I believe at the core that we are all leaders in some way. We each have a passion, a truth, a voice, and a purpose that is meant to be expressed. It is only our conditioning that keeps us from feeling safe to share our light. Here are 5 yoga tips that I use on a regular basis to keep me balanced, clear-headed, and inspired so that I can lead from a place of authenticity and ease as a teacher, a CEO, and a mother.
- Chanting: Don't worry, you can do this in the privacy of your home and you don't have to be a Sanskrit scholar! Chanting can be extremely profound, especially if you are not used to voicing yourself. Om is the primordial sound of oneness; the sound of all sounds. When we chant it, we are aligning our own personal vibration with that of the universe. Sound balances the throat chakra, which helps us to express our truth with clarity and kindness. We all know how important that is for a leader!
- Pranayama (Breathing techniques): There are a multitude of breathing techniques accessible to us at any time that can literally change the way we feel. My favorite quickie that helps balance the nervous system and quiet the mind is padadirsasana: place your right hand under your left armpit and your left hand under your right armpit, criss crossing at your forearms. Allow the weight of your upper arms to create a little pressure in your upper rib cage, which stimulates the nostrils to flow freely. Stay for about 3 minutes, switching the crossing of your arms midway to switch the flow of air. Release the arms and let your breath adjust. This helps connect us to the daydream state, which allows us to move beyond our limited self to a more expanded, unbound state of being.
- Visualization: Visualization is everything, especially as it relates to goals or aspirations. This visual, or Kriya technique, allows me to stay inspired and replenished so that I can lead from that same state. On the inhale, visualize an electro magnetic field entering through the crown of the head, down the line of your spine to the base. On the exhale, visualize that awareness distributing out from the base of the spine into each cell of your body. Do this several times to create a sense of rejuvenation and lightness of being.
- Tadasana (Mountain pose): Body language speaks louder than words and the way we stand says a lot about our character. Practice standing with the feet parallel and the heels behind the widest part of your feet. Feel as if you could draw the earth up through the soles of your feet, creating support in your lower abdomen. Align each joint, one on top of the other from there. Broaden across the collar bones and relax the tops of the shoulders. Feel your head floating naturally on the tip of your spine and soften your facial muscles. Access your breath. This creates both steadiness and ease, stability and fluidity; all necessary qualities for effective leadership.
- Meditation at the heart: The heart chakra is the space right at the center of the chest. It is what connects us to our individual spirit, or jiva, which is the true self. When we tap into this space we feel connection, compassion, and unconditional love. Without these qualities - felt for ourselves or for others - our leadership is finite because it is dependent on results. When we feel love and compassion for ourselves we are better able to share that with others. Leading from that place embeds those values into the collective consciousness of our community. Sit in a comfortable seat with the eyes closed. Place the thumb and pointer finger of the right hand to touch, as if you are pinching something very small. Point them right at the center of the chest and feel a glow in your heart. Let it expand out as you inhale and move back to the point at the center of your chest as you exhale. Eventually, expand that light into each cell of your body as you breathe, into an aura of light around you. Stay there for as long as you like, bathing in your own radiance, knowing your own truth, and empowering yourself to rise up and share it.