The entrepreneurial life sounds enchanting but can take a toll if we aren’t mindful. Being on our toes 24/7, hustling endlessly, skimping on sleep, and blurring boundaries between your work and personal life isn’t sustainable in the long run. The uncertainties to the imbalanced living to the unpredictably long hours have an impact on our physical and emotional health. They definitely influence the dynamics of our personal relationships.
Honestly, I wish more entrepreneurs were told that health, not accumulated wealth, will always be their biggest asset. Sure, a majority of entrepreneurs I have spoken with understand the value of staying physically fit and workout at a public or home gym. But an equally large number doesn’t dedicate time to their mental well-being. While going to the gym is good, entrepreneurs need a daily dose of mindfulness to manage their stress and anxiety. They need to be equipped better to relax and navigate frustrations and negative emotions of entrepreneurial life.
Did you know that The University of California conducted a research to understand the link between entrepreneurship and mental illnesses? The results revealed that 49% of entrepreneurs surveyed were dealing with at least one mental illness (such as ADD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, addiction, depression, or anxiety).
That said, I recommend that more entrepreneurs turn to yoga. Yoga impacts physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Yoga can help cultivate sanity and stability. It teaches the value in patience, persistence, and letting go. Yoga is a reminder that you don’t have to remain connected to your business 24 hours a day to be successful. Yoga helps entrepreneurs recognize there is more to life than work. It reiterates that slowing down, pausing, and reflecting increases overall productivity.
To avoid burnout and create new ideas, yogic breathing can be helpful. Yoga trains us to meet ourselves and others where we are so we stop being critical, cynical, and judgmental. Yoga also makes us innovative and adaptable through the process of intention-setting, manifesting, and checklists (both making them and implementing them into actionable items). Yoga can help a business go from a state of surviving to thriving.
“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”
If you are new to yoga asanas, pranayama, and meditation, I have a few friendly suggestions: Once you get an okay from your health practitioner to practice them, make it a habit. It might feel boring and repetitive in the beginning but stick with it. Whether you join a yoga studio (online in the COVID world) or subscribe to a yoga channel, or practice on Zoom with a yoga practitioner friend or family, show up with dedication and no expectations. Leave the ego off the yoga mat.
Carve out that time for yourself. On some days, you might have just 20 minutes, and that’s OK. Meditate for five minutes. Do 10-15 minutes of pranayama. Below is a list of some of my favorite asanas when I don’t have the time to do an entire 75-90-minute class. Don’t allow time as an excuse to not take care of yourself.
Five to 12 rounds of Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) is a full-body workout. Typically, I prefer to follow a sequence where one asana leads to the next one and makes perfect sense. But on some days, after a little warm up of neck, shoulder, and ankle rolls, I like to get into Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Śvānāsana), Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana), and Headstand (Sirasana), followed by Balasana (Child Pose) and ending with Corpse Pose (Savasana).
There will be days when your mind will resist showing up to the mat, but know that it’s on those days when you need to practice yoga most. As one of my Ayurveda teachers, Dr. Vasant Lad, says, “If you don’t make time to add life to your life, what’s the point, my dear?”
Sweta Srivastava Vikram is an international speaker, best-selling author of 12 books, and Ayurveda and mindset coach is a wellness columnist for SEEMA and committed to helping people thrive on their own terms. As a trusted source on health and wellness, most recently appearing on NBC and Radio Lifeforce, Sweta has dedicated her career to writing about and teaching a more holistic approach to creativity, productivity, health, and nutrition. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and other publications across nine countries. Sweta is a trained yogi and certified Ayurveda health coach and holds a Master’s in Strategic Communications from Columbia University. Voted as “One of the Most Influential Asians of Our Times” and winner of the “Voices of the Year” award (past recipients have been Chelsea Clinton), she lives in NYC with her husband.
DISCLAIMER: Information in this article is presented for the sole purpose of imparting education on Ayurveda and mindfulness and the information isn’t intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition, or are pregnant or lactating, please consult a health professional. Before making changes to your diet or lifestyle, it is recommended that you speak with your physician.