Leadership and Yoga
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Several weeks ago, my friend Beth invited me to a yoga class at our local YMCA.  At first, I balked, because yoga seemed slow and boring. Because I trust Beth’s judgment, I went.

Suffice it to say, I am now obsessed with yoga, but not just any yoga class. I’m obsessed with Amy’s yoga class – a combination of hatha and vinyasa flow, which suits me because:

  • It’s never exactly the same-I’m not bored and have to stay focused rather than letting my mind wander.
  • It’s meditative-making a spiritual connection between mind and body. Afterward, I feel both energized and calm, not realizing how hard I’ve worked my muscles!
  • Amy’s voice is almost hypnotic – gently encouraging proper form while guiding us to find the pace and level of difficulty that works for each of us.
  • Unlike you bikram fans out there, I don’t like getting hot and sweaty!

My favorite part of class is at the end, when Amy turns to us with a genuine smile, bows, and with palms pressed together at heart center, says,

“The light in me honors and acknowledges the light in you. Namaste.”

It strikes me that leadership is a lot like yoga. Leaders connect with others’ hearts, not just their heads. Leaders acknowledge the light in others-the  talents, drive and value they bring to work. Like Amy, how leaders set direction and challenge others is what sets them apart. Leaders create environments where others feel energized and want to do their best work. Several yoga poses symbolize traits of leadership:

  • Mountain:  strong, grounded, calm and steady amidst chaos
  • Tree:  balance, strength and resiliency;  my favorite pose, since a tree is the metaphor for a full life in my book, Good Things for a Full Life
  • Butterfly:  the gardener in me loves the idea of cross-pollinating ideas and knowledge

The next time you have the opportunity to step into a leadership position, follow Amy’s example of Namaste, and  let the light in you honor and acknowledge the light in others.

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One Comment

  1. I’m honored that you trust my judgment, and I’m always happy to see you across the room in the yoga studio. Thank you for sharing these observations about yoga and leadership. Isn’t it wonderful how the mind wanders into these connected ideas? Namaste!

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