Yoga as a tool for improved management skills

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

As a female manager in the corporate world as well as a yoga teacher, I have been met with a variety of attitudes towards my interest in yoga. A lot of people (mostly men) have sort of made fun of it, saying it's only stretching, doing crazy balancing poses or sitting in lotus pose saying OM. When I say yoga can help you become a better leader, some just laugh and walk away. But then there are the few, that have taken me by surprise, people I never thought would have the slightest interest in yoga, that have told me they practice yoga and how much it has helped them (improve their quality of life, their golf-skills, stress-relief etc.).

Why isn't there more people seeing yoga for what it really is? Social media has probably not helped with all the photos of beautiful women doing crazy twists and balancing poses misconstruing what yoga really is, and can be to people, showing the true nature and benefits of yoga. Yoga is for everyone and can be practiced anywhere. Yoga is a set of guidelines on how to live a healthy and sustainable life that can benefit all living beings. Yoga is, among many other things, a way of seeing the world and a method of finding your own strength, vigor and ability to sustain positive attitudes to move forward.

Warrior pose - building strength, stability & focus

Creativity a key component for leaders to see solutions

When a friend 15 years ago told me I should try yoga because I was always stressed and worked a lot, I laughed and said I'm not a yoga-person... How wrong was I?!

I can honestly say, without a doubt, yoga has helped me shape me to become the leader I am today. Often in the past I found myself in status quo, not being able to see the solutions and the wider perspectives that would enable me to move forward. As a manager and a leader, creativity is a key component in order to be able to see solutions when there might not be any, or any that is visible. Yoga and meditation can bolster your creativity to the next level! No more tunnel vision, no more running putting out fires. Perspective is everything. When we practice yoga and meditation, we deepen our awareness and awaken our senses creating a sense of space which then helps us break free from patterns that serves us no good and instead we see things from a more elevated vantage point.

Slowing down doesn't mean slacking in work-load!

I've seen and talked to lots of people, staff and managers, who feel they work way too much. In reality the majority of us could save a lot of time just being more organised throughout the day. A person who work 10 hours a day isn't necessarily more effective than the person next to them working 7 hours a day. In fact, research have shown that yoga can help boost the productivity level at work. Doing a few simple yoga poses and breathing exercises during the day helps increase the blood circulation and oxygen to the brain, which then increases the energy levels and reduces fatigue. Stress is the cause for billions of dollars lost due to reduced productivity, absenteeism, medical leave and accidents at work. In Norway and a lot of other Western countries, almost 90% of all doctors visits are due to stress-related issues. Luckily a lot of major corporations are now in the forefront of offering yoga at work such as Google, Forbes, GE, Apple, HBO, GM, a lot of pro sports teams and many more. It doesn't matter the size or geographic of the company, or the age group, male/female or current health and flexibility of yourself or the employees. Yoga can help your own productivity as a manager and your teams, boosting your bottom line. It reduces stress and enables a relaxed state of mind and help people become more focused.

Meditation a few minutes everyday can help increase your focus, creativity and your ability to trust yourself

Learn to trust yourself, listen to your intuition & see what's around you

A lot of managers often feel insecure about their leadership skills. It's not easy to fill the leadership role when everyday life is filled with many tasks and expectations for both personnel management and profitability for the company. We are all our worst critics. We judge ourselves and let fear often hold us back. These feelings of self-oppression are our worst enemies for personal growth. And being a good leader means constantly working on our own personal growth at the same time. It's doesn't help only to build our teams if we can't keep up ourselves. And in order for a company to gain success, they'll need the right team to help them get there. We are all part of a community and a culture. How you as a manager and leader direct can pivot the course of action. We must be able to listen to our intuition and fully SEE the people we have around us and to meet them where THEY are. A lot of managers tend to say; "He or she is not good enough", but without actually seeing the person. We all come from different backgrounds, education, experiences, countries...whatever it is, it has shaped us to where we are today. As a leader it is our duty to help those people move forward and excel to the level of their best capacity.

Yoga can help us cultivate a higher level of compassion and understanding towards our true selves and therefore to others as well. It can help you open up and get past your fears, championing new ideas by teaching you to truly trust yourself, and we then gradually release any self-doubt and insecurity we might hold on to. We get to a place beyond self-judgement, judgement of others and approval-seeking. The release will elevate away a burden you didn't know you had and allow for true happiness. A happiness that will shine on to others and cause a ripple effect which allows your team and company to sustain a positive attitude moving forward and a positive energy in the workplace in general.

Norwegian born and avid traveler, Lisen Ydse Christiansen is a yoga teacher, leadership coach and retreat organiser with an extensive background as a manager in the corporate world of waste management as well as project manager within everything from HR to construction projects. She has a previous creative background in arts and design.

Book your Corporate training & Executive Retreat with her now here.

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