Mostly in life and business, the word Balance is hardly mentioned. We therefore let animal instincts run free resulting in corporate fraud, greed and an overemphasis on showing of the best car or jewellery. However, a balance in life is of utmost importance within a corporate culture, if a company is to grow, prosper and live long. When people think of corporations and companies, they often think of work and an economic transaction. In most cases companies treat their employees in a similar manner, exchanging money for certain skills and knowledge in making the corporation grow. Only a few companies are interested in the spiritual and bodily health of their employees. For most companies this is not the priority and they blindly carry on as they have always done. Let us consider some interesting statistics. According to the OECD, Workers with a mental disorder are absent from work for health reasons more often than other workers (32% versus 19%), and if they are, they are away for longer (6 versus 4.8 days of absence). Many workers with mental disorders do not take sick leave but instead may be underperforming in their jobs. Not only that but a recent article in the Financial Times indicated that more than 130m working days were lost in the UK through sickness absence costing the country around £32bn. Much of this absenteeism is due to stress related issues. In addition to this, diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease are not only growing but account for three quarters of the deaths worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, the cost of stress to American businesses is as high as $300 billion. And unless we change course, this will only get worse. Over the last 30 years, self-reported levels of stress have increased by 18 per cent for women and 25 per cent for men. Corporations are just beginning to understand the extent to which a happy and healthy employee is a productive employee, actually saving the company money and adding to its profits. Adrianna Huffington of the Huffington Post has written extensively on this issue and many corporations in the USA are beginning to embrace mindfulness in a major way. However, the practice of mindfulness is not new, it has been a part of yoga for over 2,000 years. Swami Satyananda Saraswati of the Bihar School of Yoga has written:
Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion.
It is the most valuable inheritance of the present.
It is the essential need of today and the culture
There is so much detail and depth in the practice of Yoga, that can help each individual and corporation discover a systematic way of living that safeguards basic health and mental wellbeing. This ancient knowledge is timeless and has proven time and again to help individuals to live a happy, healthy and fulfilling existence. Swami Sivananda founder of the Bihar School of Yoga was always keen to show that Yoga can be incorporated into daily life and wrote:
Eat a little, drink a little,
Talk a little, sleep a little,
Mix a little, move a little,
Serve a little, rest a little,
Work a little, relax a little,
Study a little, worship a little,
Do asanas a little, pranayama a little,
Reflect a little, meditate a little,
Do japa a little, chant a little,
Write mantra a little, have satsang a little.
The emphasis here is on balance. A balanced individual or corporation will succeed in reaching sensible goals. A sense of greed or speed, often result in badly executed strategies, corruption, stress and ill health. Why does this happen?-because a sense of balance is lost. Hatha Yoga balances the body and meditation balances the mind. A balanced mind and a balanced body lead to peace and harmony. The basic philosophy of Yoga is about balancing the whole body in such a way that an individual becomes stress free and can reach for a higher consciousness. Yoga opens many doors and many ways of opening these doors. The vast volumes of knowledge are much needed now as companies prosper in a global world in order to improve their employees’ health and in turn improving the Earth’s health. Let us seek this sense of balance and harmony for the greater good.
Professor Ashok Ranchhod