My Approach: Body Influences Mind

I live and work in Silicon Valley, immersed in a culture where thought leaders are changing the world with innovation and technology. I am sitting not in the heart of our country, but rather the head—in an increasingly digital age. Since the dawn of IBM, Intel and Apple, just a few miles away from my home, we’ve watched how Silicon Valley has transformed our daily lives. This laptop on which I type, the mobile phone on the desk beside me, the digital document on my screen, were all born right here.

I am an executive coach who has also been trained as a Bodytherapy® practitioner. This means that while my coaching is centered on improving people’s leadership, I can’t help but observe the posture, alignment and corresponding messages from their bodies.  I love working with my clients--leaders at exciting technology companies--but I’m alarmed by the patterns I see resulting from this always on, minds rule culture. We might as well be brains on sticks. The body and its intelligence are rarely considered in the success equation. Body hacks are more popular than body holism. My clients don’t realize that what they do physically—how they sit, stand and move - is constantly communicating messages to their whole self.

If you are leaning forward over the conference table with tight fists and a clenched jaw, while talking so fast that there’s no air for anyone else in the room, is it any wonder your colleagues feel intimidated, untrusting and even bullied? At a minimum they’re unappreciated and unvalued. But forget about them for a moment. More importantly, what are these behaviors saying to yourself? Your body is saying “I am impatient, intolerant and unyielding.” How can you possibly think creative thoughts and be engaging with others when your body is wound up and rigid? The fastest way to be truly open-minded or open-hearted is to is to embody these in your physical practice. When you cultivate openness and flexibility in your body, your structure naturally conveys that to your mind and heart.