7 Yogic principles for healthy life and work
5000 year old principles and fundamental truths to apply in your work, business and life
The great Indian sage Patanjali coined many philosophies in his book of Yogic aphorisms, Yoga Sutras. This is one of the most translated ancient Indian texts from the medieval era. The book is a splendid treatise for management of the self and our emotions in particular. The universal aphorisms given by the sage are a brilliant source of wisdom and illumination, especially at work and in business. Patanjali’s teachings can even be useful in managing emotions and expectations in organisations. Here are some 5000-year-old concepts that you can apply in your day-to-day work, business and even life.
This popular guideline is commonly translated as “non-violence”. Patanjali highlights that it’s not just the absence of causing harm but also actively doing everything to foster harmony. Ask yourself how you can do the least harm in your work or business, and be actively contributing to make the world a better place. Evaluate your behaviour and habits that are damaging — this could include delay, laziness, procrastination, lack of communication or dearth of clarity. To embody ahimsa (non-violence) in your work — be inclusive and accepting.
One of the first advice Patanjali offers is dirgha-kala, which means “for long periods”. This means knowing that whatever you are undertaking cannot be achieved overnight. Whenever you start anything new, whether a job, a new relationship, a course or a hobby — Sage Patanjali advises there is always going to be some effort involved. You must intentionally create the groundwork you hope to build on and approach it with the attitude of being in it for the long run.
Frequently translated as “truthfulness” — here Patanjali asks us to be completely authentic, with radical honesty about who we are, what our work is, our skills and about who we can serve. To incorporate satya (truth) in your work and business, ask yourself honestly about what you are not being truthful about. Are you hiding things from customers or colleagues? Be honest and stop using scamming tactics.
Roughly translated to “non-stealing” — though not actively stealing, it’s vital to notice that feelings of dissatisfaction might sometimes make you act in unethical ways. The principle of asteya requests us to connect with appreciation, gratitude and thankfulness. Avoid being trapped into feelings of insufficiency, lack and scarcity. Spend time being present with where you are now instead of focusing on what’s next. Consciously decide to not steal people’s time and energy in non-productive ways.
Roughly meaning “uninterrupted dedication”, this refers to the need of sustained commitment to progression. Your efforts must be enthusiastic and full of vitality. Imagine trying to learn to play the guitar without practicing often, or starting a business without investing time and energy into it. It doesn’t pay off unless you have the “uninterrupted” dedication.
This philosophy, roughly translated as “non-possessiveness”, asks you to not grasp too tightly to anything in your work or business, including your clients, business deals, successes and business identity. It asks you to be open to evolving at any time. All businesses today are moving to become agile and this notion of aparigraha helps to be fearless in making changes quickly. Agility helps you to easily move in and out of situations and having rapid iteration skills.
Applying these 5000-year-old principles will change the very basis of how you function. We should stop associating yoga with just stretching or flexibility and recognise it as an ancient practice that has valuable and practically applicable concepts with which you can improve your work, business and life. Which of the above fundamental truths resonates with you the most?
Connect with Anjaan across social media @MeditateWithAnjaan