With busy lifestyles, entrepreneurs often have limited time for exercising. They choose to hit the gym or take a run as a quick way to stay physically fit. However, many have discovered yoga not only for its physical benefits, but for its deeper philosophy attributed to self-discipline, focus, and resilience, all of which are powerful tools for succeeding in the business world.
Yoga, as an innovative practice, invites us to become better than we were yesterday through routine exercises that help us find peace in the midst of chaos. The changes begin in the body and quickly move to the mind. Slowly, over time and with commitment, they become a way of life.
Entrepreneurs who work on a laptop, which was designed for portability, often lack a proper ergonomic workstation. Many long hours crouched over the glowing screen wreak havoc on their posture and the natural curves of their spines. A huge benefit of yoga is rediscovering the natural curvature by lengthening the side body, twisting the spine and tilting the pelvis while broadening the back body. Yoga stretches the major muscle groups and increases joint mobility, which prevent aches and stiffness.
Even Steve Jobs, an American entrepreneur, became an avid yoga practitioner and believed in yoga philosophy. Jobs, who planned every detail of his own memorial service, held at Stanford University in October 2011, included a brown box as a farewell gift for each attendee. One of those attendees was Mark Benioff, philanthropist and CEO of Salesforce.com, who recounted his feelings at the moment when he opened the box. "This is going to be good," he recalled. "I knew that this was a decision [Steve] made, and whatever it was, it was the last thing he wanted us all to think about.
The box contained the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. Benioff continued: "Yogananda...had this book on self-realization.... [Steve's] last message to us was that here is Yogananda's book.... Actualize yourself.”
Two primary elements of self actualization begin with breath and presence combined with strength and flexibility.
Breath and Presence
Yoga training includes breath control, which offers practical tips for entrepreneurs on day-to-day balance. These are lessons in awakening the witness consciousness, which is a nonjudgmental vantage point for welcoming everything that arises in life. When challenges arise in business negotiations, our breath can be a resource for cooling the flames of the mind.
“There is a direct relationship between breath rate, emotions, and the autonomic nervous system state,” says Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who studies yoga and meditation.
Strength and Flexibility
Some yoga poses are designed to build strength and fire up your core, developing strength and stability. Other poses invite flexibility through repetitive moving sequences warming and lengthening your tendons and muscles. As flexibility in the body develops, we also learn how to increase flexibility in other key areas of our lives. Situations of conflict and stress that appeared as insurmountable obstacles diminish and lose their power over us as expanded awareness and freedom of expression emerge.
What is your personal path toward self-actualization?
If you are looking for ways within the CIC community to practice yoga or meditation, the Wellness Team offers in-house classes in our Cambridge and Boston offices. Click here to find out more.
Shakti Rowan, CIC Wellness Coordinator, has been with CIC for over 13 years and brings her love of community and desire to uplift the human spirit to her work. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.