Do you make good business decisions?
It’s an important question as good decision making is a trait of successful executives.
The quality of your business choices can determine if your new business initiative flies high or if you get promoted faster than your peers.
What qualities are actually needed to make good decisions?
Naturally, in order to make good business choices you need to have the right business information but, there are also some soft factors which can determine success or failure. Namely, executives must have a sharp mind and be focused, positive, calm, and confident but, not overly confident.
Are you aware that a simple and specific yoga workout can improve all these soft skills?
According to several studies, yoga can help the decision-making process and allow people to make smarter choices. Yoga workouts not only strengthen your physical body but, strengthen and sharpen your mind. Both qualities that can help executives excel in business.
Very recently, yoga practice has even been suggested as mandatory for members of the British House of Commons! This is a great idea since yoga workouts can give them better judgement and allow them to make smarter decisions.
This yoga workout is designed to promote effective decision making at work. Some benefits this yoga workout will give you are to calm your mind, give you serenity, focus, concentration, a global vision and refresh your brain for creativity. Better decision making can start here, with this 30-minute yoga workout!
Yoga Workouts to Strengthen the Executive’s Business Making Skills
This yoga workout gives executives better decision making power but, it is not for beginners. If you’re new to yoga please read our article about beginner yoga routines as a starting point.
This 30-minute yoga workout is broken down into four types of yoga poses. Breathing poses are to help you gain serenity and focus on the present moment. Standing poses promote mental clarity. Balance poses promote concentration and focus. Inversion poses promote blood irrigation in the brain, which leads to increased creativity and new ideas.
If you’re ready to start making better decisions, let’s get started with the 30-minute yoga workout!
1. Easy Pose (Calm the Brain)
Easy pose is the natural starting point for this yoga workout because of the breathing mindfulness benefits for executives. By starting here, you will calm the mind and start to increase your focus on the yoga practice and, in turn, increase focus elsewhere in your life.
Start in a seated cross legged position that is comfortable for you, bring the hands to the knees with plams face up and body relaxed. Sit up tall with spine long and the crown of the head reaching toward the ceiling. Relax the shoulders.
Start to concentrate on your inhales and exhales, taking them slow and steady through the nose. Begin here with 15-20 breaths to start your workout.
Tip: If you have tight hips, sit up on a yoga block or a pillow to allow the knees to fall more comfortably to either side.
2. Pranayama (Breath Control to Increase Mental Strength)
Pranayama is the practice of specific breathing techniques. Prana is this Sanskrit word for “life energy” while ayama means “to extend” for a translation quite literally meaning breath.
For executives, practicing breath control is beneficial to increase mental strength.
It will also calm your nervous system and increase perception, which are essential in decisive decision making.
Start seated in easy pose and bring one hand towards your face, folding the three middle fingers down so that the thumb and pinky finger and extended.
Exhale completely and use your right thumb to close your right nostril. Inhale through your left nostril and then close the left nostril with your pinky finger. Open the right nostril and exhale through this side. Inhale through the right nostril and then close this nostril. Open the left nostril and exhale through the left side. This is one cycle. Continue this for 5-10 cycles.
Tip: This breath exercise takes patience and concentration, so don’t give up if you don’t control the breath right away. Practice overtime will increase it’s benefits.
3. Cat to Cow Posture (Creates Emotional Balance)
Cat/cow pose promotes emotional balance, necessary for effective decision making.
It is also a gentle stretch for the back, stomach and chest. This is nice for executives because it can help to open up the chest and counteract slouching and rounded shoulders from hours of deskwork.
Start out on hands and knees with wrists directly beneath shoulders and knees beneath the hips. As you exhale press into palms while rounding the shoulders and tucking chin to chest, pressing the upper back towards the ceiling and pulling the navel in towards the belly button. This is cat pose.
As you inhale reverse the posture letting shoulders fall away from the ears and stomach drop towards the floor. Your belly should be more relaxed while your chest is opening up. This is cow pose.
Try doing this for 10-15 breaths to warm up the spine and continue controlling the breath with movement.
Tip: Put a blanket under the knees if they need more support or cushion. This pose should be gentle and comfortable!
4. Tree Poses (Enhances Confidence and Create a More Positive Level of Self-Esteem)
Tree pose is a standing posture that takes balance, confidence, and concentration to master. All key characteristics an executive must posess for good decision making.
By practicing this posture, it will enhance confidence and create a positive level of self-esteem.
Start by grounding into your right foot and making sure all four corners all pressed evenly into the ground. Once you feel balanced, bring the left foot off the ground and place the foot on your calf or thigh, do NOT place foot directly on the knee! Press thigh into foot and foot into thigh.
From here stand up tall, relax the shoulders away from the ears and keep your gaze steady. Hands can be placed on hips or in prayer pose at the heart. From here, just breathe! Stay in the pose for 8-10 breaths and then switch to the left side.
Tip: If your balance isn’t great, keep your toes on the gound and just lift the heel onto the opposite leg, using it as a kickstand.
As you start to gain confidence in the posture, you can slowly bring the foot up a little higher each time.
5. Warrior II (Develops Concentration and Energy)
Warrior II is a strong standing pose that will help executives develop concentration and energy, which are obviously needed in making critical decisions.
