From the Mat to Marketing: PR Lessons Learned from Yoga and Pilates

June 21st 2016

Dedicated yogis and diehard Pilates fans understand that at their core both practices are series of poses that work to train mind and body while promoting fundamental values. What PR professionals may not realize is that these same core values are actually essential tools that allow you to succeed in business and life. The parallels that can be drawn are seemingly endless but we’ve rounded up our favorite lessons that take you from the mat to the office and beyond.

Approach tasks with a clean slate

As a liberation teaching, yoga encourages people to rid themselves of the notions of “why we are” or “what we know.” In business it’s easy to fall into the trap of “this is how we always do it” and rely on formerly established practices and protocols. But just because an approach has worked in the past or is the standard protocol doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the most effective. Liberating the mind of pre-conceived notions allows us as PR professionals to approach each task – whether it’s an everyday meeting, a brainstorm or major project—with a positive and open approach. This in turn allows us to find fresh and innovative ways to achieve success for our clients.

Perfect small tasks to achieve big results

One of the foundational principles of pilates is about identifying and working the “smaller” muscle groups to increase stability and muscle tone. People mistakenly believe that their larger muscles are doing most of the work when exercising without stopping to realize that it’s the smaller muscles and knowing how to properly use them that will increase the efficacy of any move.  The same principal can be applied to teamwork at agencies – it’s impossible to properly succeed without each and every team member understanding the importance of mastering their tasks and how those “small” tasks impact the big picture.

Focus your energy

One of the 10 living principles of yoga, tapas, teaches the disciplined use of our energy.  Using your energy intelligently allows you to stay focused and enthusiastic about the task at hand. In PR, things are moving at a really fast pace and most of us are juggling multiple tasks alongside agency demands, making it difficult to focus on one priority at a time. Applying the principle of tapas can help – while it’s important to be able to switch gears quickly, it’s equally important to be able to focus all of your attention on your current project and see it through to completion. It’s easy to think that multi-tasking is a must-do but by pushing distractions aside and focusing on one task as a time, you’ll be more efficient and feel better about your work output at the end of the day.

Let it go

Yoga simply requires you to let go by staying present. It challenges you to try to balance in unusual poses and think about your to-do list and all of the what-ifs of the day at the same time. If you don’t clear your mind of these daily worries, you won’t be able to hold that pose for long, since balancing demands absolute focus and a still mind. Working in a fast-paced profession can mean our minds are constantly going a million miles a minute – it’s important to recognize when your thoughts have gone into overdrive or you’ve reacted extremely to a situation and you need a minute to refocus. Recognizing when you need to take a breath and clear your head or restructure workload is crucial to success in this industry. Stepping away from your desk allows you to reflect on events through new eyes and come back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day.


By Cynthia Patnode

Cynthia is an Account Supervisor in Mfa’s Consumer Products group, specializing in the development and execution of strategic communication campaigns, consumer product launches, and high profile events. With a longtime passion for working on brands at the intersection of fashion, beauty and wellbeing, Cynthia excels at garnering national awareness for niche brands and helping established organizations become more appealing to new audiences. She is currently working on mastering the art of holding a long term lotus position.

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