How Does Yoga Improve Leadership Skills?
The art of leadership is a never-ending process of learning that can take a lifetime to master. There are many ways you can better yourself as a leader. But for this post I just want to focus on how can yoga improve leadership skills.
As a yoga teacher, I have had to develop my leadership skills in order to meaningfully helped all my students. During my teacher training, there was a significant emphasis on developing my inner voice. My teacher would often say that I have to find my own voice, so that I may be able to speak from the heart.
Finding Your Inner Voice
You do not have to become a yoga teacher to find your inner voice. Also, your inner voice comes from a relaxed mind, a mind that has realized that there is nothing to control and that everything is as it should be.
In my yoga practice, I make a strong emphasis on the breath. Breathing is very important when practicing yoga, and as result, it also helps us focus our mind. Whether the focus is your breath or a goal that you want to accomplish, the motion is the same. What matters is to remain concentrated on your target, while accepting everything as it happens around you. This is the state of mind you should have if you want to find your inner voice.
Also, to have the mental discipline to stay focused on one action while managing your emotions is a key component for having good emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is essential for any leader and is defined as; “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others”. Yoga helps you realize that what the ego feels is not the same as what the inner you is feeling. Thus, allowing you to better manage your emotions while remaining focused on your purpose.
These are some of the concepts many yoga practitioners are familiar with, and as you begin to study yoga, you too will be able to apply these ideas in your leadership role. Moreover, each yoga session will also slowly help you develop your emotional intelligence.
CEO Staton Kawer is an excellent example of a yoga practitioner that has applied what he learned on the mat on his business career. Kawer published an article in which he explores the question of how can yoga improve leadership skills. One of the things he talks about is his new understanding of what it means to succeed. He argues that yoga has allowed him to measure his success as a leader in a broader scope.
Measuring one success is directly proportional to the level of awareness one has of oneself. In other words, to know if you are successful you have to know yourself and what your inner self desires. Yoga practice helps you accomplish this. To Staton, success as leader is measured by “establishing a vision, creating an affirmative corporate culture, demonstrating emotional intelligence, displaying the courage of convictions” as well as by profits and other financial indicators. He does this by balancing the need for accomplishing financial goals and the need for establishing a nurturing environment for his team.
To focus only on financial indicators to measure success is just as wrong as measuring success solely based on the fact that you provide the perfect environment for your team. As a leader, you must strive to find a balance between these two components. Moreover, you should also try to do the same in all aspects of your life.
So, can yoga improve leadership skills? The answer is yes; however, is just one method. I understand that yoga is not for everybody, and I am sure you could obtain similar results by using a different practice. What is important is that what you practice helps you get in touch with yourself. In the words of Shunryu Suzuki; “When we do not expect anything we can be ourselves. That is our way to live fully in each moment of time.”