Because almost every muscle in the body is activated while holding this pose, it can help improve circulation while energizing the mind and the whole body.
It is a challenging posture!
To start, step your right foot back into a lunge but, instead of staying on the ball of your foot ground the right heel and have the toes face out at about 3 o’clock. You left knee will bend to a 90 degree angle (or whatever angle you can manage), and toes will stay pointed forward at 12 o’clock.
Bring your arms to a T position to that left arm is toward left foot and right arm is toward right foot. Keep your gaze forward, looking out past your left hand. While here remember to breathe! Stay like this for 8-10 breaths. Switch sides and begin again.
Tip: If you feel like this is awkward or painful for you back knee, turn the back foot to about a 45 degree angle. Right toes toward 1 o’clock or left toes toward 11 o’clock. This should take some pressure off the knee and allow you to fully express the pose and gain its full benefits.
6. Warrior III (Your Brain Thinks Sharp)
Warrior III is the second balance pose in this yoga workout. Just like tree pose, it takes patience, confidence, and concentration to master.
As executives, we will benefit from this pose because it will help to make the brain think smarter and sharpen our focus.
Start by grounding into the right foot pressing all four corners of the foot into the ground. Once you feel grounded, start to lift the left leg up while bending forward from the hips. Keep lifting your left foot up until it is at hip height and bring the chest forward, so it is parallel to the floor. Reach arms forward, bringing triceps by the ears. Keep your gaze steady and focus on your inhales and exhales. Stay here for 8-10 breaths and then swtich to the left side.
Tip: This pose takes a lot of shoulder and hamstring flexibility. To ease up on the hamstrings don’t lift the back leg so high. For tight shoulders, keep hands on hips or bring them to prayer at heart center.
7. Side Plank (Develops Your Concentration Skills)
Side plank is a major core and arm strengthing exercise.
Along with the strength gain, executives will see developments in concentration skills, which is helpful in making executive decisions.
This can be a challenging posture, so make sure to modify if need be.
Start on hands and knees, keep the right hand on the ground and reach left arm up towards the ceiling. Straighten both knees so that you’re balancing on the outer edge of the right foot and the inner edge of the left foot. Make sure your right wrist is directly under your right shoulder. Keep your feet stacked and hips and head in line with the spine. Also keep your core tight to maintain balance. Gaze can be up toward the ceiling or down to the ground. Stay here for 8-10 breaths and then swtich sides.
Tip: To modify this pose, bring your bottom leg to the ground resting the knee and shin. This will help with balance and take soe pressure off your wrist.
8. Wide Legged Forward Fold (One-Pointed Attention)
After practicing this inversion pose, executives will notice more focused attention and concentration.
When you focus on this pose, it cultivates an ability to shift from ‘executive brain’ to that of one-pointed attention. This focused state will allow other concerns to dissolve so that you can focus on the task at hand.
Wide legged forward fold is also a deep hamstring and lower back stretch
Start with feet wider than hip width apart, inhale, and reach the crown of your head toward the ceiling to lenghten your torso. As you exhale, start to fold forward at the hips reaching hands toward the ground. As you fold forward, let the crown of your head fall toward the ground. Stay here for 8-10 breaths. Slowing rise back to standing. Once you feel ready, repeat the forward fold 1-2 more times depending on how you feel.
Tip: If this pose makes you dizzy when you return to standing, try not folding over all the way. As you fold, bring hands toward the ground and chest parallel to the floor.
9. Shoulder Stand (Positive Energy to Your Body and Mind)
Shoulder stand is an inversion and should be practiced with caution.
Inversions increase blood flow to the brain, which can calm the mind, relieve stress, and mild depression.
This can also help improve memory and concentration. Overall it can bring positive energy to your body and mind.
Start lying on your back and bring feet towards the ceiling so that legs are straight. There can be a slight bend in the knee if needed. If you have high blood pressure stay here in the inversion. To proceed to shoulderstand, press hips into the air and rest them on your hands, elbows are still on the ground. Stay here for 8-10 breaths before slowly coming down to your back and staying there for a few moments before proceeding.
Tip: When you’re in this pose, DO NOT move your head from side to side, keep gaze toward the ceiling. Your neck is in a very vunerable position, so take caution.
10. Corpse Pose (Calm Your Systems)
Corpse pose or savasana is the normal way to end all yoga practices. By taking a few moments to consciously rest you allow yourself some serenity, calmness, a decrease in blood pressure and it will improve brain function.
This is especially beneficial for executives because calming the nervous system allows you to decrease anxiety and stress, which will help sharpen brain function.
For this pose, simply lay on your back and take rest. Palms go face up towards the sky, eyes close and body completely relaxes.
The only wrong way to do savasana is if it isn’t comfortable. Cold? Use a blanket to cover you. Lower back pain? Place a pillow under the knees.
This yoga workout will strengthen your body and your mind. As executives, we need to stay at the top of our game and decision making is something we do daily. Start practicing this yoga workout to improve decision-making skills ,concentration, and confidence.
Do you practice yoga? What poses help you with your decision-making skills and your everyday executive life?