Welcome to my Tall Poppies series where I share interviews with inspiring women, creating unique businesses. This week I spoke with digital marketing consultant and yoga teacher, Krissa Ludvigsen, about keeping wellness in the spotlight while pursuing different creative roles. We discuss the influence of a regular yoga practice, finding your own alignment and how to focus when working for yourself. In this interview you learn from real-life experiences and find tips on how to incorporate these life lessons to your own routine.
Tell us a little about yourself
I have a full-time job marketing job here in Norway, but the cool thing is that I have flexible hours and location which allows me to continue doing some freelance work on the side. I teach yoga at a local studio called Leela Yoga.
How do you stay balanced while pursuing all the pathways of your life and business?
Yoga is the underlying thread in my life and it keeps me grounded. One of the most important things it has given me is the clarity of mind to really know myself (as much as that’s possible), how I feel, what I want. And because “balance” is something that I want in my life, that is exactly how I plan my days and my weeks and my years.
How do you use your yoga practice to support your entrepreneurial spirit?
As a student and on a physical level, yoga keeps me fit and healthy. Touch wood, but I haven’t been sick at all in the last year and ever since moving to Norway! On a mental level, pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation help clear my mind completely and approach each day with fresh eyes and a clean slate. On a spiritual level, it gives me perspective and the courage to trust in the moment.
As a teacher, teaching yoga has also given me a certain amount of confidence to present new ideas and concepts to a large group of people, to become sensitive to people’s moods, expressions and body language. The business of teaching yoga was also my earliest training grounds in terms of having to brand and market myself, manage my funds, do my own invoicing, invest in myself and continued professional development and training.
What is your routine for getting in the right headspace to create?
I always spend at least 20-30 minutes doing my breathing and meditation every day. I can sometimes miss a physical practice because I’ve got too much on in the day, but I will rarely, rarely skip on my meditation. This clears my head. I also need a clean workspace, quiet environment (which enables me to turn on and off my music when I need)…and inbox zero! I have a checklist I work through each day, and I need to have gotten a few “itchy” or “nagging” things out of the way before I can sit down and do solid work for an extended period of time.
What would you recommend for anyone launching their business? What should they focus on when putting their ideas out to the world?
Write everything down! All your ideas, thoughts, concepts… no matter how small, write them down. This gives you a record of how your thinking has progressed, and also helps your minds to see things more clearly when they are not loose, intangible clouds floating around in your head. Research. Find mentors. Start with something small and manageable, then scale up as you need. Otherwise, if you are thinking about everything that ever was, is and could be – all at the same time… it becomes too much and will drive you nuts.
“One thing at a time. Get feedback from people. Try putting your idea into a powerpoint presentation or “deck” of some sort. The act of organising your thoughts onto slides and then sharing that with someone will help make it clear to you what it is you are trying to say and sell. Start with WHY.”
How do you combine both your mindful practices in yoga with the constraints of the business world? Is there a cross-over between the two worlds?
Definitely. I like the idea that there are “conscious” and “human” businesses just like there are “conscious” and “human” (or should I say “humane”!) people as well. It makes sense if you think about it. ALL businesses are run by people. So if you want to do business well, start with the people. And if you want to learn how to treat people well, then yoga helps.
Yoga was never invented to make people more flexible or stand on their hands or lose weight or get six packs. Those are all side effects. When yoga was invented over 5,000 years ago, it was a contemplative, meditative and spiritual practice whereby people were trying to come to terms with their selves: “Who am I?” “Where do I come from?” “Why I am here” “Why is the world like this?”… “What is my role?”…
“When you are more aware of your self, it makes it easier to understand other people. When you know how to pause, and take a deep breath, you rush less into things and instead come with a plan. When you can see the bigger picture, the context and environment of a situation, it’s easier to solve problems. Because you start at the root instead of the symptom.”
What drives you?
The idea that I can only live this particular life, with these particular people, in these particular circumstances… once. So what have I got to lose? Also this quote: “Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it’s inspiring.”
Any tips for other business owners on getting in the flow and finding their own practice?
Make time to understand yourself – whether it’s through yoga, meditation, mindfulness, therapy, books, writing, art, challenging experiences… whatever. Choose something that helps you shatter your ego, your pre-defined concepts of the world, all of your different layers so that you can almost start from scratch and actively choose who you want to be. Not who you think you are, or what other people expect you to be. When you know what inspires you and drives you, it’s easier to start. Because then you have an endless pool of inspiration to keep you going and pursuing your passions and ideas.
Educate yourself. Always keep learning and trying and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Doing something is better than nothing. Iterate and improve along the way.