Though immensely rewarding, entrepreneurship can be demanding. As such, on top of being dedicated to one’s business, it’s necessary for entrepreneurs to regularly take time out to rejuvenate both their minds and bodies.
There are numerous ways to do this, of course. And even simple solutions can yield significant results.
Yet there’s one ancient practice that’s regarded as being more effective than almost everything else — yoga.
Entrenched in over 5,000 years of Indian tradition and culture, yoga isn’t just a fad exercise routine that’s practised by millions worldwide. Rather, it’s a physical, mental and spiritual approach to life that, science now confirms, brings a host of benefits.
In conjunction with the International Day of Yoga on 21 June, here’s a look at how yoga improves entrepreneurs’ health and happiness, and increases productivity.
1. A stress reliever
Owning your business and being your own boss mean having the flexibility to work when, where and how you want. Yet, the entrepreneur life is not without its challenges.
Yoga can assist in shaking off the cares of the workday by helping us be more mindful of our inner selves. The style known as hatha yoga, which is excellent for beginners, is especially beneficial due to its emphasis on breath work and meditation.
Breathing may be an involuntary act. Nevertheless, even modern science has found that deep breathing can be great for stress relief.
2. Picks you up
Essentially, this is due to a mood-related neurotransmitter in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric (GABA).
Low levels of GABA are associated with feelings of sadness and anxiety. However, as soon as one starts concentrating on doing a standing forward bend, child’s pose or other similar poses, GABA levels go up and up.
And here’s the best part — you only need a single session to start feeling great!
3. Instils discipline and patience
Yes, just one session of yoga can boost your mood. Nevertheless, for best results and to ensure one is reaping the full benefits, it’s important to be persistent and practise, practise, practise.
True, there may be times when you feel frustrated and unfocused and want to fly through your workday and tasks. Yet like with yoga, it is crucial to remember that it’s only in being slow, steady and patient that one attains true victory.
4. Makes you a better leader
The old school view of leadership is that leaders ought to be aggressive and autocratic. Yet, it’s been found that the best leaders of today are those who are calm, confident, and lift their teams in tough times.
So how does one acquire and hone these good management traits via yoga? Well, for starters, certain poses are especially geared towards leadership.
The most notable of these is warrior, a series of poses that builds muscle strength and flexibility while helping you feel strong and self-assured as well as calm and collected.
Granted, the poses aren’t all easy to master. But then again, neither is leadership.
5. Promotes open-mindedness
The modern entrepreneur is often called upon to be agile and adaptable — certainly traits one can enhance through yoga.
One of the ultimate goals of yoga is the promotion of agility of thought and open-mindedness. As such, it stands to reason that a person who practises the discipline will be more attuned to listening, learning and adapting the mind and body to new situations in business and life.
Incidentally, open-mindedness is also seen as the ticket to becoming more customer-focused.
Yes, yoga is an individual endeavour. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, the lessons it imparts will help not only you but your customers and team too.