Stretch Break Sequence

It’s more than just a stretch. 🙆🏻‍♀️

I was honored to speak and lead a stretch break at the B Corp Champions Retreat in Philadelphia. I stood in front of 787 Founders, CEOs, and influential leaders from all industries, including Patagonia, Danone, and more.

We spoke about the future of business. Specifically, how do we rectify the more significant systemic issues of climate justice and racial equity at work? These great movements toward equality require both thought-provoking and uncomfortable conversations. ZaaS was asked to be the grounding force at this conference.

stretch break

Rewind to the night before. I was sitting next to a woman on the shuttle to the after-party. She was head of Human Resources at a medium-sized B Corp. I asked what she thought of the event so far. 

“I feel both excited and overwhelmed. We need more racial equity in our office. I get excited when we talk about these topics at conferences. Then I get home, and I don’t know where to start.”

She wasn’t the only one to say this. It was clear during the plenaries and breakout groups that we all wanted the same thing. So why is this so overwhelming?

“To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our work,  because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.” – Thomas Merton.

It’s easy to get lost in the frenzy of activism if we aren’t centered within ourselves. So, when you get overwhelmed, here’s how you center yourself. 

Why this Stretch Break sequence works. 

This sequence combines poses that are grounding, opening, and centering for the nervous system. Where the body goes, the mind follows. It’s easier to first embody these qualities physically so that you can cultivate these qualities mentally.

stretch break

Stretching on Solid Ground

Standing poses are very grounding for the nervous system. The weight of frenetic energy falls towards our feet when we stand. 

Poses 1-10 are all done standing to lay the foundation for getting the present. 

Staying Open

stretch break

Turning our attention inwards doesn’t mean we ignore everything around us. On the contrary, it’s important to harmonize our internal environment to create a matching outer environment.  

Poses 2, 3, 4, 5, and 9 are opening and energizing for the nervous system. Pose 5, in particular, allows you to remain receptive (chest open) while turning your attention inward (forward fold). These poses will keep the mind open while keeping our attention inward. 

Centering

Staying present is an ongoing practice. It’s how we stay centered while having an uncomfortable conversation. It’s how we keep our cool when we witness or unknowingly commit harmful behavior. 

Poses 1, 7, 8, and 10 bring balance to the physical body. When the body acts, the mind follows. These poses help focus the mind, so you’re more effective afterward. 

In conclusion

Practices like yoga and meditation DO NOT solve these bigger issues alone. We cannot meditate our way into clean waters or racial equality. However, practicing yoga helps keep us grounded so we can bring our most brilliant minds forward. 


ZaaS | Zen as a Service offers yoga and meditation services to B Corps and large companies worldwide. Join us!