I’ve been taking yoga classes for five years and have been teaching yoga for the past year. I completed my 200-hour teaching-training program last summer and have been enjoying connecting with students from a different perspective. An unplanned bonus: Being a yoga teacher has helped me sharpen some of my leadership skills! Here are the parallels that I’ve found between leading a class and leading at work.
Before I step in front of my class, I need to sequence the poses, create a playlist, and consider any modifications for poses that may be needed. I need to pick a peak pose or goal that the entire class sequence will be leading up to. By creating an end goal, it helps to keep me focused and guides my music selection as well. (Ever notice in a fitness class when the music really pumps you up or helps to chill you out? That isn’t a coincidence!) Creating a goal is helpful when managing employees or overseeing a project; communicating the goal to employees will help them understand how they impact the experience and motivates them to work hard.
Observation and Feedback
Another leadership skill is being observant while teaching or leading. As a leader, you need to meet your students (or employees) where they are. If a certain method or sequence does not work for them, you need to offer alternatives and be prepared to explain how/why it is beneficial to them.
As a leader, you should strive to inspire your followers (be they employees or class members) and encourage them to take risks and try out new methods. The challenge is where growth happens!
For class as I’m writing out my sequence, I try to be creative when linking poses to encourage my students to try new poses. The same as a manager, you should try to explore new methods or new procedures to find what works best for your team. (This one goes hand in hand with inspiration.)
Positivity and Communication
These last two are key! When times get tough (how many is too many chaturungas?!), it is important to be encouraging and honest with those in front of you. Communication allows for others to connect with you and trust you.
Whether you aspire to roll out your yoga mat in the front of the class or stand at the front of the boardroom, use these skills to channel your inner leader. Namaste!
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