There’s a saying ‘don’t mix business with pleasure’ – but when it comes to activities in one’s ‘after-hours’ life that are adding real value and facilitating transformation, I’d think it a pity to not take a few lessons and apply them to one’s professional life. Yoga is a very good example of this – and how the benefits, and the principles are not only for when you’re on the mat – but can help you immensely in business too. Here’s some of the most important things that my Yoga practice has taught me:-
Ego – The beautiful thing about Yoga is that the ego is not welcome on the mat. There is no competition, only a willingness to welcome a new experience every lesson, and just to do the best you are able to at that moment. Magical things happen on a professional level when you leave your ego at home when you travel to the office. Leaving your ego behind in no way means you will become a doormat. Be open and receptive and you’ll welcome new things into your day – and you’ll find that openness will facilitate growth and success – and make you far more approachable too!
Calm focus – When you’re on the mat, the only things that matter are you, your breath and your mental control to hold the various asanas (poses). You are mostly focusing your drishti to keep balanced and still. (Drishti is a Sanskrit word that comes from yoga. The practice of Drishti is a gazing technique that develops concentration and teaches you to see the world as it really is. In yoga, drishti is a point of focus where the gaze rests during a posture and meditation practice – gazing outward while bringing awareness inward). The same calm focus can come in very valuable during a day’s work too. You’ll be amazed what power comes from a calm, unruffled focus, especially during stressful times.
Keep trying – No two yoga practices will ever be the same. Some days will be good balance days, others will be bad focus days, others good strength days. You’ll find one day you can do a really tricky pose effortlessly for the first time ever, and then it will elude you a few times after that. But you keep going back, right? Well, the lesson is – no matter what, keep trying. No two days at work are ever the same either.
It’s not about being the best, but being better than before – In some companies, there’s huge competitiveness between colleagues, and while there’s nothing wrong with some fun rivalry between sales-people, the trampling scramble to the top amongst execs can be destructive and break relationships (and don’t mention the stress). Yoga teaches us that It’s not about being the best in class, it’s about being better than you were in your previous moment, even if it’s about the thoughts you think – or just realising sometimes to just ‘let it go’.
Be open – Try new things, challenge yourself, and listen – both to yourself and your teacher. Don’t be blocked by your ego or logic. Be open to your instinct, and be willing to learn. This has served me well in my Yoga journey and I can highly recommend it in daily-life too. I’m far from perfect, and still a work in progress – but this mindset adopted from Yoga has definitely improved my relationships, and my stress levels when things have gone wrong.
There is no perfect way – Yoga moves / life / business is raw, it’s engaging, it’s ugly at times, it’s also rewarding. There is no perfect way, no text-book, no actual right or wrong. Don’t be afraid to try something your way (I’m obviously not talking about dishonest practices), keep looking for solutions because they do exist, and don’t worry if something is not perfect, you can keep working on it.
Then, most importantly, Yoga teaches us to accept and let go. It is what it is. Don’t dwell on it, learn from it and move on. Wishing you every success on your journey, and hope that what I have shared here gives you some inspiration going forward! Namaste.