10 benefits of yoga
Why yoga is good for business
More and more successful people do yoga. What has started as spiritual search of enlightenment, has become a popular wellness practice enriching both your body and mind. Yoga has a lot of health benefits for everybody. But it is especially helpful for entrepreneurs. Here is why.
1. Yoga helps to manage stress
Running your own business may be very stressful. A business owner needs to juggle numerous aspects of business: production, HR, financial, and legal aspects. Of course, all of these may get very stressful. Regular practice reduces stress and helps you to calm down.
There is scientific proof that yoga and meditation improve mind-body health and stress resilience. If you feel overstressed, pay special attention to pranayamas (breathing exercises) and savasana (“corpse pose” the closing pose of yoga practice intended for deep relaxation of mind and body). Adding meditation to your daily practice will help you keep the right mindset even more. The benefits of meditation for your health and stress management are immeasurable.
There is much more to yoga than just relaxation. According to this study, mind & body practices such as yoga and meditation can actually reverse DNA reactions that cause stress When exposed to stress, our nervous system increases the production of certain molecules, which regulate our genes’ expression. These molecules are called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB). This is good for a short-term reaction to stress. But if it happens on a regular basis, there is a higher risk of cancer, accelerated aging, and psychiatric disorders. However, mindfulness practices change our DNA processes at a molecular level and improve our wellbeing.
The lead investigator of this research Ivana Buric from the Brain, Belief and Behaviour Lab in Coventry University's Centre for Psychology, Behaviour, and Achievement said:
"Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don't realize is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business” (source)
2. Yoga helps to become a good leader
Yoga benefits your leadership skills and entrepreneurial mindset. Active asanas, where your exercise your legs and arms signal your mind that you are strong and capable to act as you need. Such asanas as warriors or eagle pose strengthen your willpower, boost your determination and charisma. With these qualities, you become a better leader. Your team sees you as a strong manager that can lead by example. Your clients see you as a reliable contractor. Everybody wants to work with smart, energetic, trustworthy people, that give a feeling of confidence.
3. Yoga teaches determination and commitment
Yoga teaches you discipline. Whether you practice every day or only twice a week you need to stick with your schedule. There will be days when you are flying impatiently to your yoga studio. There will also be days when the weather is demotivating and the mood is not right. But showing up on the mat no matter what teaches you persistence and determination.
As an entrepreneur, these are the qualities you need like air. The most successful people have come so far because they didn’t let circumstances discourage them. Even if everything seemed to go wrong, they kept going.
Think about it, Steve Jobs got fired from his own company. But he made his way back and made Apple even stronger. Walt Disney was once fired from a newspaper for the lack of creativity, but it didn’t stop him from creating a beautiful fairytale world, admired by both children and adults.
4. Yoga keeps your mind open
To be successful in business you need to quickly identify opportunities and grasp them. This is impossible if your mind is rigid. Yogis say a flexible body means a flexible mind.
Your yoga practice is always a work in progress. The more you learn, the more you realize that there is much more to it than just a relaxation practice. Asanas become more and more complex, requiring more flexibility, power, and determination. This is a never-ending journey. After practicing yoga for 10-15 years people often realize that they are only at the beginning of the path.
Always being open to learning is a very useful quality for a business environment. Many successful people, and even the whole empires, failed when they were at the top of the world. The reason for this is ego, thinking “If I got this far, I am smarter than everyone else. I have everything under control”. Yoga tames your ego and keeps your mind open. This way you are in constant contact with the reality: your team, your customers, and your suppliers.
5. Yoga develops emotional intelligence
As an entrepreneur, you need to be an excellent communicator. On an everyday basis, we deal with multiple stakeholders: clients and prospects, employees, and investors. We form strategic business partnerships that will ensure our success for the years to come. Being able to communicate effectively. You need to be able to get your message across, give clear instructions and motivate people around you. No wonder, emotional intelligence is one of the key qualities of a successful entrepreneur.
Yoga benefits your emotional intelligence like no other exercise. Regular yoga and meditation practice help you understand your own emotions and what other people feel. You can tell whether people can be trusted or if they are hiding something. You know if they are motivated, or if they just want to get it over with.
You will also be able to manage your own feelings. So if you have a habit of losing your temper, yoga will make you more calm and tolerant.
6. Yoga improves decision making
There is scientific proof that yoga literally makes you smarter. This study shows that yoga and meditation improve brain function. Another research shows that just a 20-minute yoga session can immediately improve brain performance.
As an entrepreneur, you deal with a lot of information that you need to analyze. A good understanding and judgment are critical for any entrepreneur. Yoga improves your cognitive processing. This enables you to process information efficiently and make better decisions.
7. Yoga strengthens your focus
The most successful people were always super concentrated on their idea. They could think about it for hours. Of course, eventually, they arrive at a breakthrough, be it a successful investment decision or scientific theory that changed the world.
When Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were asked to name one thing to describe success, they both said the same: “Focus”.
Yoga teaches you to focus on your body and your posture. It helps eliminate destruction and stay in the moment.
8. Yoga benefits your intuition
Entrepreneurs make a lot of decisions on a daily basis. While we need to take into consideration multiple factors, study metrics, and KPIs, most decisions are made intuitively. You can never predict the outcome 100%. Both Harvard Business Review and Oxford Leadership suggest relying on your intuition in an ambiguous intuition. Of course, you still need to study the available data and take into consideration different perspectives.
Intuition is our connection to the unlimited source of knowledge. The greatest minds in history came up with their bright ideas when not thinking about them. Dmitry Mendeleev came up with his famous tabular diagram of chemical elements when he was asleep. Bob Lutz, the president of Chrysler, had an intuitive insight during a weekend drive. This saved the company in the 1990s.
Yoga teaches you to hear your inner voice. By practicing yoga you reconnect with yourself and your intuition improves drastically. As you advance in your practice, you will notice that you can easily tell who can be trusted and who can’t. You will subconsciously know a solution to any problem. When facing a difficult choice will always choose the best option.
9. Yoga improves your health
There is scientific evidence that yoga improves your health in numerous ways. Yoga helps with anxiety and other mental health issues, according to this study. It helps to combat stress-related diseases. These include heart diseases, high blood pressure, and back pain, so common among business-oriented people.
Another famous benefit of yoga is being more conscious about your food, according to this research. Food is a common way to deal with disappointment when things are not going our way. Or simply to “fill up the tank” when we are tired and stressed. Harvard medical school also confirms that people who practice yoga are more mindful eaters and can stay more in tune with their bodies.
By helping you combat stress on a molecular level and improving your emotional intelligence, yoga helps you make healthier choices for food and lifestyle. This clearly has a lot of health benefits in the long run.
10. Yoga improves your mood
Staying motivated may be challenging. Especially if you are running a company. Not only do you need to motivate yourself, but you also need to keep your team engaged, positive, and focused on the shared goal. This study has found that yoga may work better than other exercises for staying in a good mood and dealing with anxiety. It increases the amount of mood-boosting gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) – a calming neurotransmitter that decreases activity in your nervous system. John Hopkins Medicine also believes yoga can mean an increase in energy and brighter moods. Combat anxiety, stay positive, and share the enthusiasm with your team and clients.