A few years ago I was on a rooftop terrace in Ostend for a Yoga-intensive. I spent 5 mornings in the same group: really taking the time for myself and to enjoy. The weather was beautiful, the sun was out and there was a light sea breeze. I stood barefoot, eyes closed on my yoga mat and …

I was critical of myself! Critical because I could not do some of the postures, or could not hold them for as long as I felt I should. I was displeased that I did not succeed.

Afterwards I thought: Hello, it’s summer and I’m standing on a beautiful rooftop terrace. I’m healthy and I’m doing yoga in the sun … Why am I so critical of myself and what am I really fussing about? Do you recognise yourself in this situation? Are you sometimes too critical for yourself or for others without actually having a good reason? And how is this influencing your leadership?

Let’s take a look at this from the basic philosophy of TA.

Back to the basic philosophy of TA

When you live according to the basic philosophy of TA, you live from 3 basic principles  These help you to look at situations from a different perspective than you might be used to:

1. Everyone is ok

With TA you assume that everyone is ok, yourself too. You stop criticizing people when you accept them for who they are, which enables you to think much more neutrally and without bias about yourself as well. You can take a step back and say to yourself, “I’m fine, even though I can’t maintain that yoga posture,” as you step back from yourself. By accepting the situation as it is, you surrender to the possibility for change.

2. Everyone can think for themselves

My critical attitude towards myself is not coming from nowhere. It comes from a pattern I’ve had since my youth. I grew up in a family where it was important to achieve and perform in life. Working hard and doing your best were core values ​​in our family life. There’s nothing wrong with that, but now —a while ago— I’ve become an adult and I can think for myself about the choices I make. I do not have to be guided by what others think.

3. Everyone can reconsider their previous decisions

In the past, we have often based our choices on what our parents felt was good for us. We have often done exactly what they expected from us, or we did exactly the opposite! Also in this last case, we have based our choice on what was expected of us.

This is absolutely normal and even desirable. As a child, you were dependent on your parents and of course you wanted to please them.

We often forget that we can and are allowed to reconsider those decisions. This can be a very big and life-determining choice, but also something very small. For instance, if I cannot maintain a yoga pose for a prolonged period of time, I can choose that I will not let the pressure to perform in the past affect me and that I will instead see myself with kindness. Indeed, I did not come to the yoga-intensive to prove anything, but to relax and centre myself after a busy period.

Show kindness to myself? That’s easier said than done, Linda!

I totally agree! Remember, I was the one who was so critical of myself during my yoga class, while I am supposed to know TA quite well. ;) I also step into that pitfall from time to time. How is it that we sometimes end up repeating the same patterns?

We increasingly revert to our old habits when we’ve been busy and fatigued, when the chaos of the day overwhelms us and causes us to fall back in our old patterns.

When you become aware of this, you give yourself the chance to recognise those patterns and change them.

For female leaders and coaches

My yoga teacher shared a beautiful expression during one of the yoga-intensive days. She said:

“We want to give our children roots and wings, roots to be grounded and wings to fly away.” 

This doesn’t only apply to our children. As a female coach or leader, you also want to give your clients or employees roots so they can feel at home and grounded. You also want them to feel their wings so that they can freely choose where to go with their lives. Not being overly critical, but just being gentle to yourself and to your clients is an essential part of this process.

Want to learn more about how to help your employees or clients with TA and body language? Then the Female Leadership program is for you. You’re welcome to join.

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Linda Hoeben
+32 474 920 877
Rommersom 1A, 3320 Hoegaarden