Namaste. Take a Deep Breathe to Becoming Less Stressed and a Better Leader

If you’re not feeling a little stressed during this time in history, our hats are off. Here’s some help for the rest of us, and it can make you a better leader.

Enter the ancient practice of yoga.

The word “yoga” comes from a Sanskrit root “yuj,” which means union, or yoke, yoga brings together mind and body.

Backed by science, yogic practices offer a variety of mental and physical health benefits: reduce stress, enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, and can make you a better leader by increasing your calmness and focus.

It all starts with your breath. Here are five easy steps to experience yogic breathing:

  1. Sit on a blanket, mat, or the floor in Sukhansana or Easy Cross-Legged Pose. Straighten the spine and soften your shoulders.
  2. Place both or one hand over your navel so you can feel your breath.
  3. Take a slow, deep breath into your belly. Feel the abdomen and chest inflate like a balloon as you inhale, and deflate as you exhale slowly. Practice this for five breaths.
  4. Move your hand two to three inches above your navel to your rib cage. Feel the ribs expand as you inhale, and retract as you exhale.
  5. Place your hand below the collarbone, at the center of your chest, and inhale. Feel the chest open as you breathe in, and withdraw on an exhale. Practice this for five breaths

When Steve Jobs passed away, friends and family attending his funeral received a small gift from the late tech genius: Autobiography of a Yogi, a book focused on the ‘ancient science of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation.”

Like the late Jobs, more and more leaders are adopting this kind of mindfulness into their lives with great results.

If you’re not ready to head to your local yoga studio and want to explore a yoga practice at home, check out Yoga with Adriene. Her YouTube channel is full of sun salutations designed to meet all levels and time constraints. The return on your yoga practice could help your leadership skills grow.