3 Benefits of Incorporating Yoga, Mindfulness, and Meditation in your Coaching Practice

by Kristie Santana

In 1979, Johnson & Johnson introduced the world’s first corporate wellness program. With the goal of creating the world’s healthiest workforce, the multi-national brand launched “Live for Life,” an initiative that provided stress management programs, mental health support, as well as nutrition and fitness programs. This initiative laid the groundwork for corporate wellness programs around the world.

Yoga and meditation are two of the most widely practiced disciplines amongst some of the world’s most prominent brands. If Apple, Google, and Nike have realized the potential of incorporating regular yoga and meditation practices into their wellness programs, perhaps it’s time you think about how you can fold them into your coaching programs.

We know yoga and meditation facilitate self-awareness, foster emotional intelligence, and promote personal efficiency — all things your coaching clients could benefit from. Still not convinced? Here are a few more.

Meditation Helps Create Clarity

Your clients come to you for guidance, encouragement, a desire to remove the obstacles that might be holding them back, and most importantly, to gain clarity, so they can see the path before them.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to change brain chemistry. Back in 2011, neuroscientist and meditation specialist Sara Lazar conducted an eight-week-long Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction test. She, along with her Harvard team, discovered that the areas of the brain that governed emotion regulation and self-referential processing had an increase in cortical thickness. They also found a noticeable decrease in brain cell volume in the area of the brain that is responsible for stress, fear, and anxiety.

The individuals who participated in the study reported that after their eight-week ordeal, they felt less stress, a significant decrease in anxiety, enjoyed more mental clarity, and had an overall positive response to the perception of their mental health. Dr. Lazar’s study proved that meditation not only changes the physical make-up of the brain but has a profoundly positive impact on mental health.

Yoga Helps Improve Focus & Concentration

You may have already dealt with this. Clients come to you desperately trying to gain some focus, looking for methods to center themselves, and to somehow find focus amidst the chaos. A lack of focus and concentration are two of the most common complaints you will hear from entrepreneurs and those in leadership roles. These individuals are often wearing multiple hats, making them the perfect candidates for regular meditation and yoga. Meditation forces you to sit still, be mindful, self-aware, and provides you with the gift of time. Time to reflect, and time to be in the moment. Meditation in combination with yoga practice can teach your clients to compartmentalize their tasks, avoid the overwhelm, focus and prioritize projects rather than get bogged down with all of the unnecessary distractions that hinder productivity.

Regular Yoga Practice Creates Effective Leaders

Yes, you read that correctly. Yoga will not only make your clients more effective leaders but also promotes compassion and creative problem-solving skills. Yoga requires you to listen to your body, with every movement. And with each movement, you are essentially, re-mapping your body’s own reference points. Yoga can show us our limitations (flexibility) in the moment, but with more practice, our bodies will learn to adjust.

Through each movement, our breathing is coordinated, which brings the maximum amount of oxygen to the brain, which in turn cranks the dial down on that nervous system. This gives our brain the opportunity to cut through the noise, and access the higher processing points. In other words, warrior pose or Ustrasana could be where your clients realize how they’re going to solve some seemingly catastrophic logistical nightmare.

Yoga very much forces us to be in the present, and that is a key quality for any leader. The ability to listen and hear your team members, before engaging, is an immeasurably valuable skill. An effective leader is thoughtful and will offer their team encouragement and motivation, rather than contribute to conflict.

Yoga is a very humbling experience. There are positions in which the body is not prepared for, for whatever reason. It requires time, care, patience, and a complete absence of ego. One of the most powerful characteristics of a leader is humility. A leader who can set aside their personal agenda for the good of the team is one who earns respect, loyalty, and the confidence of their peers.

When your clients come to you in search of learning mindfulness, self-affirmation, motivation, and clarity, remember that yoga and meditation have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship for thousands of years. When you incorporate them into your coaching practice, you’ve created a perfect triad.

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