The Practices of Doing Business

be mindful practice of doing business text on photo yoga mat in empty room

Real Learning Is Lasting

It’s been two years since I last stepped onto my yoga mat. Saying that, I feel the shock of realizing so much time has passed because it was unimaginable. But even though the stab of sadness is there, it’s also clear that there’s something important to learn in the fact of it.

Practice Practicing

The broad meaning of practice came alive for me during the fifteen years my yoga mat was an intimate companion. I stepped onto that magic carpet at the least, several times a week and for many of those fifteen years, I had a daily practice, self-challenging and physically strenuous. My earlier practices of dance, music, art, intense interval training in the pool- they may have prepared me but couldn’t possibly compete.

My own evolving wisdom paired with wisdom my instructors passed along gave me a lot to chew on and to cherish. One of the most important things I learned is at the core of any of the practices we do. This includes yoga, meditation, physical training, visual and performing art-making, work, relationships – any of those intentional things we do on a regular basis with hope that it will support us and our growth. Things that enhance our way to a well-lived life.

What Did I Learn?

I learned that for my yoga practice to have any significant meaning beyond the physical practice I had to take my yoga off the mat and into my life. Moment by moment. Daily.

If I continue to think of myself as a yogi, I know that I am still inside the practice. I am employing what I learned on my mat, off my mat -in all parts of my life and work.

Thankfully, much of what I encountered (and subsequently learned) on that mat is woven permanently, like so many threads, through my life. That being the case, it’s also knitted into how I work and what I offer to the workplace. The messages I absorbed permeate the culture of our business, our ethics and core values, how we do business, our respect, spirit and behavior. It’s a list that goes on drilling down into the details of just about everything. A measure of the way in which I care about everything we do. I was attracted to the practice for good reason, it prodded and connected me with myself in ways that were already germinating.

I am not unusual. This is typical of what builds into a business character. Bringing our personal selves wherever we go is normal.

Your Business Practices. They Reflect Who You Are.

Your business practices will reflect your core values, ethics, spirit and culture and in turn, among other things, your marketing needs to illuminate those qualities to your customer. It’s one of the tangible ways your clients or customers will be able to decide if they want to do business with you.

Create Congruity

What it ultimately means in the deepest sense is that boundaries need to be punctured and made permeable. Click To TweetIf walls exist between our designated times of training or practice and the rest of our everyday experience the most potent benefits are lost. The goal is to turn what appears to be concrete, keeping one outlook apart from the other, into something flexible and breathable that will create congruity across all that we do.

It’s About What You Do Throughout Every Day

The physical practice (the asanas), is infinitely rich with benefit. But in a way, the physical practice is also somewhat incidental to its original purpose. There’s a key in realizing this because it helps us see how the practice can spill over beyond it’s imaginary parameters and influence everything else.

Some say that yoga originated as a way to create a supple body for the long hours of sitting in meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises) on the path to enlightenment.

“…asana was rarely, if ever, the primary feature of the significant yoga traditions in India. Postures such as those we know today often figured among the auxiliary practices of yoga systems (particularly in hatha yoga), but they were not the dominant component. They were subordinate to other practices like Pranayama (expansion of the vital energy by means of breath), dharana (focus, or placement of the mental faculty), and nada (sound), and did not have health and fitness as their chief aim.” (Mark Singleton, Yoga Journal)


Here Are Just Three Examples Of How We Can Take Our Practice Off The Mat And Into Our Business

1. Using Focus And Breath

Yoga is hard. It builds and requires strength, flexibility, stamina and emotional/psychological flexibility and patience. The breath that is taught is necessary not only for natural biologic flow to support movement, but can also be utilized for building the stamina to avoid bailing from difficult circumstances. We learn to breathe through the difficulties that arise and find we can tolerate so much more than we thought. Simply by breathing. But it’s not just tolerance that comes from it. There’s a spacious opening of surprise that occurs, a chance at arriving in a new place.

Learning how to breathe into physical difficulty, taking that pause before reacting and certainly before bailing and abandoning an opportunity to learn and excel is empowering.

2. Using Discomfort And Conflict

Perhaps one of the most striking elements of the yoga practice that may not be generally recognized is the notion that moving towards and into, not away from discomfort will, over time create a deliberate skill for coping with conflict. Learning how to not be ruled by reactivity, how not to over-react.

3. Using The Unfamiliar To Seek Something New

While some things might seem reckless and crazy at first they also may surprise us by opening us to unexpected skills, enjoyment and play. All of those can later be applied in multiple circumstances. Learning to go upside down and to do handstands was my own perfect example of that. I almost avoided yoga altogether because I was afraid I’d be coerced into going upside down. That frightened me no end and then later became my favorite thing to do. The thing that could turn a negative mood of any kind upside down almost instantly.

Apply To Business

What does this have to do with how you can develop and maintain a set of these things that will carry you forward to a well-lived business life? What might you gain? What others come to mind?

  • Focus and attention
  • Discipline to stick with tasks
  • Tolerance for discomfort and conflict
  • Organization
  • Ability to evolve and grow

One Last Thing – Strength In Numbers

Practicing Together

I would be remiss not to mention another set of qualities that my yoga practice has helped me to foster in my life and in my work. It’s something hard to quantify, to put into words. When breathing and moving roughly in unison like a sea of waves in a room full of other people who are also practicing with you, something inescapable happens. There’s a joining together, a collaboration, growing compassion and empathy, community building and a shared purpose. That may sound corny. But honestly, for anyone in business, these are not optional in order to truly serve a purpose.

(Just in case you’re wondering, I will be getting back on the mat.)


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Pre-remixed photo: fizkes

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    By: Gina Fiedel

    Gina Fiedel is the co-founder/owner of Fat Eyes Web Development. After a successful career as an artist and transitioning into electronic media in the early 90’s, she then founded Fat Eyes in 1998 to bring those skills to the web with her husband, Doug Anderson. Being engaged in business has created gratifying opportunities for communication and new inroads towards making a contribution that counts. You can learn more about Gina on the Fat Eyes Who Are We? page and Gina Fiedel Story.

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