Yoga also ensures wellness, motivation and focus – the drivers of employee engagement.
YOGA & SOUL : SELF-MOTIVATION : The Bible assures us that the ‘kingdom of heaven‘ is within us. The Gita tells us to ‘Raise ourselves by ourselves’ (Uddharet Atmana Atmaanam…) ; here the Self (Soul) raises the lower self (Ego). All motivation in fact is Self-motivation wherein Soul raises Ego to unite with it, before the final union of Soul uniting with Spirit can happen.
When you make yourself do your yoga practice even when the ego resists, that is motivation coming in from the soul that grows with a snowball effect with everyday’s practice. When you do pranayama and pratyahaara happens as a result, bringing about what modern medicine understands as ‘Neuroplasticity of Brain‘, changing old habits of thinking and doing, it sets off new motivation, a new ‘taking charge’ of oneself. When you meditate, your entire view of life and the universe changes – a new beauty, new causeless joy, a secure peace together dawn upon you bringing eventual transformation. It is too incredible to express in words and anyone willing to be steadfast in meditative practice, can verify it.
But people expect results overnight, they begin Yoga as a fad and give up soon. They should realize that if perishable material things ask for such hard work, why should imperishable, divine gifts come with half-hearted effort ?
CREATING EXCELLENCE AS A HABIT : Excellence is not just a matter of skills, it is as much – often more – a matter of attitudes. The most vital attitude is the result of one’s perception of oneself. We are spiritual beings, playing human roles for experience, and no external conditions can be a limit to our destiny. Excellence in any work is an outer expression of our inner divinity and potential perfection.
In the Gita, aptly considered by those who really understand it as the finest management manual ever put to print, Lord Krishna says ‘Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam‘ (meaning, Yoga is effectiveness in action). This effectiveness cannot be called Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist etc.
When our outer activity is poised with inner calmness born of meditation, when there is balance between our Yin & Yang – between reason & feeling, sustainable excellence happens.
STRUGGLES & STRESS AT WORKPLACE & IN LIFE : Now it is important to understand that the wisdom that is in the Gita was imparted not in the cool shade of a tree in a hermitage or the comfort of a home, but right in the middle of a battle field when the two rival armies had gathered for what was going to be the biggest battle in the history of humanity. In the personal and professional life alike, we have struggles / conflicts everyday : Role-Role Conflict, Role-Goal Conflict, Ego-Ego Conflict, etc. There are conflicts within a team, and between teams.
90% of our stress does not come from the events that happen or the behavior of others ; it comes from our emotional reactiveness to them. The truth is, we do NOT have to manage stress, we just have to manage ourselves – our ego, our likes and dislikes, our emotions, habits and attitudes. Read more here : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dont-manage-stress-yourself-hans-dholakia
YOGA & WORK-LIFE BALANCE : Another definition of Yoga in the Gita is, “Samtwam Yoga Uchyate’ : Yoga is balance and equanimity. My Master, Paramahansa Yogananda, author of “Autobiography of a Yogi’ (www.yogananda-srf.org and www.yssofindia.org) taught that meditation plus right activity is the ultimate key. We have to strike the right balance.
Work-life balance is a misnomer ; work is an integral part of life (pls see https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140829165718-9788056-work-life-balance-is-a-misnomer
The ultimate secret is very simple ; in my Master’s words, it is about being “Calmly Active & Actively Calm”. We have to do our role-play, like a good stage actor. We have to bring our body, mind and heart to what we do ; we have to do our very best. But even as we do this, we have to stay calm, remembering that it is only a role. Then success does not bloat our ego, nor does failure depress us. We create excellence – naturally and happily, as it were.
YOGA IS NOT ABOUT RELIGION : It is a super-scientific spiritual practice. It is for all – it has a universal appeal and utility – just as Krishna’s and Christ’s love is universal, just as rain and sunshine are God’s gifts to all his children, regardless of any man-made division. Religion has a set of practices, dogma, belief-systems etc. But spirituality is about right conduct. Yoga teaches right attitudes and conduct with oneself and with others by realizing them as actually one’s larger Self. Yoga takes one ahead in the inner journey from a limiting ‘I’ of ‘me and mine’ to the Universal Self of One Spirit and All Life.
Findings in Quantum Physics on Consciousness, in PNI and Neuro-cardiology on the power of a positive mind and the power of love, scientific findings on Aura and Brain Waves etc. are the bridges between Science and Religion. And Yoga, my Master aptly says, is the Science Of Religion.
YOGA & MEDITATION : Meditation is of course the ultimate step (7th out of total 8 steps) of Raja Yoga. Everything from Yama-Niyama to Dharana that go before Meditation are preparatory while the only one that follows it (Samadhi, the 8th step) is merely a result of successful meditation. The modern world needs meditation more than anything else – students, housewives, office-goers, teachers and professors, scientists, organizational and government heads – they all need meditation as much as the monks and spiritual aspirants do. Meditation alone can establish unity among the warring religious hardliners, because through it they will see the oneness hidden behind their outer diversity.
In Harvard Business Review, I recently came across an article on HOW MEDITATION BENEFITS CEOs. Here is the link :
YOGA & LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT : Leadership is more than just IQ and EQ – we need Spiritual Quotient or Intelligence or SQ also : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leadership-sq-hans-dholakia
Essentially, leadership is about taming the ego, and yogic meditation helps there tremendously.
We must learn to THINK as great leaders do, we must learn to FEEL as they do, we must learn to INTUIT as they do. True leaders are aware, compassionate and considerate. They are well-informed and knowledgeable. But they also have a sense of situation.
What is right in one situation cannot be appropriate in another. Leadership is not just a theory that can be learned merely intellectually. Leadership is situational. The guiding precepts, the ethical undercurrents, the larger picture, the overall purpose do not change but the way they are expressed / implemented may change entirely according to the need of time and place. You can read more in my another post here : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/first-think-feel-intuit-like-leaders-hans-dholakia
CONCLUSION : Yoga is a super-science. Everyone needs to be the leader of one’s own life, so everyone can find great help in Yoga. Nothing promotes durable happiness, harmony within and around us, and balanced Personal Leadership, as does regular Yoga-Meditation.
A recent research has shown (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/re-inventing-life-beating-karma-changing-genes-hans-dholakia) that it is not genes or DNA that determine our final destiny ; with positive thoughts and meditation we can change even our DNA/genetic codes ! Yogic pranayama and meditation give one mastery over one’s thoughts and perceptions, and therefore over one’s destiny !
Happy, healthy and motivated employees are an organization’s ultimate cutting edge. Yoga improves body-mind-soul wellness / happiness, self-motivation, self-management, focus etc – the basic pillars of employee engagement / productivity and also OD, because as we know, organizations are basically people and they develop only when the people do.