2 Somatic Practices for Women Leaders

Women have been oppressed through the years, overtly and covertly. They are now rising, speaking up and raising a voice in tumult and comfort. In order to enable women to find a smooth sailing work environment and embark on the journey of their career. Psychotherapist, Sailaja Manacha, addresses the issues one may face at the workplace in her book 'Step Up'. She does this through activities which can be implemented in everyday life and empower individuals to have full control of her workplace.

In one chapter she talks about ‘somatic coaching’ - coaching style that brings the body forward as a catalyst in creating a place for change and transformation. It gives great emphasis on body language and how one should conduct their gestures.

Following are the practices she suggests in order to better one’s gesticulation:

PRACTICE 1: Be curious and experiment

  • From the insights you have from practice, try these ideas to see their impact on communication.
  • Stand with your shoulders pulled back and be aware of your posture in meetings and presentations.
  • In meetings get your feet flat on the ground and mind erect. Breathe easy and take a moment to focus on what the meeting is about before you begin speaking.
  • Experiment with your pace of speaking and see the impact it has.

PRACTICE 2: Noticing body and emotions

Sit in a comfortable position. You are going to remember a few experiences as listed below. Do not pick serious or very significant events for these.
Keep your eyes open as you reflect and notice. Notice and label the emotion and note any sensations felt in your body.

  • Notice if the body feels heavy, light, tight constricted or rigid. Notice if your breath changes. This is a good way to connect the body and emotions.
  • A situation where you were angry with another person. You were a bit upset with them. What were you thinking? As you go over the situation, become aware of your breath and where in your body you feel anger, irritation, annoyance, or if you feel upset?
  • Think of an instance where you were a little anxious. Go over the incident and the happenings around it and notice any sensations in your body.
  • Has there been a recent event in time when you felt disappointed and sad? Again, notice as you go over and think through the details – what you feel in your body and where. Notice if your breath changed as you recollected the experience.
  • Pick a happy occasion where you felt happy and joyful. Notice the feelings in your body.

Do you think these practical exercises helped you introspect and empowered you to improve this area of your life?