Yoga for Businesses? Seriously?

Breathe Life Into Your Business
This Tuesday I am speaking at a local business networking event on the yogic subject of prana, and it is with a touch of mischief that I look forward to the reaction of the audience to me.
“What on earth can yoga teach us about how to run a business?”, I can hear them saying.

I know, because it has happened before, and I can’t really say that I blame them. After all, isn’t yoga all about stretching and relaxing?
You may be surprised to hear, as they will be, how I think that prana, one of the main elements of yogic philosophy, is actually the critical success factor in business performance. It is like the secret ingredient that no-one considers, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
Put simply, prana is energy, or life force. Everything has
Sri Swami Sivananda says that prana is “the finest vital force in everything which becomes visible on the physical plane as motion and action, and in the mental plane as thought”. His understanding is that light, heat, magnetic energy, electricity etc are all manifestations of prana.
This isn’t just hippy mumbo-jumbo, this is science, and its powerful stuff.
Prana is in the air we breathe and the earth upon which we walk. We get it from the food we eat and from the sun in the sky. It literally nourishes us, feeds us, keeps us alive – without it we would be dead.
When we absorb prana, we are healthy, full of energy, physically and mentally in the best state possible to do all that we wish to do in life. You can start to see how this may be useful in business, as well as life in general. For one thing, more energy means greater productivity, not to mention factors like creativity, better communication, reduced absenteeism to name just a few.
So, if prana is all around us, then why aren’t we always feeling tip-top, full of beans, ready to tackle our greatest challenges with guts and gusto? Why are so many people suffering from what is now commonly known as “TATT”, as in “tired-all-the-time”? Why is everyone so flipping exhausted?
The answer? Lack of energy. Not enough prana. Our lives have become so disconnected to the laws of nature, we’re not nourishing ourselves properly. We are neglecting all the things that should be providing our life force.
We spend too much time in artificially lit environments, consuming foods that is in itself lacking in prana because it has been all around the world before reaching us, packed full of chemicals that the body doesn’t recognise as food. We sit in chairs that restrict the blood and oxygen flow (again prana), our breath is shallow and ineffective, and as a result, this machine we call our body just isn’t functioning as it should.
If we feed our minds with too many stimuli, if we do too much, if we run on adrenaline and keep our stress response switched on all the time, we are depleting our life force, and eventually we are going to be forced to stop whether we like it or not. This is why we get ill.
So how do we strengthen our life force? How do we boost our prana and get our mojo back?
Try some of these simple steps:
• Get out into nature every day, and look around drinking up the air, the smells, the sounds, and everything you see.
• Eat foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. Food you have grown yourself has the best prana, but at least get your veg from the local farmer instead of the supermarket – this makes a huge difference.
• Sit up straight and move your body. Bad posture blocks the flow of energy and makes you feel tired and grumpy, as does sitting for too long.
• Practice breathing techniques, also known as pranayama.
• Listen to your body and take time to rest when you need it to build the prana back up.
• Feed the mind with the good stuff, negative images, experiences and emotions all take their toll on your energy, so make lifestyle choices that stoke your energy not drain it.
If you are running a business, consider the ways you can help your staff, as well as yourself, maintain their energy. It doesn’t need to be a massive expense, but think of small things that you can do to make a difference to their wellbeing and literally breathe the life back into your business.

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