Adam Bryan - Executive Coach - Dive to Thrive - Yoga on a Shoestring - YOAS

It’s all in yoga…

October 23, 2021 2:56 pm Published by

Adam Bryan, Executive Coach and Founder of Dive to Thrive shares his insights into the many ways yoga can enhance your wellbeing and shape your life on and off the mat.

In the day job, as an executive coach with a focus on wellbeing, I keep an eye on the latest trends within business circles as well those in health and neuroscience. Some familiar themes come up on how we can live happier more fulfilled lives. You’ll no doubt recognise many of these topics and I’m sure long ago worked out the secret – it’s all in yoga!

I’ll touch on some of the subjects I’ve seen discussed recently.

I don’t know how many yogis look at the Harvard Business Review (HBR). It’s the self proclaimed leading destination for smart, international management thinking! Number one on my list and picked up from HBR is being kind. It helps people feel more motivated, it boosts self-esteem and triggers positive emotions. They love kindness so much they’ve published books about it and how it can help reduce burnout and absenteeism as well as increase wellbeing.

Gratitude is a sibling of kindness and is hot in business circles and in neuroscience. Displaying and practising gratitude has been shown to decrease depression, work as an antidote to negative emotions and increase empathy and self-awareness. It helps us recognise the beauty of simple, every day things and recognise that other little but irritating things that come our way shouldn’t send us into a downward spiral of bad moods and worse.

How we face adversity comes up in having a growth mindset. It’s championed by everyone from Emma Raducanu to toddlers in primary school who use Mr Bump and Little Miss Curious to learn how to look at every challenge as a learning opportunity. To push yourself out of your comfort zone and embrace the uncomfortable. Although the term was coined by a Harvard professor it’s something we’ve all experienced on the yoga mat. Anyone for pincha mayurasana?

The opposite to a growth mindset is a fixed one – to want to be smart and perfect all the time – to look clever at all costs and never stupid.  When you’re in that fixed mindset you avoid risk and doing anything that could reflect badly on you personally. You are led by the ego (but not us!).

Meditation has grown in popularity and there are, what seems like, hundreds of apps now on the market. It’s often described as a gym for the mind – learning how not to be overrun by your thoughts or the chitta vritti in your mind. Over 80% of business tycoons, sports stars, actors and writers interviewed by Tim Ferris in his Tools of Titans use some form of mindfulness (with meditation the most popular) to help them build greater awareness and self-control.

From Wim Hof to James Nestor’s book Breathe, they’re all talking about the power of the breath to reduce stress, decrease inflammation, boost health and spark our inner fire. Deep conscious breathing can override the flight or fight sympathetic nervous system and instead engage with the positive parasympathetic nervous system.

I won’t go into how we also develop strength, flexibility and balance (it might be too much for some of the suits). But if business leaders are interested in becoming kinder, more attentive and aware that can only be a good thing. And if more developed a yoga practice with the lovely YOAS teachers well that really would be something. Keep your eyes out for them on the mat!

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