By Anni Boyum
I invite you to take a break from reading and take a deep breath. Ah, your brain & body thank you!
I invite you to set an intention for your day: What’s something you’d like to offer or create today?
I’m an “Executive & Leadership coach” who loves working with leaders and teams with an expansive reach and huge impact on the lives of those they lead and serve. I’ve officially done this work for 15+ years, and unofficially most of my life. When I was a kid, an executive coach was a fancy bus wealthy folks rented to take to an event or destination.
Today, I smile when the monster buses with “Executive Coach” or “Minnesota Coach” painted on the side pass me on the highway. We share the same title and, in many ways, we do the same work; we are both in service of people in reaching their preferred destination. Coaches (the people variety) serve clients by inviting them to become aware of their thoughts, notice sensations in their body and explore new ways of moving, shifting, and designing their life.
When I’m not coaching, I’m probably practicing yoga. I’ve had an in-home-yoga-studio for 30+ years, which makes me sound more dedicated than I am to the teachings of yoga. Just this year, I completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training under the guidance of Suzy Schaak at Pure Yoga in Stillwater, MN. It was truly life giving! During training, I became inspired to learn even more.
After finishing Yoga Teacher certification, I attended the Firefly Training in trauma-informed yoga. This 30-hour program was led by the amazing Annie Kiel of Firefly Yoga International. The mission of Firefly Yoga is to create a world in which survivors of trauma can access, and benefit from, the power of yoga to heal the mind, body and spirit. My intention going into this training was to expand my skills as a yoga teacher so I might someday, offer Trauma-informed yoga classes at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. I am passionate about serving and supporting people in reaching their goals. Offering yoga seems to be a natural next step.
When I coach, I ask clients to set an Intention for our time together. During our session, we check back on the original intention to see how we’re doing. If we’re off track, we can choose to come back or recalibrate the intention. Naturally, I apply this in my daily life too.
During the Firefly Trauma-informed yoga training, the intention of being a ‘better prepared yoga teacher in order to teach at HBFF’ morphed, transformed really, to being a better version of myself. I had no idea the depth to which physiology, neuroscience, unique differences and humanity would come into our discussion. I have new vocabulary, much of which I still cannot spell, and more than that – I have a richer sense of what it means to be ‘in service’.
Can I lead a trauma-informed yoga class?
Absolutely, however that’s no longer the only goal. Today, I marvel at how much trauma-informed studies support me in working with clients and working with executives who make major decisions daily, impacting the live’s and livelihood of so many people. I’m more committed to tap into the wisdom of the body, offering an invitation to take a few deep breaths to get present, and explore ways to tune into their internal-genius and discover inspired action.
What’s one thing I will do differently because of this experience?
I will invite people to consider options, not challenge them with my own thinking or assumptions. I will invite leaders to explore or investigate how decisions feel in their body - not just their head. I will tune into my own body-wisdom when I get a little off balance during my day, whether I’m driving, using technology or working with a team. I will continue to do my own work and practice self-care because in all service-based-professions, it’s imperative we do our own work.
I am more aware of the invisible trauma we, as humans, can internalize when our fight or flight responses are unable to complete the natural cycle of release and regulate. Without a movement mechanism, like
trauma-informed yoga which offers the highest degree of choice and personal control and safety, our bodies can get stuck and become dysregulated and that, my friends, can have a huge impact on how we make decisions and lead our lives, our families and our businesses.
I invite you, in your own time, to take a few deep breaths.
Breathing in your nose, exhale through your mouth and tune into your body. I invite you to notice where your body touches the chair. What sensations are you noticing? What movement would support you in feeling even more comfortable, grounded, connected, present?
I invite you to do this before every decision, every conversation, and anytime you feel stressed or pressure. Let me know what you discover.
I invite you to revisit your intention(s) throughout the day. Ask yourself, “How am I doing? What would make this intention even more compelling, supportive, inspiring?”
I invite you to find a way to integrate some trauma-informed insights into your day-to-day leadership.
In joy, Anni b.