Most entrepreneurs I know understand the value of staying physically fit but many don't dedicate as much time to their mental wellbeing as they do to the gym. But there is a solution.
Yoga combines many of the best reasons to frequent the gym with the mindfulness and meditation that helps us stay in control. I'm not the first to write about why yoga should be considered useful for entrepreneurs, however; often when expounding on the virtues of yoga for entrepreneurs, the focus is on stress management.
Here are a few of my personal favorite reasons for practicing yoga and how they can benefit you as an entrepreneur.
I spend all day making decisions, and I let yoga be a time where someone else sets the rules. If your yoga practice includes attending a class you have the added benefit of being led.
Appreciating how it feels to be instructed can increase your empathy with your employees. It can also help build trust in your managers when it's time for them to hold the reigns.
Shake off judgment
As entrepreneurs we incessantly look to improve our products, systems and outcomes. This drive brings success, but it also drains us mentally and physically. Let yoga be a place where you merely acknowledge where you are in your current physical and mental state, without judgment -- and accept it. The practice of yoga is the goal of yoga: It is not a means to an end but rather an end in itself.
In yoga, as in business, progress is made slowly. It is humbling to realize that you can't do everything and that growth takes time. Businesses don't find immediate success and entrepreneurs must be patient. Yoga teaches us to step back and appreciate this without criticizing ourselves for our pace.
Yoga is a reminder that you don't have to remain connected to your business 24 hours a day. It can be a short escape. Once you've built it into your routine, people will understand that you can't be reached during your yoga practice.
Quiet the mind
All of the early-stage entrepreneurs in my life are haunted by neverending to-do lists. You may have crossed all of your tasks off your daily list, but often there's more on it by the time you go to bed. This continuous cycle can overwhelm or paralyze you. Slow, intentional breathing pulls your mind from your thoughts.
During yoga practice, when something pops into your head you have the opportunity to acknowledge it and move on. I like to remind myself that there is nothing at all I can do about it at that moment. Acknowledging your thoughts, rather than acting on them, is liberating.