Leadership Lessons learnt at Yoga

I've practised Yoga for many years. I recall watching Swami Sarasvati on TV in the '70s! 

Swami Sarasvati still practising yoga - if only she knew that I watched her from the age of eight!

Swami Sarasvati still practising yoga - if only she knew that I watched her from the age of eight!

These days, my attendance isn't regular, however when I find a spare 75 min in my calendar I pop along to stretch my body and mind. It's that valuable time to reconnect with what my body is capable of doing and avoiding!

However, when I'm not at Yoga lessons, I always find time to practise my breathing*. Yes, you read correctly, I practise and continually learn how to breath effectively. Did you know that we only use one nostril at a time? (Not that that has anything to do with Leadership!)

Yoga offers many lessons in our quest to increase our performance as a respected and trusted leader. Here are just a few leadership thoughts:

1. Avoid rushing into a conversation with your words: take a deep breath through your noes , deep down to your belly button and slowly choose and deliver your answer, statement or question as you breath out. 

2. Count to five while you're breathing in and then again breathing out - doing this for three minutes prepares your body and mind to make a presentation, lessening your anxiety and need to gasp and grasp for water. (It's only when we breath through our mouth that we dry up the saliva.)

3. Sitting on the floor in the Lotus position guarantees a short meeting - great for decision making meetings. Try it! Yes, it's sounds hilariously crazy but it will encourage more efficiently conducted meetings.

4. Yoga encourages mindfulness - yes that term is trending! By practising yoga, your heart rate slows, your stress diminishes and your mind is clear to be more present with the important stuff going on in your team members' lives (and yours). You tune in more easily to the vibe your people create.

5. Finally, I find that I am more creative when I practise yoga. The blinkers and tunnel vision are removed and I can see the matter from a different perspective to arrive at a very different solution. Take the whole team to yoga and you will have a very creative team ... or at least a great belly laugh.

 I could go on however I suggest you try out or rediscover yoga. It takes patience and discipline - just like leadership.

*I mentor, coach and facilitate programs with leaders on a regular basis and find that I always share basic yoga breathing techniques which I've practised for many years, in particular when I worked the crazy hours in the corporate world. It was the most useful technique to stay calm and emotionally resilient.

Values, Vision & Visa

I promise not to mention 'resolutions' in this blog - OK, only this once! 


Given we are counting down the hours to a new year, we have a natural tendency to think of "Next year, I'm going to ...... whether that is stop, start, do more of, change, reduce or even try again! With this mindset and topical conversation piece in the air, you may as well practise articulating your message and answers. 

If you need help, try the 3V model. It's simple to use for yourself or guide conversations with others.  


The model is three categories of questions to build a framework of thoughts and communication: 


VALUES - What are your values? What's important to you? Why do you get up and go and do what you do in the time you are awake? 


VISION - What do you wish for? What do you want? What do you need? If you close your eyes and see yourself in 2020, what are doing, what do you look like and where are you?  


VISA - Is it currency or access or both? If you had unlimited access to funds and places in the world, what would you do and where would go and be? What do you dream about? 


Now it's time to draw, write, talk or simply get caught up in your thoughts. And where do you start?

I find this 3V model (values, vision & visa) should at least help you activate a sence of importance or urgency to think about your chosen activity in 2015 and how these choices will impact and influence your achievement of the answers to these questions.

Most people struggle to commit to any change - it takes courage, tenacity and a good support crew. However, you've got to start, and if you haven't, now is the time!


If you're interested to focus on this further - here are some addition ideas & resources:

www.values.com - this is a great site with a list of values to help you identify your values.

Happiness is the icing on your cake (Melinda Pile) - a small ebook resource of resources  

PINTEREST - it's a great site /app to view other people's vision, creations, businesses - great if you're visual

Driving Your Life Program - connect with me to understand how our program can work for you. We coach individuals, run public workshops, and speak about how to take control of your 'steering wheel'.



Values: Family, Friendship, Fitness & Volunteering

Vision: Completing Marathon, Increased Business Referrals, Family Dinners & Holidays, Building local women's business network, Local community transport group

Visa: Buy car for husband, Travel for six weeks around Europe in 2016 with family & friends