Yoga has gained popularity as more and more people are learning about the physical benefits of the ancient practice such flexibility and core strength.
But can practising Yoga make a positive difference to you in your business or career?
I’m far from being a Yoga Guru but I think it can.
Don’t worry you won’t have to don a pair of yoga pants, master the downward dog or sit in the lotus position in a hot room to experience the positive benefits of Yoga.
The first thing you need to understand though is that Yoga isn’t just about the body. It’s not only a unison of mind, body and spirit but a way of life.
The root of Yoga lies in ancient moral, ethical and societal guidelines known as Yamas.
Here’s how the practising these 5 Yamas in the context of your business or career can lead to positive transformational impact in your results!
#1 Ahimsa – Non-violence towards the self and others.
Violence isn’t always about physical harm but also the emotional and mental impacts of our reactions to events and other people.
In the pursuit of success it is inventible that we will make mistakes, have failures along the way and not always get the result we want. When that happens we can become our own worst critic and give ourselves such a hard time what we speak to ourselves in a way in which we would never not accept from others.
The negative words and actions we use in these situations are a ‘violent act’ which affects our self esteem, confidence and can ultimately can impede our growth
For example, if a project or product fails instead of becoming angry and disappointed with yourself or other people, ask yourself “Are my thoughts, actions, and deeds fostering the growth and well-being of everyone involved?”
Learn to apply love and compassion, however difficult it may seem, and you will see greater opportunity and possibility to move forward.
#2 Satya – Commitment To Being Truthful.
This is based on the belief that honest communication and action form the foundation of of any healthy relationship, community or organisation. Deliberate deceptions such as withholding information, altering the truth, exaggerating, gossiping, or retelling a story that you know isn’t exactly accurate can all have harmful impacts.
Being truthful also applies to the self. It means have the courage and conviction to live our own truth and not hide away behind some kind of mask. It’s about authenticity.
The less truthful we are the more we have to do in order to cover up our tracks and that can bring about feelings of anxiety, stress and guilt.
For example, as simple mis-truth on a CV, Linkedin profile or claim of results can seem harmless at the time but can have far reaching consequences.
Sir Walter Scott once wrote “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”
Practising truthfulness in how we speak, act and communicate brings about feelings of calmness as there are no fabrications that need remembering and elaboration.
Whilst being truthful is important, you should also be aware of our intentions behind sharing a truth. If our motive for telling the truth is to bring about deliberate harm to another then perhaps it is not a truth worth telling.
#3 Asteya – ‘Non stealing’
This practice is two fold.
Firstly it is about becoming aware if we are constantly looking outside of ourselves for satisfaction, it becomes difficult to recognise our own talents, gifts and the abundance that already exists.
We can fall into mindset of lack wishing we had what others have and curse our own luck for not having the same. Yoga teaches us that when we let go of the desire of something, it will come to us by itself. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, be grateful of what you do have and all sorts of opportunities will present themselves to you.
Secondly it is about becoming self aware enough that we do not take advantage of what is freely given. For example, this can be as simple as turning up to a meeting on time or not asking someone to stay behind to complete work to a deadline if we have no intention of acting upon until days later. In taking someone’s time that may not have been freely given, we are, in effect, stealing.
Just think about how annoyed we get we someone wastes our precious time.
#4 Brahmacharya – Control of impulses of excess.
Traditionally this was practiced by ancient yogis who took on a vow of celibacy as a commitment to their spiritual path but in this context I’m going broaden its meaning to managing energy levels.
We live in a period when we are busier than ever before with huge demands on our time.
Our schedules are so full of things we need to do that most of us have no time for meditation, contemplation, or practices that rejuvenate us.
We don’t have the time to cook wholesome meals and so we end up eating processed convince food or worse still fast foods. We have little time for walks in the fresh air so we settle for a quick “workout” in air conditioned gyms whilst being bombarded with TV and loud music. Our minds and the energetic body become disturbed by overstimulation and a lack of connection to the natural world.
If we are honest with ourselves, even the most hardworking among us can point to things we do in the day which are not the best use of our time which could be better used for practices which revitalise us.
Look for pockets of time where you can begin to meditate for just 10 minutes a day or take a 15 minute walk to raise energy levels and rejuvenate you. You might even pre plan and prepared your daily meals so that you are not making impulsive decisions on what to eat.
#5 Aparigraha ‘non attachment’ to material things.
Success for many people is defined by what they own. The house in which they live, the make and style of the car they drive or the amount of money they have in the bank all act as a yard stick as to their level of achievement, happiness or fulfilment in life.
It’s fine to have nice things in life but when they become the centre of your life and the measure by which assess your self worth, you are heading for trouble.
When you become attached to material things it can lead you to become fearful, stressed or be in a constant state of worry about what would happen if they are lost or destroyed.
For example, imagine buying a brand new car and the first thought that comes to your mind when you park it is “Will someone scratch my new car while it is parked here?”
Non-Attachment is not necessarily about giving up everything and living the life of a monk. It is about understanding that your material possessions are yours temporarily – on lease if you like – and the tighter you hold onto them and use them to define your happiness the more emotional stress you are creating for yourself.
Final Yogic thought.
All this may all sound like common sense but like my friend Miles said to me “Common sense isn’t always common practice.”
These simple practices can bring a greater sense of balance into your life and I’m confident practicing them consistently will begin to give you a higher level of self consciousness and awareness which in turn will help you to towards living a healthier, happier and more peaceful life.
Like anything new you try it will take time to settle into it but stick with it!
As always any help, comments or ideas are always welcome.
This post was influenced and inspired by these sources: http://yoga108.org,