Dear Friends and Clients,

In my last ezine I wrote that stimulating change in one sphere of your life leads to change in other spheres. I know that if clients want career transformation but resist taking appropriate steps, I can help them to get moving by encouraging change in other areas, like their fitness regimens or social life.

This week Iíll take another look at the way change in one realm can lead to change in others. In particular, Iíll discuss how working with your body might create a shift in your emotions, your thoughts and, ultimately, your productivity.

The linkage between the state of my body, my general well being, and my success at work was brought home to me in the late Ď90s when I had the pleasure of meeting Karen Loving, a talented practitioner of the Alexander Technique.

At that time, I worked long stressful hours, managing a broad corporate team and testifying frequently before legislatures and commissions. It is no wonder that my shoulders were stiff and sore, my jaw ached and I felt tense all over.

Karen taught me how to change my habitual ways of moving and holding my body, and to release muscle tension that had built up over the years. As I learned how to relax my shoulders and jaw, I noticed that when my body relaxed so did my attitude. My professional challenges we still there, but I was more able to roll with them.

Since then, as a coach, I have seen how yoga and other kinds of bodywork can help people to not only manage their physical stress levels but also become more centered and optimistic, and thus more effective in their careers. I will discuss a few of those bodywork options in this issue.

Warm Wishes, Bev


Transform Your Body To
Change Your Attitude &
Become More Centered

August 18, 2009 * Number 109

Youíve probably had some experience in changing the state of your body in order to manage your emotions. Perhaps youíve discovered that a short walk or a long shower can help you shake off the stress from your workday. Or maybe youíve found that running or other sports can help you let go of anger.

However, even if we have some experience in managing our moods through physical activity, Westerners tend to not regard learning as something that takes place in our bodies. We are steeped in the rationalistic tradition that values theoretical knowledge and suggests that education happens in the mind. Your body is simply the delivery system that carries you to the classroom and then remains in the background as you absorb information.

We tend to believe that when something big hits us at work, we just think about it for a bit and file it away in our brains. In contrast, Eastern philosophies suggest that the sum total of our history lives in our bodies. Our moods, traumas and emotions tend to be embodied in our physical being, where they help to shape a general orientation to life over an extended period of time.

Western practitioners of holistic medicine have adopted the Eastern view as they seek to treat the patient as a whole person. They look at an individual's over-all physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well being before recommending treatment. They recognize that our bodies, thoughts and emotions are interdependent and that what transforms one realm might bring change to the others.

This view suggests that you might bring profound change throughout your life if you make a serious commitment to some form of bodywork. There are many options from which to choose, ranging from martial arts to therapeutic massage. Here are three that you might wish to consider:
  • Yoga. Although your local health club may describe yoga as just one more form of exercise, this ancient practice originated in a search for the integration of the mind, body and spirit. Yogis believe that the body and the mind are in a constant state of interaction, and by addressing imbalances in one sphere we can bring new balance to others. Specific yoga postures are intended to release daily stress and may help address imbalances that show up as anxiety, depression, restlessness or rage. For an in-depth look at how yoga might help you get out of your rut, see an article by psychologist and yoga teacher Bo Forbes at www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle1/318?print=1.

  • Alexander Technique. An AT teacher helps you see how your movement style contributes to your recurring difficulties, whether it's a bad back, neck and shoulder pain, exhaustion, or limitations in performing a task. Looking at your whole movement pattern, the teacher will help you understand how your symptoms might be associated with your characteristic way of sitting, standing and walking. She will teach you, with words and a gentle touch, to move more freely, and along the way you may become more aware of how your daily activities impact your body, and how your body reflects the stresses in your life.

  • Rolfing. This feels like a specialized form of deep tissue massage. The intent is to reorder the body so as to bring its major segments into a finer vertical alignment. The Rolfer releases adhesions in the fascia (the flexible tissue that envelops our muscles) and at the same time may release emotions and traumas that happened long ago. Rolfing has a reputation for being painful, but I found it to be mostly enjoyable and deeply relaxing, perhaps because of the high skill level of my Rolfer, Cosper Scafidi of Alexandria, Virginia.

Want more ideas for managing your career? In addition to providing executive coaching, Bev is available to speak about a broad range of issues related to your work life. Visit her website at www.ClearWaysConsulting.com or email to Bev directly. Bev is associated with Executive Coaching & Consulting Associates.



Bev’s Tips for a Better Work Life is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month by Beverly E. Jones of ClearWays Consulting, LLC. Bev is a lawyer and former executive who now coaches accomplished executives and other professionals to bring new direction, energy and enjoyment to their work lives.

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