How Yoga is Your Agile?

Whenever I need a place to go to relieve stress, re-prioritize, and re-focus on the big picture, I pull out my yoga mat.

When I was just a newbie to yoga, it only took a few classes for me to fall in love.
A few years later, my love for sharing the gift of yoga turned into a passion, and I decided to take it a step further.

Enter Yoga Teacher Training*

In 2009, I participated in a 200-hour yoga teacher training course.
The training stretched and flexed not only my body, but also my mind, my heart, and the way I see the world.

One of the things that happened as a result of that training was that I sometimes compare things from my life to yoga. (It can get kind of annoying sometimes, just ask my family.)

One of my other passions in life is finding better ways to do things in order to achieve our goals. This passion extended into finding more dynamic and effective ways of executing software development projects.

Enter Certified Scrum Master Training**

Aaah, I can see how brilliant you are – you’ve already guessed that I’m about to compare agile software development to yoga, haven’t you?

Alright then, here goes:

  1. Similar to Yoga, Agile is not a religion.
    Nowhere in the Book of Agile does it state that you have to be a certain type of agile, or even be agile, or else go to Project Management hell. (Ok maybe it says something about better ways of doing software but let’s just ignore that!)
  2. Similar to yoga, you can only get better at implementing agile by checking in with your system (team) on a daily basis, asking the right questions, and learning to live with and accept constant change and occasional discomfort.
  3. Just as there are Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram, and other flavors of yoga, there are different flavors (frameworks) for agile implementation.One is not better than the other, but each has characteristics that make it more or less suited to the needs of a particular team, project, or organization.
  4. Just as yoga can help improve your physical health by introducing discipline into your daily routine, agile can help improve organizational health by introducing discipline into software development practices and teamwork.
  5. Yoga can also help improve the quality of your life by allowing you to challenge your perceptions and stretch your mind, encouraging you to release what doesn’t serve you, and do more of what does. Similarly, agile can help improve the quality of an organization’s environment by challenging existing ways of management, and encouraging changes that emphasize quality of life and the importance of the team.

These are just some of the similarities I see between yoga and agile software development, and I would love to hear if you can think of any others!

Acknowledgements and BONUS video:

*Yoga Teacher Training: I am fortunate to have trained with some of the best yoga teachers and joyful human beings I have ever met at Yoga One Studio of San Diego, CA.
If you ever get a chance to attend a class with Michael Caldwell, Amy Caldwell, or Diana Beardsley, do jump on the opportunity, for you will be lighter and have more joy in your life simply by meeting them.

**Certified Scrum Master Training: This year, I had the fortune of training with Jimi Fosdick and Adam Weisbart of CollabNet.
These two make a great pair – they both truly possess a love and dedication to what they do, and I would recommend either of them in a heartbeat for your training needs.
Jimi is a great, inspirational speaker, mentor, and teacher who inspired me to get back on my agile mastery path.
Adam is the true embodiment of the agile scrum master, along with being innovative and creative.

BONUS video: You MUST see Adam’s Sh*t Bad Scrum Masters Say video!

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