Why More Execs Are Meditating and Practicing Yoga
Albert Einstein once said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”
There are many ways to transform your mind – some are legal, some are not. But more and more, executives and business leaders are turning to Yoga and meditation to boost their on-the-job performance. These practices are moving from the “spiritual” to the mainstream for good reason. The benefits of Yoga and meditation are well documented.
Anxiety, which can build up over time, impedes our ability to think clearly. It narrows our focus – making it difficult to see the full range of solutions that are possible. It also closes us off to input from others who might hold the key to the successful outcomes we seek.
Meditation transforms the mind – slowing it down to clear the space needed to be more open-minded, creative, calm and thoughtful no matter what is happening around us. According to the Harvard Business Review, business leaders are taking meditation more seriously because research shows that it improves attention, memory and emotional intelligence. It also reduces anxiety, boosts resilience and helps people perform better under stress.
One CEO introduced meditation to his staff after 9/11. He found that sitting in silence for 20 minutes helped them to be more present at work and find peace during an extraordinarily stressful time.
At the heart of meditation is mindfulness. That means becoming aware of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surroundings without judging. Mindful meditation slows down our hurried minds — allowing us to be in the present, rather than fretting about the past or the future.
Similarly, Yoga is an active form of meditation that reduces stress and anxiety. Studies have found that Yoga not only improves cardiovascular health, digestion, flexibility, balance and overall quality of life, it provides clarity of thought and greater self-awareness.
Across America, the number of people practicing Yoga has been increasing dramatically for several years. A recent survey by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal reports that 36 million Americans are now practicing Yoga. That’s an increase of 50% over the 2012 number. Three times more adults over 50 are practicing Yoga than four years ago.
But the survey also reveals that many people still feel Yoga is not for them. They view it as too exclusive — only for women, the flexible, athletic or people who are highly spiritual. One of best things about Yoga is that practicing is personal — not competitive, which opens it up to everyone, no matter your size, age or physical ability. It can be easily modified to meet anyone’s needs.
If you’d like to give meditation a try, these FREE guided meditations from the CHOPRA Center are a fabulous place to start. Find a quiet space where you can lay down or sit with your back supported and feet on the ground. Then hit “play.”
As Arianna Huffington said, “The only thing to ‘do’ in meditation is nothing.”
Yoga Journal offers FREE videos taught by some of the top people in the field. All you need is a Yoga mat, comfortable clothes and a quiet space.