Most people associate yoga with sweaty spandex-clad people who greet the day in downward dog and spend hours twisting their bodies into pretzels. But yoga isn’t just a fitness fad; it’s an ancient practice dating back thousands of years that’s known to deliver a host of incredible benefits.
Not only is yoga good for the mind, body, and spirit, but it can also be a valuable tool for enhancing your business. I discovered this almost by accident a few years ago when I began practicing Kundalini yoga. Almost immediately, I saw a return on investment in yoga that was just as direct as investing in research and development, a product, a website, or a great new staff member.
The Benefits Yoga Can Bring to Your Business
There are a number of benefits that every entrepreneur can derive from yoga, including:
Improved physical wellness.
The entrepreneurial life is physically demanding. Constant traveling, long days and nights, eating out, and being exposed to nasty germs and rapidly changing temperatures during flights can put a tremendous amount of stress on your body.
Yoga provides a foundation of fitness, flexibility, and strength and gives you a major energy boost. There are also poses that are specifically designed to strengthen your immune system, which can allow you to avoid productivity-crippling illnesses. I haven’t been sick once in five years, and I attribute this to my yoga practice.
When running your own business, stress comes with the territory. The meditation portion of yoga is perfect for quieting the mind, allowing your subconscious to solve problems, and creating order out of chaos. It may seem counterintuitive, but sitting quietly helps me get more things checked off my to-do list than anything else. I experience less distraction, less stress, less anxiety, and less disappointment when things don’t go as planned.
Spiritual and karmic benefits.
Our thoughts, words, and intentions boomerang back to us as experiences. What you love, you empower; what you fear, you empower; and what you empower, you attract. When we generate personal merit through our work on ourselves, we live in a way that keeps us aligned with the universe, and our decisions and their outcomes amplify our success.
My colleagues and I have seen a direct benefit from yoga in the opportunities that it has created for us through the law of attraction. When you put positive intentions out into the universe through your practice, you’ll start bumping into the people and circumstances that can help your business in the most unexpected places. More and more, we’ve found ourselves saying, “A funny thing happened…” It’s magical, mysterious, powerful, and way easier than striving and grinding all day on our own.
4 Powerful Yoga Principles to Apply to Your Startup
Aside from the benefits, yoga also teaches a number of principles that apply to almost any endeavor in life — especially entrepreneurship.
1. You must persevere when things get difficult.
What happens on the yoga mat is a microcosm of what happens in life and business. You have to show up for your practice even when you don’t feel like it. You have to hold a pose longer than is comfortable to progress and reap the benefits. It’s not about doing as well as others. You have to do your personal best to see results.
2. If you don’t know where to begin, just begin.
Master yoga teacher Yogi Bhajan once said two things that still ring true for modern entrepreneurs. First, “there is a way through every block.” You just need to see it and act, and it will be clear. Second, “When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.”
In business, action delivers every time. If you don’t know what to do with one of your entrepreneurial endeavors, just begin moving forward, and a solution will present itself, or you will learn from the action you took and correct more quickly than you would have by staring at your navel.
3. Don’t let self-doubt get in the way of your success.
Another one of my teachers, Ravi Singh, teaches the concept of “right livelihood.” Simply doing something is not enough. You must do it right and with precision.
As entrepreneurs, our worst enemy is our self-doubt. To overcome it, focus on those actions that create the highest value, and know that you are impeccable. Only then will the outcome of your work be equally impeccable. The quality of your business is a direct reflection of the quality of your self-view.
4. Always stay positive.
Yoga urges us to be joyful and ecstatic regardless of outcomes. Every entrepreneur experiences failure. I’ve failed many times, but looking back, I can see how each step brought me closer to learning a critical business or personal lesson that helped me grow. Work to discover how everything you experience as an entrepreneur elevates you.
Most entrepreneurs don’t spend enough time investing in themselves. But yoga delivers more than any business conference or seminar ever could. Yoga aligns your energy and consciousness to help you create prosperity, eliminate self-defeating thoughts, enhance your creativity, and attract the investors and team you need in order to be unstoppable.
Yoga has also helped me tap into my internal resources and make my company a reflection of the good I want to do in the world. Making a difference and making money are not mutually exclusive. When you live a passionate, balanced life full of positivity and good intentions, you’ll create immeasurable wealth for yourself, your employees, your customers, and the world.
Paresh Shah is an experienced entrepreneur, executive, yogi, life coach, and dad of four kids. He’s the founder and CEO of Glimpulse, the Human Expression Company that creates products to challenge, inspire, and equip people to be happier, healthier, and more giving through authentic self-expression.