I'm being considered for an affiliate faculty position with the School of Management teaching business and marketing courses at Regis University and with that there's an online preparation course. I have a couple writing assignments for the course, so I decided to have a little fun with them...and take the opportunity to throw in a little yoga.
The purpose of this essay is to assess fit between Regis and me. With the background info I provided in the essay, I hope you're able to appreciate these connections:
- how two seemly unrelated disciplines--yoga and the Jesuit mission--share parallel concepts
- how I would align my experience (i.e., work, school and yoga!) with the Regis mission as an affiliate faculty member
After Ignatius of Loyola (a.k.a. Iggy) recovered from a cannon ball injury in the Battle of Pamplona, he spent the next several years in deep meditation and wrote about his reflections on God and relationships. As a raised/practicing Catholic that is a yoga practitioner and certified yoga instructor, I have to ask—was Iggy a yogi, too?
In today’s modern society, the masses generally view yoga as a form of exercise or a workout. In Patanjali’s historical “Yoga Sutras,” the collection of aphorisms that define yoga, yoga postures are meant to be preparation for meditation. I believe Iggy practiced his own brand of yoga. He went through the “postures” or the steps that it took for him to be able to meditate deeply and ultimately act on founding the Society of Jesus (the Jesuit religious order of the Roman Catholic Church).
In the faculty preparation course content, Dr. Marie Friedemann talks about alignment. As a prospective faculty member, my discipline and philosophy of teaching adults should align with the goals and educational mission of Regis University. As it turns out, the concept of alignment runs deep in yoga. If my physical alignment is off while practicing yoga, I could potentially injure myself. If my mental alignment is off during practice, I could possibly miss the cognitive benefits of meditation. Likewise, if my philosophical alignment of teaching and mission is off while facilitating a Regis course, my class and I could miss out on realizing the characteristics that make learning/teaching at Regis unique.
I believe I can contribute to and accomplish the Jesuit Catholic mission of Regis University by integrating my professional experience and education into my teaching of adult learners in the College for Professional Studies. From my understanding, the overall purpose of Jesuit education is to form men and women for others. From my life experience, I could guide my students by example and share how this purpose has become more central in the way I perceive, think and function.
By my academic experience, I am Ivy-league educated and have obtained two Master’s degrees while working full-time. My Ivy undergraduate experience was humbling, as I lived and learned amongst “the cream of the crop” and sometimes wondered if I was at the “bottom of the barrel” when it came to understanding physical science and solving mathematical proofs--even if it was a really good barrel. My graduate experience as a two-time adult student inspires my respect for anyone willing to accept the challenge of identifying more than one priority in life and commit to learning, growing, eradicating assumptions/limitations and redefining values. Through my own academic trials, I believe I have developed the compassion to promote an atmosphere of personal concern for another adult student.
In my 12+ years of professional experience, between several great jobs I have experienced four layoffs through no fault of my own, as two companies were closed and two positions were eliminated. Each layoff made me take a step back to consider what is important in the bigger picture of my life and rethink the overall direction of my career. Because of the disruptions/layoffs, I have been given the opportunity to take an industry-agnostic approach to my marketing career and gain both b2b and b2c experience. I have also had the good fortune to work in a variety of environments—from in-house marketing teams at private companies and entrepreneurial start-ups to public corporations and marketing agencies with Fortune 500 clients. With each new job came a different team culture, varied tools/resources and a variety of logistical or technical challenges, and this helped me develop my ability to think critically and never lose sight of the bigger picture. With each role as a supervisor and team leader, I identified strengths/talents and weaknesses/opportunities for growth of my team members and guided their professional development in this context. I have been in the field long enough to realize the practical application of the theory learned from my education. I believe this professional experience would help me create for my students an awareness of career alternatives and personal adaptability to new situations throughout life.
In summary, I think Iggy was a yogi in his own right. Like him, I have had to go through the “postures” and motions of my life as a Christian, a marketer and yoga practitioner/instructor to realize a deeper purpose in my life for others. That said, I realize that it is my responsibility as a teacher—whether in yoga or in academia—to support alignment. And as a Regis affiliate faculty member in particular, the onus is on me to support and grow the alignment between the teaching/learning happening in each of my classes and the mission of Regis University.