The overlooked key to amplifying your presence.

 

“Why don’t we start with 3 rounds of lion’s breath? I want to hear you make a loud noise each time you exhale.”

I smile, close my eyes and get into position. “I can do this,” I think as I laugh uncomfortably. “But, I don’t want to do it while facing you on the screen.”

Looking away from my laptop, I reluctantly do my 3 rounds – quickly. And with my best brave face, look back at Jen.

Jen is Jen Peterson. She has been studying and practicing yoga and meditation for 12+ years and is someone I’ve always looked up to for her strength and grace. And I must not be the only one! You can find her at yogagracevt.com and @yogagracevt. Working with Jen on slowing down has been one of the best investments I’ve made.

We’re working virtually today and she’s incorporated throat and heart openers as part of our yin practice. This area of our bodies has become particularly interesting to me ever since I began coaching the concept of self-promotion. Often when I ask someone to share something remarkable about themselves or something they’re proud of or good at, I watch their hand travel to their neck. When I point it out to them, they share they’re not aware they’re doing it. And to be clear, I’m no different.

Our innate instinct is to protect this area. One of my all-time favorite comedians, Pete Holmes, has an amazing 2 minute bit about this.

 

And from a yogic perspective, our throat chakra (Vishuddha Chakra) is all about expressing and giving voice to our truth. It’s about taking up space. It’s about showing up. It’s about taking risks. When your throat chakra is underactive or deficient, you feel at a loss for words, stuck, and inward. When it’s overactive or excessive, you can be reactive, over-opinionated, and outwardly stubborn.

 

Ever felt any of those things?

 

Whether you believe in chakras or not, you’ve probably heard the phrase “stick your neck out,” often used to express the negative side of vulnerability.I won’t even get started on vampires. And there are endless articles about exposing the neck as a signal of courtship. Jen reminded me of the iconic head tilt pose, meant to give an appealing and helpless look – like “come and get me” and “I’m intrigued.”

Not to mention the loads of research about the comfort it gives us to touch our necks – whether that’s giving ourselves a neck massage, adjusting our neck ties (hi Rodney Dangerfield), or playing with our hair or necklaces.

So let’s get back to self-promotion and how I got interested in this to begin with. Our body language is telling a story without us even knowing it. When we’re comfortable, our shoulders are back, our necks are long, and our hands are nowhere near it. If we’re on Instagram live, in an interview, or chatting with someone at a networking event and our shoulders are riding up around our ears, we’re essentially telling people “I don’t feel like I belong here.”

Yeah, not the vibe we’re going for!

Which takes me back to the amazing Jen. She took me through a sequence of active and inactive yin poses, incorporating gentle neck releases, supported fish, sphinx, and legs up the wall. Because it’s yin, I held each pose for 3 minutes.

She taught me the mantra “Ham” which sounds like “hhhhhaaaaaammmmmm” creating a healing vibration in the throat.

Near the end of practice, we returned to my old friend, lion’s breath. And something really interesting happened. I was able to look right at Jen and go for it! I took up space in an entirely new way.

This.stuff.works.

I asked Jen to share a short sequence for you.     

You can get a copy here.

I promise you it’s worth the time. Even more than practicing your answers to those interview questions. Yup, I said it.

I know for many of us high performers out there, slowing down is super challenging. How do we check “chilling out” off our lists? What do we have to show for “being”?

And to me, that is the same question as “Why is it important to you to show up for yourself?”

The answer might not come right away, and that’s okay. Remain there.

Once you know, you can move to:

  • How am I showing up for myself?
  • Am I hiding or could I take it further?

Asking yourself doesn’t mean you have to change. You get to stay with the question – why do you think you’re asking it to begin with?

Self-promotion is about sharing your creativity, truth, and gifts. You’re worth seeing. Let me help.

I have 2 more virtual #IamRemarkable workshops and 2 scheduled in Durham, NC if you’re in the area. Details and sign-up are here. I also have a 7 day self-promotion challenge to get you out of your head and into actionable reflection.

I encourage you to follow Jen at @yogagracevt or reach out to see how you can work together. She’s been an invaluable resource to me.