10 yoga principles to apply to your professional life

At the intersection of mindfulness and business lie these tips on applying the principles of yoga to your working life – from avoiding self-sabotage to challenging yourself to become the very best version of yourself

Yoga and business are not an obvious combination but adding some off-the-mat flexibility into your professional life could seriously reduce your stress levels.

Resilience is one of the key aspects of a successful business, with or without a global pandemic. If you want to succeed professionally, you need to be able to get back on your feet when you’re knocked off balance. The 10 principles of yoga philosophy detailed below can help you maintain your balance in the first place.

1. Surrender: it is what it is

The principle of surrender shows us that we first have to fully accept whatever is there, to be there. It’s as simple as accepting that we can’t change rain into sunshine.

Some situations are completely out of our control. Lots of businesses came to a full or a partial standstill in the last couple of months. Fact is, there is nothing we can do about the phenomenon of the pandemic as such. If you’re in the overseas travel business for example, there is absolutely no point in resisting the current changes, or worse, fighting against them. It will only make you feel miserable. It is when you fully accept the situation, as it is, that you can start thinking creatively, it takes the idea of struggle out of the equation.

2. Self-inquiry: reinvent yourself

As soon as you can release the struggle, you make room for creativity. The principle of self-inquiry invites us to have a closer look at our ambitions, goals, beliefs and overall mental fitness.

It’s about challenging ourselves to become the very best version of ourselves. Companies have all kinds of goals and ambitions but how many people are highly committed to their personal life goals?

3. Self-discipline: keep going

One way to reach goals is to have the self-discipline to not give up and push through when things get tough. Even when you fall of the bandwagon, get back on it. In these moments you can learn the most, especially when you dive deep enough to really investigate what made you tip over.

Self-discipline is one of the most important principles in the yoga philosophy. It’s about not leaving any room for negotiating with yourself on made commitments.

4. Contentment: appreciating what is

It is extremely difficult to feel frustrated when you feel truly grateful. Without going too ‘woohoo’ here, this is a fact.

For years, I heard many people say that they wanted to make the shift towards digital, with videos and an increased social media presence. Covid-19 forced many entrepreneurs to finally dive in, ready or not. In that sense, maybe this was the push they needed.

5. Purity: it’s all in the mind

Would you say the things that you mentally say to yourself on a daily basis to a five-year-old child? Most likely not and yet we still torment ourselves with the most horrible thoughts all day long.

The principle of purity invites us to start paying a closer look at our thoughts. It invites us to become aware of how we possibly sabotage ourselves, simply by thought.

6. Non-attachment: let go

If you keep holding on to what was or how things should be, you increase your own suffering. Not being able to let go of your accomplishments, or your image, function, title, and so on, keeps you in a state of stress and fear. A much more productive way of thinking is to arouse anticipation vibes and to be curious about what’s next.

7. Energy management: relax and recharge

In the modern world, we can translate this principle into taking extremely good care of ourselves. To become fully aware of when it is time to rest and when it is time to work out, for example, both physically and mentally.

8. Non-stealing: greed is not the answer

In a society where ‘more’ seems to equal ‘success’, it’s not always easy to be conscious about our choices. Choices that can influence future generations when it comes to the overall resources of the planet, for example. 

9. Truthfulness: what you see is what you get

It might take a bit of courage in certain environments but in the long run, it’s far more interesting to be authentic and honest in business than to deceive people for quick wins. This is not exactly rocket science, yet many people are still hesitant to show others who they really are.

10. Non-violence: just be nice

One could say that the nine previous principles are only there to teach us about the principle of non-violence. In our professional lives, there is the option to be highly effective, successful and still be nice.

People need to get hired and fired, but the way we do this can be non-violent. If we can just be a little more aware of what is in the best interest of all parties involved, this would be a different world.

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Applying these 10 principles offers an opportunity to do business in a different way – a kinder and more conscious way. This might be exactly what we all need in these challenging times.

Rachel Bonkink is the Founder of Revealing Vajra. Her book, Flex Your Mind (Practical Inspiration Publishing, 2020) transforms yoga philosophy into very practical guidelines for daily life.

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