Yoga of Leadership Excerpt: Breathe!

The following excerpt is copyrighted material. It is excerpted from the upcoming book:  Yoga of Leadership by Pomerantz, Lang and Eiting.
Like yoga, leadership requires breathing, in that it takes a commitment to give life to the future.  A leader’s primary job is to create the future; to speak it in a way that it becomes possible, to bring life to it so that people are able to respond in accordance with that future, such that their action is consistent with that future. Leadership, like yoga, is a thoughtful, considered series of actions consistent with an envisioned future; it is both visionary and expansive. Breathing, getting oxygen to the muscles and brain allow for clarity, the mind works better, that clarity produces strategic, targeted action and profound results.  Think of the old samurai archers preparing to take the shot.  If you’ve ever watched their movements, there is a great deal of what appears to be tai chi centering, breathing, and visualization with very controlled muscle movement to set up the shot. The set up may take what seems like half an hour, and the shot itself is a nanosecond.  However, in business today we could benefit from that skill.  There are many current business situations where you’ll find you only have one shot.  If you only have one shot, how do you get out of your head to make sure the arrow hits the target?
Breathing is access to being grounded. Expand the breath and create space. Breathing allows you to relax and get centered again.  If you can control your breath, you can control any leadership situation in which you find yourself, regardless of how uncomfortable a position it seems in the moment.  Breathe into it.  Breathing allows you to slow down in order to speed up.  Slow down enough to get grounded and allow that to be the foundation from which you take action.

Comments (2)

Thank you for this wonderful post! I’m also working on this topic, and realize how difficult it is for leaders to actually pause and take a breath.
With much appreciation,

Thank you, Liping! When coaching leaders, I often have them take a pause to breathe. It makes a world of difference in their ability to focus and clear their minds. My co-author and I are putting the final touches on this book which we hope to have out by the end of this year!

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