Big Lessons Learned: Embody Your Leadership with Gangotri Garg

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After spending the formative years of her life in a cult following a guru, Gangotri Garg experienced a reawakening that would completely reroute her life. Through teaching yoga and empowering others to take ownership of their bodies, she realized that (despite being highly attuned to her body) she wasn’t allowing herself true sovereignty over her thoughts and actions.

Following years of research and further self-discovery, Gangotri now teaches others the value of being in touch with your feminine energy and leading from a place of embodiment. To help The Forem community find the confidence and balance that propelled Gangotri through a highly successful career as a leadership coach, Stanford Graduate course facilitator, and high-level businesswoman, we invited her to share her insights. Here are our key takeaways from the discussion.

We All Need a Balance of Masculine and Feminine Energies

Before you read any further, let’s clarify: Gangotri teaches that masculine and feminine energies exist completely outside of the construct of gender. 

Gangotri reminds us that wholeness (akin to yin and yang) necessitates us to balance both the masculine and the feminine. For reference:

Masculine = analytical, decisive, consistent, objective

Feminine = intuitive, creative, dynamic, emotional

However, there’s a clear dominance on the side of masculinity in our society today which she argues is leading to a culture of toxic unbalance. Gangotri challenges us to find and connect with the feminine energy within ourselves as a means to revive a collective sense of wholeness.

Data Isn’t Actually King

One sign of our tendency toward masculine energy is our over-reliance on data and cognitive information more so than lived experiences.

But wait! Data is so important for research and making evidence-based arguments and…

Yeah… we had that thought, too.

While Gangotri acknowledges the value of data as a means to confirm thoughts or curiosities, she asks us to question how many interests and values we hold that we may have simply bought into without first turning inward to examine our feelings.

Gangotri also encourages us to consider that “info and data are often static and unable to evolve.” By placing so much value on text-based confirmations, this “permits us to ignore our own evolution.”

In other words: creative thought and intuition hold more value than we give them. After all, words are only 7% of what we communicate.

To challenge our personal reliance on evidence-based information (opposed to practice-based), Gangotri urges us to set boundaries for ourselves when we interact with others or approach external data. Instead of thinking of these boundaries as limiting or defensive, she describes them as “expansive,” clarifying that “there is freedom in knowing where you stand.”

There’s a Whole Bank of Knowledge (A.K.A. Power) From the Neck Down

Gangotri defines power as “the expansive and deep never ending well of resource within each of us.” This of course includes cognitive thought or what we might associate with “brain power,” but it also includes embodied knowledge. Or, as Gangotri puts it, “the wisdom that we all hold from the neck down.”

We tend to ignore messages from our bodiesーinstinct, gut feelings, etc.ーin lieu of external pressures, which can sometimes cause us to act hastily or against our values.

By “allowing our bodies to become a member of our internal advisory board” (as Gangotri describes embodiment), we become more centered and confident making moves in high stakes situations or conflicts. “When you’re more embodied, you are able to jump over that fight/flight response and address the moment IN the moment.”

That way, instead of having that unpleasant out-of-body sensation walking away from a discussion (I wish I would have said _____ instead…), we train ourselves to act in tandem with our gut, where we hold our most authentic sense of direction.

Not to mention, when we come to trust our power and intuition, we become more creative and less likely to succumb to excuses we make for ourselves when taking meaningful risks like asking for raises or promotions.

You Have to Do the Work

At this point, you might be thinking: that all sounds great…but how do I get there?

Gangotri recommends starting with recognizing points of pleasure in your body.

When you feel joy, take a moment to close your eyes and tap into how those emotions manifest physically for you. As you make a habit of recognizing the sensation of pleasure on a day to day basis (even in the small moments), you grow more attuned to the way your body processes and responds to information.

She describes the evolution of this process in three stages of depth:

  1. Self: what are you feeling or sensing? What bodily sensations are you aware of?

  2. Self and Other: what are you aware of in the other person (body language/nonverbals)?

  3. High Stakes Situations: awareness of self and others under pressure.

Begin with connecting internally on your own, and then push yourself to maintain that connection and level of sensibility in the presence of others. Expert level? Maintain embodiment in situations where your fight or flight response is likely to be triggered.

This is the stage where your feminine embodiment proves most valuable as a leadership asset. However, it will take time to get there. Be patient with yourself and practice self-compassion along the way!

Itching for more of Gangotri’s wisdom? Enroll in her 8-week course, Path to Wholeness, to dive deeper into the power and importance of embodied feminine leadership.