Somatic work for leadership – Why is this relevant?

by | Leadership Training

.Leadership, Somatic Leadership & the Here and Now.

Have you ever considered that the body is the space where we experience trust, generate meaning and we connect with family, teams or a community?

It is the vehicle that allows us to relate to others, feel belonged and also fulfill our aspirations. Yet we often live cut off from our body- we are not in the here and now, present to our body and the experience of ‘now’. Answer the questions below

– Do you at times experience guilt, anger or jealousy- but are not aware of it until much later?

– At times are you physically tense but become aware of it much later?

– Is your mind in a continuous chatter about people, happenings or telling you what you should or should not have done?

If your answer was YES, then read on. I explain how somatic awareness is significant for our leadership presence and action.

When I work with the body, I see how a leader has shaped himself, how he breathes and moves. An important aspect I begin work with is the BREATH.

Rajan’s story

I was coaching Rajan- a business leader who was relating a disturbing and conflicting meeting he had with a peer. As he spoke his body began to change- his shoulders raised, he moved ahead in his chair and I could see him breathing from his chest with fast paced short breaths as he spoke rapidly. Would you say this leader was in the present? In the here and now?

He wasn’t- he had gone back into the past- fully reliving that instance of conflict. Drawing his attention to his body responses and inviting him to relax, sit back and breathe slowly brought him fully into the moment. This is when he began asking himself ‘why am I discussing this with my coach’ ‘what do I want from this conversation? Is something still bothering me?’. Becoming present to himself helped him streamline the conversation to an effective one.

Awareness creates choice

A simple way to bring in somatic awareness is, by bringing awareness to our breath. It allows us to return to the ‘now’. Awareness puts us in Choice. Choice to shift our world view, choice to respond, choice to engage. Our breath awareness allows us to become present to what we are feeling, what we are thinking, our tensions and our needs.

There is nothing mystical about ‘being present’. Our breath is the key to it. I invite you to these centering practices in the mood of curiosity.

  • Stop and sit back and do belly breathing for a minute. Just watch the moment- What is happening? What do I feel? What do I hear? What do I feel? Do this as many times as you can through the day.
  • At the start of meetings or a conversation take a deep breath asking yourself ‘What am I sitting with?’ Become present to what emotion, thought, needs you are carrying into the conversation.
  • In the middle of a meeting bring your focus to how you are sitting. Straighten your spine, feet on the ground, allow your breath to drop to your belly. Observe what happens as you become present.

Being somatically aware is a big strength for a leader. It is what Leadership presence is based on.

I include somatic work as part of Leadership coaching. I find this especially relevant for women leaders- developing the body of a leader by bringing in somatic awareness & engaging in somatic leadership.

Am curious what this has provoked for you?

Sailaja Manacha

Sailaja Manacha

Sailaja Manacha is known for her programs and coaching methods that combine psychology with leadership practices. In her work, Sailaja draws from Psychology, Ontology, NLP and Spiritual frameworks as well as rich, real-world experiences.

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