Working in the corporate world can sometimes affect our health and wellbeing. I talk to Scott Robinson, qualified Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation Teacher, Corporate Wellness advocate and the Founder of Yogibanker, about his unique yoga project for Finance & Corporate Professionals, the difference in wellbeing after the pandemic and modern yoga in the busy city.

As an introduction, please could you give us an overview of the
Yogibanker concept?

The Yogibanker concept is relatively simple. It’s all about creating a conscious, thriving individual who works in the financial or corporate sector yet who also embraces more holistic, balanced ways of living.

By being ‘conscious’, I mean an individual who is mindful of the balance between doing business and the need to create a sustainable, harmonious society, including the environment. ‘Thriving’ is seen in the context of not only being physically stronger and more flexible, but also having increased levels of energy and being spiritually connected to the core nature of what it truly means to be a human being.

How was the idea for the brand born?

Yogibanker started as a simple blog back in December 2014, in the kitchen of an apartment in Paris where my partner was living at the time. It was about recognising that I had learnt so much over the years – not just about yoga & meditation, but other Wellbeing topics, including nutrition.

It was also inspired by meeting so many other financial services professionals in classes or on retreats. I knew there was a common thread amongst us all – that we thrived in the financial world, but loved our yoga & meditation too. I thought I could become a role model for others to follow so they would also take up yoga & meditation to help improve their lives.

Who would you say is your ideal client?

It’s a really good question. In the early days, I would’ve said someone who is young and athletic, who could manage a strong, dynamic yoga practice like mine. I am currently working with a middle-aged student, who I’ve loved seeing grow, week in, week out. That’s where you realise you are operating on the margins, making a huge difference to people’s lives, especially as people get older, where maintaining their wellbeing becomes more challenging. I think though to summarise – I love dedicated clients, whether they are young or old. If you show dedication to your practice, no matter what level you are at, then I become very enthusiastic as a teacher, too.

Tell us a bit more about your personal journey with yoga and meditation.

Although my brand is strongly related to yoga, it was actually the meditation that came well before the physical asana practice. I was introduced to meditation in 2006 by my late spiritual guide, Sunil Rathod, who inspired me to read classical texts such as ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, by Paramahansa Yogananda.

I started physical yoga (asana) back in 2012, just before I started my current role at the bank. I took on a difficult role, changing careers and managing people for the first time. It was the regular space that the yoga practice created in my life that really helped me get through those difficult first few months. It became my sanctuary. I spent Christmas in 2012 on a yoga retreat in the South of Spain, at a wonderful place called Suryalila.  I remember very clearly looking out at the lush Andalusian fields, and loved the feeling of total serenity. From there, I was totally hooked.

In 2017, I took a short sabbatical from work and went to Bali for a month to complete my 200-hour yoga teacher training. When I returned, I was motivated to bring yoga to the bank, and I now help to run the employee-led yoga program at the bank in the UK.

Although already a keen meditator, I also wanted to become a meditation teacher, so that in 2019, I completed trainings in mindfulness meditation as well. Now, I kind of feel like the wheel has turned its full circle and am very satisfied that I’m able to pass on what I’ve learnt and inspire other employees to take up yoga & meditation, and seeing the passion and difference it is making in people’s lives.

Have you seen a marked difference in wellbeing since COVID-19 hit?

Since COVID-19 hit, wellbeing has been at the forefront of institutions’ agendas, especially with respect to mental wellbeing. I participate regularly in sessions where people talk about some of the challenges of COVID-19 – the fear of the virus, working from home and being isolated, and having to adapt to a new routine. Since last year, I have been running regular mindfulness meditation sessions at a bank in the city, called ‘Mindfulness Mondays’, and they have been quite well attended. People are looking for some respite and a break from their lives, and from the worry and fear that the virus has created. The feedback we have received from holding the space has been very warm and highly appreciated. I can tell it’s badly needed.

Scott Robinson (The picture by Cecilia Cristolovean)

Why do you feel it’s so important for corporate executives to
redress the work/wellbeing balance?

Much of the inspiration for Yogibanker came from this: to embody leadership in the area of yoga & meditation and how it can help corporate executives do their job better.

When we look at life though, it is broadly broken down into the ‘Yin’ & ‘Yang’. ‘Yin’ is the quieter, more stable aspect of living, and ‘Yang’ is the more active, energetic side. You need both in life, and they are always relative to each other. Too much Yin or too much Yang, will result in imbalance. Unfortunately, for the busy corporate executive, life tends to be very imbalanced, often because of the nature and pressures of the job. That’s where yoga and meditation can help: to help find that ‘homeostasis’, that balance, again. At the end of the day, it’s all about creating that space to breathe, move your body and find stillness. The corporate world needs more of that and that’s where yoga & meditation can help.

What is the Yogibanker Tribe? How did you find your Tribe?

The Yogibanker Tribe was born out of all the people who have inspired (and who to continue to inspire) me along the journey, not only in yoga & meditation, but in diverse modalities such as acupuncture, conscious breathing, reiki and other disciplines. My initial plans for Yogibanker involved creating a diverse wellbeing platform. My plans then evolved, but I wanted to keep the spirit of the Tribe going. I hope that my endorsement of them will lead to new referrals, and that’s my way of giving back.

What are your plans for the future?

I aim to continue to work in banking, with the aim of reaching as many finance and corporate professionals as I can through teaching, and to inspire others through yoga & meditation. I also teach yoga & mindfulness at Ten Health & Fitness, one of London’s leading health & fitness providers, and I enjoy offering my dynamic style of vinyasa yoga there.

I have thought about what life would look like if I were to leave the industry and focus exclusively on Yogibanker, but what shape that will take, we will see sometime in the future. Let’s just say though, my vision for Yogibanker is grand!

What is your favourite wellbeing motto or quote?

Yoga is 99% practise, 1% theory”, by the late K. Pattabhi Jois. I refer to this quote regularly when I teach. Yoga, like most things in life, is all about being consistent in your practice. It’s turning up to class, week in, week out. I’ve seen it in the postures I can do now, that weren’t possible before. That’s where the “99%” comes in. Sometimes though, a very small (but important) aspect to posture can make all the difference (that’s the “1%”). My job as a teacher is to inspire and bring out the best in students, as well as giving them the key insights so that they can do the poses.

How can our readers contact you and follow on social media?

They can reach me directly at my website if they wish to attend any one of my weekly group online classes or book a private class with me. They can also subscribe at my website to receive my monthly blog and news from time to time too.

On social media, they can follow me on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. I’m also active on LinkedIn under Scott Robinson.