Four ways yoga can supercharge your career.
Is there anything more appealing than someone who simply exudes quiet confidence? Not in-your-face shouting arrogance, the kind that makes people balk, and perhaps reluctantly conform. Think of the irresistible appeal of a person that radiates capable, assured, and charming.
1. Yoga makes us strong. Whether you’re deadlifting a few times a week or guiltily sliding into your first yoga class with no muscle tone and more than a few extra unnecessary biscuits under your belt, the surprise most people get when they first hit the yoga mat is that yoga is much harder than you think.
There’s a perception yoga is all about stretching and relaxing. And a lot of it is, we come to our yoga mats to stretch our bodies and calm our minds. In order to fully relax and release, however, we first need to trust it is safe to relax and let go, and we can only do that when we feel secure and supported. And that’s where the strength comes in. Yoga gives us a strong back. When we have a strong back we stand taller with better posture. We don’t even have to think about this, it comes naturally with time and practice. Yoga creates long, toned, smooth muscle fibres.
Science has proven body language affects how others perceive us. When we stand taller we emit an aura of capability. Yoga makes us strong; it gives us resilience to stand our ground.
2. Yoga teaches us the ability to relax at will. We practice, again and again, on our yoga mats, to return to an awareness of breath as a tool to calm and focus the body and the mind. On our mats we do this while we move. We return to the breath in the face of wobbles, uncertainty, challenges and instability. This strengthens our ability to choose calm in any moment but simply returning to the breath.
People who practice yoga have learnt the ability to hit a little pause button at any time in life to simply relax … regardless of the external circumstances. When we cultivate the ability to relax at will we function better in life. Yoga enhances our powers of concentration, lowers our stress levels and trains us to stay focused in the face of challenges.
3. Yoga brings us flexibility. As we stretch our bodies beyond our perceived limitations so too our minds expand. What once seemed impossible, maybe just simply touching our toes, with a little patience, time, and effort, becomes possible. Equally, some yoga poses will remain forever a little outside our reach. Yoga can be frustrating … no matter how good you are, some poses may not be accessible. In those moments we learn to let go of unrealistic expectations for ourselves and we give ourselves a break. We learn acceptance and patience. We learn to be less judgemental. We learn to adapt and to re-set expectations and to remain open and responsive, even when things aren’t going exactly as we would like them to.
Yoga teaches us to adapt and move forward. In learning how to accept all of ourselves with compassion, we too learn how to extend that acceptance and compassion to others. When we advance with strength and flexibility, we become better leaders.
4. Yoga makes us better looking. We frown less. We smile more. With all that juicy, fluid movement our digestion improves, our skin benefits and we radiate good health and wellbeing. Every cell in our bodies is boosted with a surge of extra oxygen as a result of all of that improved breathing we practice on our yoga mats. We engage with the world with greater ease; our manner becomes more appealing. Physically we tone, yoga gives you a great body. We exude quiet confidence.
Yoga gives us the confidence to stride bravely forward in life with grace and conviction.
The irony is we come to our yoga mats to feel, not to accomplish. Our practice on our mats is letting go of the places we are stuck, in both body and in habit. In yoga we practice returning to our authentic selves.
In that place lies the magic. From our authentic selves we radiate the elusive qualities of charisma, appeal, joy. The simple je-ne-sais-quoi of someone really comfortable in their own skin, exuding strength, calm, ease.
“That's been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Steve Jobs