Spirituality in Career

Dr. Prasad Kaipa

Today’s life style demands us to do more and more with less and less resources in shorter and shorter time to produce higher and higher quality work. Due to the pressure of meeting various requirements day by day and hour by hour, the stress we go through generates large amount of chemicals or stress hormones in our body. It is said that bad commute alone generate chemicals that take more than 4 hours to recover from it.

Self Management/Stress ManagementThe eight limbs of Patanjali Yoga Sutras – yama, niyama, asanas, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi – allow us to control ourselves and calm down the mind. A combination of physical asanas, breath, calm mind and focused attention on the task at hand — together can remove effects of stress quickly and effectively. Yoga helps improve relations. Two people doing yoga, meditation and breathing together synchronizes their inner rhythms with outer rhythms, not just psychologically, but also physically and chemically. There have been examples where women who practice yoga together even menstruate together. A field of yoga is created when we collectively slow down this inner and outer rhythm, by a group yoga practice, which has a great effect of stress relief.


Taitteriya Upanishad says “Anando Brahmeti vyajaanat; Anandaat eva khalvidaani bhutani jaayanti” – Ananda is the very nature of Brahman. Happiness is the attitude with which one can do work. It is not the outside object that gives you happiness but your effort to reach that goal that makes you happy. When we remember that the ‘journey is the reward,’ we begin to enjoy the process of yoga and from that process, we learn to engage in whatever we do, mindfully and attentively. Such actions reinforce the state of mind that we began with – a happy state. From happiness, we can access large amount of creativity. Yoga teaches you to invoke happiness by consciously remembering to smile as you practice asanas. As an example, while practicing Suryanamaskara or Sun Salutation, you are performing physical postures, you are breathing into your postures, and by consciously reinforcing your smile, you can begin to feel that happiness is the natural state of being.Career Management

Risk taking is the most important aspect of career management. We fail to take risks when we are afraid. Fear helps us to shrink to our comfort zone and yoga is about stretching beyond your comfort zone. The stretching aspect of yoga which you do in asanas (physical postures) will help you go beyond what you can. Slowly and steadily, you begin to see how you can stretch physically, emotionally and if you choose, intellectually. The process is the same – start slow, breath into every step with awareness. Once you stretch, hold the posture and breath into it and be fully present. Then slowly reverse the process. If you apply the same process to taking risks in the areas you are afraid, you find that slowly you gain skills and competence that make you an expert more quickly than you can imagine.
The dharana and dhyana aspects of yoga help you to improve samyama – the ability to become aware of something and pay total attention to it in a dynamic way. According to Patanjali, one can become what one envisions; for example, if one does samyama on throat, one can read subtle vibrations of throat – human or animal and infer what they are communicating. Yoga builds the confidence in being able to achieve what you envision yourself to be.
Crisis and Self Management

With all the dynamics that are going on in the economy today, the stability that we expect in life, whether it is the promotion we are expecting, or simply keeping the job that one has, is simply absent. The ability to manage the uncertainty and turbulence of life comes by learning to operate from a calm and balanced (sama buddhi) state of mind. Bhagavad Gita which is considered a Yoga Shastra says “yogastha kuru karmani” – do work with yoga state of mind; a mind with certain equanimity, balance and an ability to be engaged, but detached; As a manager, can we yell at someone without having anger in mind? Disengage emotions, but communicate what needs to be communicated – this is yoga state of mind. Even a war can be fought with this yoga state of mind as demonstrated in Bhagavad Gita.Clarity of Thinking and Intuition

With fast paced lifestyle, even adults are now claiming they have Attention Deficit Disorder(ADHD). Even three or four year olds are getting bored. We do not know how to be with ourselves. Yoga helps us to move the energy from overactivating the brain to settle down in our stomachs. In other words, we calm down as gets centered and stop adding our own turbulence to what is going on around us. When our filters are removed, we begin to not only see things as they are but can remember them clearly. Yoga has practices that improve memory and mental clarity. Yoga also helps the person to develop intuitive responses in addition to paying attention to data that comes from sense organs. Intuition arises when the Satvic characteristic has become predominant, that is when we are able to see things clearly as they are, and not as we want to see. When our agenda is taken away, we are open; we become creative and have fun discovering new ways of doing things and achieving results. This makes us innovative — it is much needed for success in life and career.An unchallenged leader

Yoga helps us to be happy, to be creative, to deal with crisis and it helps us develop the ability to be a witness (detached engagement) when we learn to let go of Kartrutva bhava and bhoktrutva bhava – the attitude of “I am doing” and the attitude of “I am enjoying.” Because we are able to engage in action without having to control the outcome or take credit for the success, others get attracted to spend time with us and be on our team. When we develop the attitude of detached engagement, then others will be able to recognize the leader in us and will be able to receive our ideas more readily. That means, people in our team feel that they can trust us, come to us for suggestions and help us when we need help. That makes us natural and unchallenged leaders.

Dr. Prasad Kaipa is Executive Director, Center for Leadership Innovation and Change (CLIC), Hyderabad, India. Dr Kaipa is engaged in working with CEOs and senior executives in advisory and coaching capacity for past 19 years. He has deep exposure to Hindu spiritual literature like Vedas, Upanishads and brings this rich eastern value into the business world. Dr. Kaipa conducts Practical Vedanta sessions in the San Francisco Bay Area.