Yoga and Business: Best Buds or Incompatible?

addthis_pub = ‘JoyForLife’;

1. an occupation, profession, or trade: His business is poultry farming.
2. the purchase and sale of goods in an attempt to make a profit.
3. a person, partnership, or corporation engaged in commerce, manufacturing, or a service; profit-seeking enterprise or concern.

How about
4. a profitable enterprise of any kind, run with yogic intentions: unity, for the good of all?

Joy for Life. Joy For Business
Bob W, blogger and administrator of the Yoga Journal Community’s Philosophy group, asked me a while ago to write my thoughts on yoga in business.

Full disclosure: my first reaction was “Me?” But Bob mentioned my firm belief that yoga is useful in any situation off the mat, and my intention to share that through my blog, my classes, and my workshops. It’s what Yoga for Joy. Joy for Life is all about.

So here we go: Yoga and Business Makes Good Cents
There’s no doubt that, from a traditional business perspective, focused on financial success, mixing business—savvy sales and marketing and a profit-centred approach—with yoga is a good idea. We only need to look to the success of Lululemon, prAna, and Yoga Journal to see proof. All of these companies have gone about their yogic intentions, firmly rooted in sound business practices, and rocketed into profits. And big, non-yoga businesses like Ford Motor, Pfizer and Clairol have taken notice. They’re going after Yoga Journal readers.

But can we mix yoga into today’s modern businesses that seemingly have little to do with the over 5,000-year-old practice? Big corporations seem to think so: Nike, HBO, Forbes and Apple all have on-site yoga classes. And business schools seem to, too: Business Week reports that MBA programs at some of North America’s top business schools are offering yoga classes.

It’s pretty widely accepted that yoga classes enable good health, and healthy, happy employees take less sick days, and make better business decisions. But I’d argue there are other reasons why bringing yoga into business is not only feasible and life-enhancing, but profit-enhancing, too.

Why Yogically-Inclined Business Make More Money
1 Unity When we consciously try to stay aware of our connection to the greater, good, and wonderful, we are more likely to stay aware of others’ connection to that, as well, and see ourselves in others. Connection with clients = plain ol’ good customer relations.

2 Service Yogic philosophy—particularly Seva: selfless action or service–encourages us to put others’ needs before our own. Another stellar customer relations practice.

3 Staying Present When we’re really, truly present, not caught up in worrying about what’s coming next, we are more open to new opportunities, and able to respond to them from a calm but focused place. New opportunities = business expansion.

4 Caring for the Environment Green initiatives are so eco-chic, it’s safe to say that green is the new black. Asteya, a yogic yama, or best life behavioural tip, encourage us to be aware of how what we take effects those, and the environment, around us. Green business practices = good public relations.

What do you think?
Are the two really compatible? I’m going to ask around and see what I can find out. I’d love to hear your thoughts (and Bob probably would, too).

Related links:
Yoga Business Coach
New York Times: Meditate on This: Yoga is Big Business

If you liked this post you might enjoy:
New Year, New You? Yoga and New Year’s Resolutions
Yoga Insider Takes on Stress Busters for Work

Jan 7, 2009 · Comment (2)

2 comments · Add Yours

Great topic!I think yoga and business go hand in hand. Yoga is about union with something bigger (whatever you want to call it is fine). If business does not see itself as part of the bigger picture it won’t be able to move forward, spot trends, and most importantly – innovate.If a business is stuck in a mind set it gets left behind. Look at the success of new innovative products like the ipod or wii. They required a creative mind to develop. Yoga and meditation give you a creative mind.


the man in the photo seems to be enjoying meditationYoga Schools


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