Monday, February 11, 2019
A bit over three years ago, I publicly noted in this space that I am an active yoga practitioner. In a post on "Mindfulness and Legal Drafting for Business Lawyers (A Yoga Analogy)," I wrote about common touchpoints in an asana practice (what many folks just call "yoga") and contract drafting, sharing thoughts that had first come to me after a yoga class one weekend. In my three-part 2017 series of "Traveling Business Law Prof" posts on packing for business travel, I also mentioned my asana practice here and here.
Today, I set out to start posting a bit more on the intersections of yoga and business law teaching and practice. I will have help from BLPB co-blogger Colleen Baker, a fellow yogi. In fact, it is Colleen who has spurred this on. We have shared a bunch of ideas on things to write about.
I begin with the news that I now am a Registered Yoga Teacher with a 200-hour certification. I set out to achieve that goal about 18 months ago, after a discussion (at the wedding of a former student) with the life partner of a UT Law alum who is about 30 years my junior. She got me really excited about the prospect by mentioning an upcoming training program that she had investigated. We became Facebook friends, and the rest is, as they say, history. That's us in the picture above, on on graduation day. (Please don't criticize the form! My arms should be perpendicular to the floor. We were having fun goofing around after passing our exams, as you can see from my attention to the camera!)
My desire to complete a teacher training program was borne in part from a desire to deepen my practice. But the core impetus came from wanting to share yoga practice with others--in particular, my faculty and staff colleagues and students at UT Law. The benefits I get from my yoga practice are substantial. They include participation in a more active lifestyle, self care, stress management and relief, increased focus, and other things that I know are useful to those who inhabit law schools. Of course, I understood that I could share my yoga practice with others without the teacher certification. However, I knew that my credibility--with my Dean and others--would be greater with the 11 months of training capped off by a written and practical exam.
Somewhat less than three weeks ago, with permission from my Dean, I started leading a regular early Friday morning yoga practice at UT Law for faculty, staff, and students. I lead the sessions free of charge. We have had three sessions so far. I move some furniture around to create space for our regular sessions in a common area of the law school. I also plan to lead some pop-up sessions from time to time (perhaps in other areas of the law school building or even outside once the weather improves) to reach folks who cannot make the early Friday classes. My focus so far has been slow, controlled, thoughtful movement through basic poses (asanas) and breath work (pranayama)--two of the eight limbs of yoga.
I am far from the first person to engage folks in yoga practice in a law school setting. I read with interest this article from several years ago on yoga instruction at my law alma mater (and how yoga practice can help develop professional skills). A quick Google search reveals yoga recently being offered at Chicago and Columbia and having been offered in the past at Harvard and Marquette. I sense there is more out there . . . . I am sure that Colleen and Haskell have information about yoga in the business school setting, too. I know our campus offers a Yoga Fest in the fall. And I will be teaching two free classes to campus faculty at the request of the Faculty Senate over the next month.
In future posts, Colleen and I hope to cover other topics near and dear to business law profs and our friends, including potentially posts focusing on yoga and lawyers, lawyering, legal analysis, law firms, business, teaching, mental health, and injury prevention. (What am I missing from our conversation, Colleen?) Readers should feel free to share their interests and add to the list.