26/06/2015 8:17 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

5 Lessons That Yoga Has Taught Me About Business

Boston Globe via Getty Images
CAMBRIDGE, MA - JUNE 3: Noon office yoga class at Draper Laboratory, one of Draper's employee wellness initiatives. Draper is a Cambridge research lab that also promotes diversity by offering transgender health services and other benefits through its insurance, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Draper executives say honoring employee diversity and wellness is part of their mission. (Photo by Joanne Rathe/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Most workplaces are now more than ever recognising the significance of including well-being into the routines of their employees. This map of a healthy mind, body and business has gained prominence because of greater awareness about the widespread benefits of fitness, but also because technology has revolutionised the way people can track, record and motivate themselves to stay fit, even while at work. With apps that help you track not only how many miles you've walked but also how well others are doing, there also comes a level of engagement and challenge. One person's walked miles become another's mission. "Connected Healthcare" is the new fitness mantra.

As we involve ourselves in our daily tasks amidst a high-pressure corporate environment, the effects of stress are sometimes not noticed until it is too late - sometimes lethally so. It is therefore mandatory to nourish one's mind as well as body. It is required not only for serenity but also for enhanced performance. As a practitioner I believe that yoga and meditation create a bridge for mind-body wellness. It rejuvenates the mind and cleanses accumulated stress. Fitness and discipline are not fads but a commitment that you owe to your own self.

"I have adopted yoga also because to me it personifies traits that any individual or organisation should represent."

Yoga has now has global reach as a wellness tool. The sight of an office-goer carrying a yoga mat is not limited to a geography or demography. In that sense I think yoga and technology are alike in their prevalence everywhere. Something I read the other day really resonated with me: chakras are for the body what the worldwide web is for technology. Yoga's principles and techniques develop discipline and structure in our minds.

I have adopted yoga also because to me it personifies traits that any individual or organisation should represent. Here are five things that yoga has taught me about business.

1. Manage limitations, exceed expectations

Whenever I see some complex yoga posture, I often wonder how he/she managed to do it. Does the person not have bones? Or do we overplay our limitations and undermine our own abilities? The practice of yoga has only reaffirmed to me that the only thing that stops us from becoming great is our own self. Yoga represents challenges that we learn to master. My learning, therefore, is that since resources are always limited it is imperative to leverage the strengths in the team. Each associate comes with a unique skill set. Help them channelise their thoughts into the right outlet.

2. Managing complexity

Each yoga posture though seemingly complex is attained through practice and perseverance. Though a problem may seem large or confusing, when broken down into individual steps, the resolution gets clearer and implementation easier. This will also enable clear and structured thought processes.

3. Managing the mind

Yoga combined with meditation is a powerful tool to gain perspective and rejuvenate. To me, managing the mind also means to resolve internal conflict. Similarly, each organisation has its own conflicts that need to be combated and resolved. It involves creating tasks forces of like-minded people who not only manage the conflict but also create an environment of amicability.

4. Transformation

I have known people who over one year have made big changes in themselves. They have managed aggression, overcome concentration issues and in that sense I have seen them transformed. Alternative thinking means solving problems in ways not thought of before, by using fewer resources and exploring new solutions or new markets. Keep changing thought processes and established ways and means of doing work.

5. Change in perspective

I have always been amazed by Sirsasana, which is essentially a head stand, but to me as a business leader it epitomises looking at things in a new light. While in business when we look at a problem from one angle the resolution also falls in the same purview but when you change the angle, new observations emerge. Studies have shown that projects are often enhanced and enriched by innovative ideas from people who are not directly involved. Their fresh perspective brings much needed change.

In conclusion, there are multiple ways and layers to how learnings from yoga can benefit business. From posture to poise, yoga contributes to the stance and substance of a person and while the individual surely benefits, the organisations also stand to gain a lot. So go out there stretch your imagination!

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