Important life and business lessons from the International Yoga Day

The world marked the first International Day of Yoga on June 21 following a declaration by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014.

In Kenya, the day was marked by a launch at the UN Complex in Gigiri where First Lady Margaret Kenyatta asked more Kenyan to take up yoga for its mental and physical wellness benefits. At the same time there was a celebration at University of Nairobi grounds where over 5,000 people practised yoga poses while being reminded of its relevance. I have been going for Bikram Yoga for some time which made the day special. Bikram Yoga is done in a heated room using traditional yoga postures. It is a favourite of many celebrity sportsmen and women such as David Beckam, Serena Williams and the Australian rugby team.

READ: How to sweat it all out with Bikram Yoga

It can prolong one’s sports career by preventing injuries, and ensuring healthy muscles and micro muscles. It also improves athletic performance by supporting the yogi in doing their best. By exercising micro muscles that are not normally touched in normal exercises, yoga ensures a holistic exercise for the body and mind.

Businessman Vimal Shah (right) participating in yoga at University of Nairobi grounds on June 21, 2015.

HH Sri Sri Shankar, founder of the Art of Living, observed that yoga makes you feel like a child again where there is no lack, impurity, ignorance and injustice. This means that it can help free the world from misery, making it more harmonious.

For those in business and other time-consuming engagements, yoga ensures that you have time for meditation which keeps you alert while reorganising your brain cells to boost memory. It also keeps away stress which can really affect productivity. There are many times I have come out of a yoga studio thinking about important but small details that would have been forgotten. That clarity and alertness of mind is something that any person needs, in life and business.

Since there is a lot of sweating in Bikram Yoga, one is required to take a lot of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration. This creates a good water drinking habit for the yogi which among other things also helps you to control calorie intake thus supporting weight management strategy. Water also energises muscles ensuring the best performance. Yoga is also good for the heart and it can help keep many lifestyle diseases away. Someone said that you can tell a healthy person by the number of stairs they can climb and not by the number of pills they pop.

AAR Insurance recently launched a reward system for active living among its members. This means that health and life insurance companies should direct their members to yoga classes to keep health bills down and help them live longer. In a past Market Talk, I highlighted how sitting down all day kills more people than smoking. I received a mail from a HR manager who was faced with a situation where some staff were worried of dying because of the nature of their work after reading my article.

Active living by the workforce is another reason why businesses should encourage their employees to embrace yoga. It will lead to greater motivation, higher productivity, less stress, flowing creativity, positive attitude and a high energy working environment.

The writer is the marketing director of SBO Research. E-mail:, Twitter @bngahu

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