Thursday, February 27, 2014

Yoga for Everyone: How Practicing Yoga Encourages Success

Step away from the computer and do some yoga.
Step away from the computer and do some yoga.
Image: Shutterstock
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, or even just my social media, you know that I love me some yoga. I love the challenge, the fact that I can feel my body getting stronger, the sweat that tells me how hard I’m working, and the clear and stress-free mind I have after a good class. I often find myself looking at yogis who have obviously been practicing for awhile and wondering where they started and what prompted them to begin practicing. Though I don’t know the answers to those questions, I am inspired by these incredibly dedicated individuals.

Yoga is one of those things that has the same powerful benefits to everyone, regardless of social status, celebrity, career success, or anything else. It’s one of those things that puts us all on the same level—the human level. How can you not love that? Here are some majorly successful businesspeople that say yoga or meditation has benefitted their careers and health:

The Dalai Lama was recently on a web panel with Daniel Loeb, who is a well-known activist investor. Just a few months after launching his business, Third Point, Loeb traveled to India for a month to study yoga with Ashanta yoga master Pattabhi Jois. The experience rooted in him a “lifelong passion for spirituality, for contemplation, meditation,” said Loeb during the panel.

“Contemplation, meditation—It’s not for monks and hermits,” Daniel Loeb says. “I think they can really improve all of our lives and they can really improve us as business people as well.” He adds that the practice allows for greater creativity, clarity, and better decision-making.

Edwin Catmull, the president of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios, practices yoga and mediation as well. In 2011, Catmull went on a retreat for Buddhist meditation and yoga in Colorado, and says that practicing meditation helps him train his mind to focus in what is a very demanding career.

“When things are intense… I have no trouble focusing,” he said. “But when they’re not intense, my brain starts popping off in all sorts of places.”

Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, was also a yogi for many years. He studied Eastern philosophy and meditation heavily and also went on a spiritual pilgrimage to India in 1974.

Other successful businesspeople who practice yoga or meditation include hedge fund manager Ray Dalio, CEO of Dalio; Mark Benioff of; Panda Express founder Andrew Cherng; and Bob Shapiro, former Monsanto CEO.

“I want to fix my people from the inside,” said Cherng.