Teleconference Yoga. It’s the lastest craze… in my office.

So I’m taking this bioethics course1 at work2, which involves a 1.5 hr teleconference almost every week from January to April. The teleconferences involve the course coordinator, a guest ethicist, and a group of students chatting about the readings and lecture-on-DVD that we were assigned for the week. With that many people on the line, I find I spend a lot of that 1.5 hours listening and only a little time talking. Not a fan of sitting still if I don’t have to, I decided early on to do the only reasonable thing that one could decide in such a situation: yoga.

Seriously. I put my phone on mute and do yoga poses as I listen to the conversation, jumping up to unmute when I have something to say. Granted, I’m not getting my meditative zen on during this particular form of yoga practice, but it is a good long time to get some stretching in!

Here I am doing downward dog on today’s teleconference:

Day 248

Thankfully, I have my own office. I think this might be a bit more difficult to pull off in a cubicle.

Here I am doing dancer’s pose3:

Dancer's Pose in my office

It’s not my best dancer’s pose ever, in part because my camera’s timer only gives me 10 seconds, which isn’t long enough to get into my best dancer’s pose position4, and in part because I can’t lean very far forward due to my desk being in the way. Also, I’m wearing dress pants and a dress shirt instead of my usual yoga attire.

A by-product of this whole thing is that I’ve discovered that the cleaners do not do a very good job5 of cleaning my office, because my floor is dir-ty!. I think I need to get myself a yoga mat to keep in my office. You know, for teleconferences.

  1. At the end, I’ll be able to do ethics consultations for our portfolio. Case #1: Is it ethical for me lord my ethics expertise over you? []
  2. There I go talking about work again. What is wrong with me?? []
  3. which I believe is also known as “standing bow pose”. Any real yogis/yoginis out there, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that! []
  4. In the yoga studio, when I’m fully warmed up, I can get my back leg higher than my head, so that I can see my foot above my head in the mirror at the front of the room []
  5. where by “a very good job” I mean “any job at all” []

Comments |6|

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  • Nice downward dog. Also, I can confirm that Dancer’s Pose is also called Standing Bow Pose.

    I’ve decided that, once I have some funding, and assuming a contract is signed, I will be buying yoga equipment and possibly a treadmill for my office. I get too tired and achey sitting around all day. Plus, then I can be the cool prof with a treadmill in his office. Ha. Right.

    Finally, my ethics training would suggest that you are supposed to lord your ethics expertise over everyone. But my training wasn’t very good.


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  • Is it possible that this routine could cultivate an association between ethical pondering and holding yoga poses? “This one is really a conundrum. I’ll have to stretch on that a while and get back to you,” goes the response to a tough case from henceforth? Either way, you’re clearly as busy as I am lazy, so I must respect the multitasking.

    Also, I respect the philosophizing. The world would be a much more wonderful place if capitalism put ~1% of the workforce into refining the ethical and moral dimensions of work products and work environments. Instead it seems bioethicists are the last holdouts — real working philosophers as opposed to educators with a specialization in philosophy. Athens once rose to greatness by favoring democracy over tyranny and making a real institutional commitment to incorporating philosophy into public life. Today a few part time positions on medical ethics panels constitute the only non-pedagogical work opportunities for philosophers within a 100 mile radius of my home. Anything anyone can do to preserve the idea that serious wisdom is practical and useful merits my applause.


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