The Yoga Guide to Negotiating Salary

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: December 29, 2014

Feeling at Ease with Negotiating

Here’s a test. Over the past year, what has been the typical response when you ask people “How’ve you been?” My guess is that very few answer, “Actually, I’ve been incredibly relaxed, calm, and productive.” Most likely they say, “I’m so busy!” “Things have been so crazy!” “I’m so swamped at work!” “I’m exhausted and busy and crazy!” I could go on.

So when the end of the year rolls around, it seems that is the time that people finally set aside time to be with family, unplug from the working world, relax and recover. But what if you could feel more relaxed year round? Maybe that’s where yoga comes in.

Let me start out by making one thing clear… I’m not a yoga guy. At least not yet. I’ve only tried it a handful of times, my downward dog feels shaky, and I don’t own any stock in Lululemon. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to run, I go to the gym, and I try to do some stretches when I can. But otherwise I fall into the category that a lot of people can identify with, and that’s saying, “You know, maybe I SHOULD be one of those people that does yoga.”

So as we end the year and people think about relaxing and recovery and work goals and life goals, I started to notice some similarities between yoga and negotiation. Ok, so maybe it’s a bit of a stretch (insert groan here), but stick with me. Let’s take a look at three quick ways the two topics are connected.

It's a Lifelong Skill

When it comes to exercise, everyone knows it’s something they should do. Heck, the entire fitness industry is gearing up to assault us in January, offering well-meaning individuals annual gym memberships that statistically won’t get used at any point after Easter.

Anyone remember the basketball player Robert Parish? While Larry Bird will go down as a basketball legend, it’s Parish that actually owns the NBA record in total games played over an astonishing 21-year career. “The Chief” was doing yoga in the early 80s long before athletes had year-round personal trainers, something that definitely contributed to an injury-free career that lasted until the age of 43. Ditto for fellow center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who started doing yoga in 1976, played for 20 seasons, and ended up as the NBA’s all-time scoring leader.

And while we’re talking sports, the 2013 Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks were big news in the yoga community after an ESPN the Magazine article talked about the team’s commitment to yoga.

Learning how to negotiate is a skill that will pay off over your entire life as well. A professional that learns how to negotiate starting at age 21 and does so throughout their career will literally earn millions dollars more over their lifetime. Take a long-term view.

Tip: If you’re one of the people looking to cash in on a New Years deal on fitness or yoga, now is the time to do it. “Keep an eye out for deals on Groupon and compare the generous packages being offered to start the new year,” says Julie Balter, a yoga enthusiast and the owner of YogiAfterForty.com. “Also, if you are on a budget, many studios offer special community classes that are by donation. And if you live in a temperate climate, you’re sure to find free classes in public parks. Yoga is for everyone.”

It's Practiced by High Performers

Studies have shown that the human body can’t maintain peak performance when constantly pushed to the limit. Sure, you can string together some 12-hour days or 50-60 hour weeks when a huge project is due, but it’s simply unsustainable to do that over the long haul without burning out. Achieving balance in life by breaking up periods of hard work with periods of relaxation such as yoga and meditation is key.

Balter notes a new trend in the work environment. Some progressive companies such as advertising agencies and even major corporations such as General Mills offer meditation rooms or mindfulness classes as an on-the-job incentive.

When you’re able to cultivate an even-keel attitude, mental stamina, and achieve peak performance on the job, you’ll be able to stand out from your peers. It’s a fact of life that not everyone in the office is going to get paid the same for the same job. When it’s time to walk into your boss’ office and ask for that raise, you’re going to need to prove that you are a top performer.

Silence is Golden

Mobile phones, chat windows, text alerts, screaming toddlers… our lives are constantly filled with noise and distractions. Practicing yoga even a few times a week will allow you to take the time to calm your racing mind.

At the negotiation table, learning how to use silence can yield fantastic results. In the few seconds after receiving an offer, stating what you’re worth, or confidently talking about your accomplishments, leaving a period of silence can have a powerful effect. Your counterpart will have a tendency to rush and fill the silence, often disclosing information or offering a more lucrative option.

A long-term yoga practice (and key principal) teaches philosophy of detachment from outcome, and the ability to master control when our emotions run high. This is a key component of negotiation.

Wrapping Up

In short, now is the time of year that many people think about relaxing, recovering, making money, and saving money.

“Yoga is an easy, accessible, and enjoyable way to practice self-care in your down-time, and have it have a positive impact when you return. It can be as simple as a 10-20 minute home practice, a quick beach retreat, or an all-out ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ adventure,” says Balter. (I was surprised when she showed me wellness packages at resorts like Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas for under $150/night during high season).

Take the time to improve your mind, body, and your financial well-being, and you’ll set yourself up for success in 2015 and beyond.

When You're Ready to Negotiate, Salary.com Can Help

Once you've stretched your negotiating muscles and warmed up with some yoga, it's time to actually get in there and negotiate. And Salary.com can help you get paid fairly what you do.

The first thing you should do is research, so you're able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what's a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.

Good luck.

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