This posture confidently exemplifies restraint, patience and self-awareness.

The seated forward bend is one of the greatest guides to letting go of the ego. Our inherent competitive nature may surface initially, pushing us deeper into the stretch. It’s common to overlook the breath or become aware of what’s happening on the next mat, but the folded nature of the posture fosters a feeling of grounding, of coming back to oneself. Learning to focus inwards we can let go of the need to compare ourselves to others. We understand that every body is created differently and can begin to enjoy the intense stretch and mental calm offered. Pain is never acceptable but to try and escape any discomfort would miss this lesson in restraint and discipline. Learning when to act decisively and when to wait is a key lesson in leadership. When we move with the breath, in our own time without expectations we accept our limitations with compassion. The ego has no place in any posture. Surrender to the pose and accept the many physical and mental benefits it offers.

It’s vital to keep a long, straight spine and focus on hinging forward at the hips. This can be challenging to master alone. What feels like the correct posture to us, could be far from the ideal. Practicing in front of a mirror or an experienced teacher, we become aware of the position of the spine and how to extend safely.

With this renewed focus, we may not appear to move very far at first. The lessons here for leadership are plenty.

It’s critical to consider whether we approach situations from a position of certainty, assuming that experience and tenure will always offer the more appropriate method. How open are we to feedback and new ideas? In the face of a routine task we assume that we know best. We swear our spine is straight but others, with a different viewpoint, could offer insight to improve. Similarly, there are times when leaders feel confident that they know how their teams are feeling while the reality may be very different. Our peers can reflect a bigger picture, it’s up to us whether we are open to seeing what they offer. With a little humility and trust in our community we can let go of the need to impart all of the answers. In the forward bend, when we take the time to come back up, bring attention to the spine and acknowledge what’s in the mirror, we can return to the posture with a heightened awareness and absorb the maximum result from our practice.