“To move forward you have to give back” Oprah Winfrey
Business is changing. If you run a business and want to survive, you need to make it socially conscious.
Mother earth needs us to become aware of the impact of our actions.
As yogis, we learn about Karma Yoga, but are we applying it to life and work? As Krishna says to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, both action and inaction have consequences. It’s our duty as human beings to do the right thing, just as it was Arjuna’s duty to go and fight. The Bhagavad Gita is the metaphorical war we have with our ego. It’s ‘me and mine, not my responsibilty’ versus ‘ours and our responsibility’.
If we don’t act and start leading by example in our own small way, how can society change as a whole? We all need to play our part. As more and more of the world start to make their business conscious, the rest will surely follow.
Giving back and being socially conscious is the new way of business. Statistics show that 81% of the millennials (our customers) expect their favourite companies to be giving back. How can you be teaching yoga, or selling yoga products and not be taking action to help make the world a better place in your own small way?
Giving back also makes you happy.
Research in the USA showed that Americans who describe themselves as happy, volunteer an average of 5.8hrs per month. Those who were unhappy, just 0.6 hours. You can find more examples in “The Paradox of Generosity” by Christian Smith.
The other interesting fact is that generosity has to be a practice sustained over time like abhyasa (nurtured sustained and steady practice) and vairagya (detachment). One off things don’t affect us that much, however things that are sustained over time change our consciousness and wellbeing.
Running a business can be stressful. You may be afraid that this new ‘conscious business’ approach will affect your bottom line, but you’ll see that it has the opposite effect.
Yoga teaches us that if we hold on to something so tight, energy doesn’t flow. It also teaches us the quality of aparigraha (non grasping). Being focused only on profit for ourselves is fruitless. Possessions do not bring happiness, making someone else happy does. This is a different sort of happiness you get from a new pair of shoes, it’s nourishing happiness that connects you to the soul.
Making a difference, also improves yourself worth.
You can start making your business more socially conscious by:
- Taking responsibility for your footprint on the planet
- Give a small percentage of your profit to charity
- Implement conscious communication into your organisation
If you’d like to get involved in the Akhanda Yoga family project Helping Hands, please get in touch.