How can business leaders benefit from an exercise regimen and specially Yoga?
The BKS IYENGAR STYLE OF YOGA focuses so much on posture. And being able to have the right posture, without a slouch, or a stoop or a hunchback is one of the first things that executives will benefit from. Their GRAVITAS increases manifold, their executive presence is admirable, and their confidence goes up.
Another aspect though is, Yoga frees them up from any physical pain they may have, with most of them spending hours at their desks it is natural they are bothered by aches. But yoga pushes them to move, the blood flows to the different parts of the body, and they are more AGILE.
When physical pain is removed, the mind relaxes, positive thoughts enter, and you become a better version of yourself. The body and mind are at HARMONY, you become SELF- AWARE and can appreciate others so much better. You slowly move towards a SPIRITUAL EQUANIMITY that permits you to be more poised and positive. In fact, you are more YOUTHFUL and AGE SLOWER. And if the monkey mind must be controlled, it is only the meditative yoga can do that for you.
How can leaders achieve creativity and calmness and experience career fulfilment?
A scientific study clearly demonstrates that after 6 weeks of Yoga, one’s Blood Pressure is at moderate levels, hormonal imbalances stabilize, and even Diabetes is controlled. So, at the centre of all this lies the mind, and calming it and bringing down the anxiety and stress levels that so much surrounds us, is the key.
Today’s leaders are caught in a maelstrom of politics, problems and people. For them to rise above this and have a fulfilling career it is important to achieve a mental resilience. This comes slowly with steady Yoga practice and that leads them to the path of creativity. The relaxation process opens you to the many possibilities around you and the people you work with.
As inner emotions are balanced and the mind is clear, creativity grows. It is the same principle as to why often creativity strikes us when we go to sleep. It is because body and mind are at peace which is when creativity reigns supreme.
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My hope is to guide people to cultivate more awareness and calmness. To guide people to enjoy their creativity and ignite a spark for living life with a clear purpose and poetry.
How can Yoga make us understand our life purpose?
Frankly it is a beautiful journey towards that, and in the silence of the mind and the peace that surrounds you, you find that. Which is why I keep repeating about
the essence of Yoga, it allows you to know yourself.
It makes you focus on your strengths and areas of improvement. Importantly it tells you what your passion is, what gives you utmost peace and what nourishes your soul.
These are simple things we realize about ourselves when we practice Yoga, it might be a calling, it might be the end of a corporate career and end of another chapter. Or micro episodes that gently puts you in a path to understanding your purpose in life.
Why do people normally underestimate the importance of fitness and in your opinion, how can good fitness habits get formed and be sustained?
The good news is that more and more are realizing the value of fitness. The scene today is not as bad as it was a few decades back. Many are following what they like best, Cycling, Swimming, Exercising, Zumba, Pilates and Walking of course. It is only
a set of people who are yet to understand the importance of fitness, and it is they who need to be tackled through awareness initiatives.
And I feel more and more corporates must include this into their focus. Make it a corporate culture that fitness is of paramount importance, in fact they should organize
mixed batches so that people from different functions connect and collaborate. And for people who are hesitant to attend Yoga classes, there are many online courses and yogainternational.com is a valuable resource as well. Or friends can get together to practice and that could be a fun thing as well.
So many women leave workplace after childbirth how can they cope with this?
It is indeed a tall order, and it’s not easy for them at all. I agree. Pre-natal Yoga is gaining momentum and women are choosing the right methods to have a safe delivery. A happy mother is the best mother. Giving up on work is not an option, if they have figured out a strong support system then returning to work is easy.
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How can women learn to accept themselves more without the worry of body shaming?
Being strong is the new slim. Women should remember that, and I think it is largely a cultural thing. I have come across several heavy-set women in Spain and other parts of the world and they don’t worry so much about weight. This does not mean eating what you like and enjoy putting on weight, eat responsibly and exercise regularly and focus more on overall health and mental well-being. Work on your character and intelligence and be known for your talents and the fine person that you are.
What is authentic feminine leadership approach?
Simply put, it is a nurturing and guiding style that embraces the team. It is being flexible and fluid, recognizing the differences and incorporating an all-inclusive approach. It is not a mandate of a woman leader, but to any leader who wishes to influence his/her team and lead them with care and concern. Feminine leadership is not a replacement for any form of leadership but it will rebalance our lives in such a way that it brings back the nurturing and nourishing qualities of femininity. It will complement the masculine systems and structures and provide a holistic balance that will be of benefit to society. Feminine leadership is all about interconnectedness, intuition, empathy, active listening and expression of emotions. How leaders can manifest these attributes is by adopting a lover or caregiver archetype which is all about commitment, faithfulness and expressing passion. It provides a sense of wholeness and connection to others, it is a love that extends to the community and impacts them in a positive manner.
How can a conscious practice of Yoga build Executive Presence?
Executive presence is to begin with of course like I have already said posture and body language. It is the aura that you have, especially in a leadership context as they say – The Lion needs no introduction in the jungle. It’s that posture and personality blending to make you stand out from the crowd, and at the same time carrying people along.
A conscious practice of yoga,
⦁ Especially the postures that build strength and the stretches, help the body to become expansive in nature, compared to the typical contractive body postures professionals have due to long hours at desk, meetings and travel.
⦁ Endurance building postures, like repeating and holding postures, helps leaders to build Executive Endurance, which is critical for the demands of the present- day work culture. Resilience in your Voice, af voice that is capable of handling the inner battles and constraints (like self-limiting beliefs, and biases), gaining the right body and mind control to Amplify Impact.
⦁ Flexibility enhancing postures, like reverse inversions, forward bends and twisting postures, helps leaders to handle change, transitions and demonstrate situational brilliance. How much of flexibility you practice on the mat, do you carry forward to life and leadership off the mat?
⦁ Balancing postures help leaders to understand the art of showcasing vulnerability and demonstrate equanimity to life and leadership situations. When you wobble on the mat holding a balancing posture, you understand that imperfections are a part of life and learn to hold your ego at bay.
⦁ Breathing correctly, from the diaphragm, helps you build power and When all the above aspects are consciously practiced and nurtured consistently, leaders can be guaranteed of a stronger Executive Presence and Cognitive Agility.
Yoga teacher (E-RYT500) in Winchester, UK. Teacher at Yoga International, Apple inc and Balanced Living.
Sarah teaches alignment based Hatha, Yin and Vinyasa Yoga in Singapore and have been a full time Yoga teacher since 2006. She teaches at corporate level, at festivals and guide other Yoga teachers to thrive through mentorship programs. All of Sarah’s offerings are crafted with a love of connection and a lifelong passion for Yoga.