pretty enough, young enough or smart enough. Applying for jobs with that mentality is destructive.

For whatever job or career you aspire to, take steps every day to get there and notice what your mind is doing. Just being aware of destructive thoughts or habits is enough (you don’t have to try to ignore them or actively change them). Recognize them as your mind trying to hold you back. As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”

The hardest part of yoga is dealing with the mind. It’s as if the mind’s job is to distract us from our goals and lead us off our path. Notice when your mind is playing these tricks on you and don’t give in.

Repeat after me: “I am enough, I have enough, I do enough. I will find a job I love.” And breathe.

Amber Erickson Gabbey, MA, is a freelance writer, holistic health expert and yoga instructor. She blogs at Mindfully Written with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to be their healthiest selves.


  1. Sebastian Daniels

    I think the hardest part is getting over that negative mind. At least it is for me. It is my nemesis. It is the cunning devil in the back of the room. It devises clever tricks to let me know I’m not good enough. Being aware of the self-defeating behaviors is my first priority.

    The rest of them are also good. I think being open to the possibilities and embracing the journey are very important. You need to be able to be open to possibilities in order to think outside of the box and that is one of the most valuable skills.

    Good article.

    • Amber Erickson Gabbey

      Glad you found it useful Sebastian, even if only a reminder. Sometimes we have to hear this stuff over and over before it sinks in or makes any sense. Congrats on being aware of that cunning mind

      • Sebastian Daniels

        Oooh definitely. It takes a long time for it to sink in. Constant practice just like everything else. I have done yoga a couple of times and have really enjoyed it. Have you read the book Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach?

        Thanks for the response. I look forward to checking out your blog.

  2. dave jones

    i love yoga with p90.


    by Turmeric

  3. dave jones

    awesome read!

    by Genus

  4. 5 Ways Yoga Can Help Your Job Search

    […] Read more at Brazen Careerist… […]

  5. Dealing with Stress from a New Job | College and Career Blog - Westwood College

    […] Brazen Life: 5 Yoga Lessons To Apply To Your Job Hunt […]

  6. friv

    It is the use of yoga, or you can set the other sports, sport is good for life and our work

  7. Get Your Yoga On | Heather Sieve

    […] her May 2013 Brazen Life blog post, Amber Erickson Gabbey writes about 5 ways yoga can help blast stress during a job search. Check it […]

  8. 5 Yoga Lessons to Apply to Your Job Hunt | Mindfully WrittenMindfully Written

    […] Note: This post first appeared on Brazen Life, a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. See the original post on Brazen Life. […]

  9. Friv

    Great post! I need it!

  10. kizi

    need a supple body to set it

  11. Dealing with Stress from a New Job

    […] Brazen Life: 5 Yoga Lessons To Apply To Your Job Hunt […]

Comments are closed.