YOGA AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

Flow represents the state of being “completely involved in an activity for its own sake, where ego falls away, and time stands still.  Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one,” without conscious thought and minimum effort.  This is how American psychologist  Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes Flow. This is what athletes describe about their experience in the 100 meter gold medal sprint at the Olympics.

Yoga is the science of discipline that achieves the union of the inner consciousness or soul with the universal consciousness or the “Divine.”  Yoga is also described as the selfless dedication to an activity in the interests of a greater good, something way and beyond the Self.  It is also the union of the inner consciousness with the object of focus or devotion.  This union can be described as the state in which your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.  This is the state of Flow, Yoga can help you experience.

Ordinarily our awareness and energies are directed outward and the world we perceive is through the five senses that have inherent limitations, that will ultimately lead to misperception, misinterpretation and bias resulting in less than optimal response.  Let me use some examples to explain what I am saying.  When you observe the rising sun, it appears red and orange and all the colors in between.  At noon it appears yellow.  Did the sun change its color, or is it our faulty perception?  This is the case of perception and interpretation of the perception that we know is incorrect.  In our everyday lives, because of our experiences with certain ethnic groups, gender stereotypes, influence of the society on us, cultural baggage that we all carry, and bombardment by mass media that presents news and information with their own slant or bias, we tend to form opinions about groups, be it ethnic, gender, or religion.  This causes us to associate certain attributes to them, and results in behavior that is in stark contrast to our values and the way we like to see ourselves behave.  When this happens, we tend to judge groups and individuals based on our biases. These attributes that are stored in our memory will determine how we judge a member of a group the next time we meet them.  This is an example of unconscious bias.

Yoga is the process of directing our consciousness inward so that mind becomes the center of direct perception, leading to conscious actions and choice to create the desired future. What does this mean? This means responding rather than reacting to an external stimulus or situation.  Imagine you are tired and as soon as you come home, your spouse is agitated and complains about the refrigerator that broke down, the garbage disposal that needs to be replaced, and that your son failed math.  Your reactive response is to snap at your spouse and with a raised tone of voice caution against dumping problems on you as soon as you arrive home.  The conscious response might be to listen to your spouse and empathize, encouraging to relax because things can be fixed, and providing assurance that you will talk to your son to understand the challenges he is facing with math.

The highest form of Yoga is Raja Yoga that involves balancing techniques and practices to train the body, mind and soul to develop the higher states of consciousness and ultimately self-awareness.

What is Leadership?

This is not a simple question to answer.  Leadership could mean different things to different people.  I will now give a few examples of the definition as proposed by thought leaders.

Peter Drucker: “The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.”

Warren Bennis: “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”

Bill Gates: “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”

John Maxwell: “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.”

Looking at it through the lens of Yoga, Leadership is self-awareness and self-awareness is leadership.

What is Yoga Leadership?

Yoga Leadership is leadership using the principles of Kriya Yoga to develop self-awareness and create a state of enduring purpose in achieving definite goals — goals that provide meaning to oneself and to the enterprise.  Yoga Leadership is all about bringing about transformation in self for physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being which in turn will influence others to follow your example and seek similar transformation. All the leadership programs in the world are designed to bring self-awareness in leadership.  Yoga is the process and the destination towards self-awareness.

About Kammitment:  Led by scientist and life-coach Kamalesh (Kam) Rao, Kammitment helps you realize and make a commitment towards self-actualization, through tailored leadership coaching, workshops and programs for students and professionals in all stages of their lives, by drawing upon the time-tested principles of Yoga and Mindfulness.  Kam has spent 20 years as a scientist and a manufacturing professional in the pharmaceuticals industry, and continues to consult with the industry.  In his free time he leads executive coaching programs for Fortune 100 clients.  A certified Yoga instructor, Kam lives in Oakland, CA and is an Improv actor who also enjoys Salsa dancing when he is not practicing Yoga or hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  For further information, please email [email protected]

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