Maryam Sharifzadeh

Founder & CEO of Office Yoga®
San Francisco

I don’t consider being the first woman in history to swim around San Francisco Bay my biggest accomplishment. Nor was swimming across Lake Tahoe the biggest, nor being nominated Top 22 Conscious Business Leaders by Conscious Company Media. My proudest accomplishment is founding Office Yoga® in 2014. We are now the #1 workplace yoga program in the nation, we serve over 300 companies, lead more than 4,500 Office Yoga® sessions, and trained over 50 instructors worldwide. 

Running a business is in my blood, and my first business when I was 9 years old was selling friendship bracelets. These bracelets were made of pure joy, different colored materials, and intricate patterns and designs. I was delighted to share what I created. First I sold bracelets to neighbors, friends at recess, and our extended Persian family (including our local mechanic), and within weeks I was making custom orders.

I “shut down” my business in middle school when I started playing water polo. My focus and time were spent connecting intimately and dynamically with my teammates, and learning first hand that when I helped my teammates become better players, everybody won. We supported each other and excelled as a team, not just as individuals. My junior year of high school we won our school’s first ever league and made Nationals. My senior year I was nominated Captain of the Varsity team.

I played collegiate water polo while I received my Bachelor of Science in Business from UC San Diego and Masters in Sports Management from University of San Francisco. In that time I also became a fitness instructor and Behavior Change Coach, fascinated by the human body and mind.

After graduation I was hired at Cal to lead the faculty and staff wellness program. I found my way back to creating programs that support people I cared for. The coaches and clients quickly became “family.” I knew from my experience as an athlete that if the coaches were cared for, our clients would get stronger and the entire program would excel. 

My programs at Cal proved that there are benefits to having comprehensive exercise programs readily available on site. Employees felt cared for by leadership, stress levels decreased, and productivity and retention increased. I felt an urge to expand this offering beyond the boundaries of the UC campus and into the corporate world, where the root of chronic pain and mental stress continues to grow. This was the birth of Office Yoga®.

Today, Office Yoga® positively impacts 2,500 employees per week. My love of health, family, and fitness and laser focused on eliminating the rampant stress epidemic. With open arms and friendship bracelets, I welcome you to the Office Yoga® family.

Click here to see what I’m up to when I’m not teaching yoga…

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