How To Apply Yoga's Wisdom To Your Career

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As a yogini and ambitious woman, have you ever thought about how your yoga practice and career relate to one another? If you let it, yoga has the wisdom to unlocking more pleasure, alignment, and productivity in your career. This wisdom is so beautiful and refreshing, especially in a culture that values productivity and output above all else. For me personally, yoga is the reason I haven't gone off the deep end in starting my own business. Here are the three counterintuitive principles that make all the difference:

1. Manage your energy above all else


Corporates and executives spend a great deal of time looking for solutions around time management. Yoga, however, focuses on energy management. Just like on the mat, you listen to your body and go into child's pose or downward dog after a challenging sequence. When you practice yoga, you begin to realize the importance of cycling between rest and bursts of energy. With a focus on the body and wellbeing, yoga underlines the truth that rest and productivity go hand in hand. Energy conservation is as (and sometimes more) important than energy output. When it comes to your career, yoga does not require you to figure out how to do things faster. It requires you to do them better because you're taking the time to slow down, take breaks, and pay attention to your sources of energy: food, sleep, water, nature, exercise, breath, and mental repose.

2. Focus on effort and not results


Money follows "metrics," "outcomes," "results," and "targets," while yoga centers around effort. In the most cited text of modern day yoga, the Yoga Sutras, yoga is described as focusing on the practice itself and "surrendering" the results. Surrender is an interesting concept in yoga which is difficult to understand in the context of one's work-life. It's about keeping results in mind while not being attached to them occurring or being a certain way. In the Bhagavad Gita, another foundational text of yogic philosophy, it is said "...do your duty perfectly, without care for the results, for {s}he who does {her/}his duty disinterestedly attains the Supreme." [3.19].

3. Create structure to support freedom


A very basic and powerful principle of the yoga pose is sthira sukham - steadiness and ease. Every pose requires a strong foundation or base. It's because of that strong foundation that you're able to really be open, soft, and expanded in other parts of the body. How does this relate to your career? It's about setting up appropriate boundaries and structure. It's about intentionally protecting your time, energy, and space. Some people have trouble saying no to proposals and projects that come their way. The next thing you know they're feeling burnt out and bitter. On the other hand, some people are too rigid, blocking themselves off from opportunities and meaningful work relationships. If you're an entrepreneur, setting up your own structure and routine is essential to your expansion. It's the balance between structure and flow that allows you to be incredibly effective at the work you are doing.

As you can see, yoga philosophy is not just about self-care but provides practical frameworks for us to apply to our work-lives. When we manage our energy, focus on process, and intentionally design the boundaries we need to expand, our careers begin to flourish in the way the world needs right now.

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xo
Maria