Running your business is a full-time job. And that doesn’t just mean 40 hours a week—when you own a business, especially during the startup phases, you could face an immediate issue at any moment. You’re never not on the clock, because the clock doesn’t exist.
Or, at least, that’s how many entrepreneurs see it. While running a business comes with its own set of trials and tribulations, many forget the importance of work/life balance. It’s so important to be fulfilled by all aspects of your life, not just work—but when your identity is so tied up in being an entrepreneur, it can be easy to forget that.
A simple way to motivate yourself to achieve a greater work/life balance as an entrepreneur is to find non-work activities that, directly or indirectly, still benefit you in regards to work. Many contemporary workspaces promote a wellness culture because they understand that happy and healthy employees are better employees overall.
One thing that many workplaces sponsor is yoga programs. Since its introduction to the United States in the 20th century, yoga has only increased in popularity. You can find multiple yoga studios in pretty much any major city, and even many smaller towns, throughout the country.
If you’re looking to encourage greater work/life balance in your own life, yoga is an amazing practice that benefits both physical and mental health. The best thing about yoga is that it’s for everyone—including entrepreneurs. Here are 4 reasons every entrepreneur should try out a yoga practice.
1. Work towards a positive outlook.
Yoga can be difficult. It helps build strength and flexibility, but for beginners, it can simply feel awkward, especially when you find yourself in poses you’ve never even tried to hold before.
But a huge component of yoga is gratitude. Yoga is not a performance—you are, first and foremost, doing it to engage with yourself, mind and body. Practicing yoga is not about learning tricks and showing off, but rather about bettering yourself. Focusing on the positives—both what you have accomplished and what you will accomplish—is much more useful than remembering the negatives.
As an entrepreneur, it can be extremely easy to harp on only the negatives. Whether you lost a client or didn’t reach your goal numbers this quarter or are simply behind where you thought you’d be, you may, at times, feel like a failure.
But think about all the positives, everything you’ve gotten through to make it to this point. You’ve maybe faced hardship, whether it be financial or personal, but you’ve gotten out on the other side.
Yoga teaches you to push yourself, but also to accept where you are and be grateful for it. If you can’t do the advanced version of a pose today, that’s okay—you do the best you can and be proud of how far you’ve come.
2. Reduce stress.
As an entrepreneur, you want to avoid burnout at all costs. Not only will it eat away at your personal life, it will start to affect the quality of your work, too. That’s no good—so when you feel stress coming on, you need to take care of it.
A lot of people practice yoga because of the huge benefit of stress relief. No matter what you’re going through, taking some time each day to do something good for yourself is crucial. Yoga is a great way to get a little exercise while clearing your head, even if you only practice for 10 minutes.
CEO Aj Agrawal recommends doing your yoga practice in the morning to help you get the most out of your day: “During yoga, the best mindset to have is one that does not focus on your worries. Try to schedule your yoga in the morning, before you lay out your daily schedule. By doing so, your mind is clear, and you are able to prioritize better.”
3. Do everything with intention.
The beginning of any yoga practice starts with setting an intention. This is a goal you set only for yourself and only for that one session—it could be anything from “forgive myself for not being perfect” to “be open to every new thing that comes my way” to “strive for balance.”
The purpose of setting an intention is to cultivate a sense of clarity behind your vision for the practice. Knowing what you want to get out of it and the feelings you want to put out into the world means you get more out of your practice.
Acting with intention is extremely important in running a business. You are likely an entrepreneur because you have a calling; what is it? How are you going to achieve what you’ve set out to do? Having a clear mental picture of what you want in business makes getting there a bit simpler.
4. Build confidence & good habits.
Often, at the end of a yoga class, your instructor tells you to thank yourself for “showing up.” In so much of life, showing up is half the battle; you can’t improve in yoga without showing up to practice, even if you’re having a tough time and feel behind. You can’t get better without continuing to show up and keep trying.
When you’re an entrepreneur, you lead by example. That means taking care of yourself, both mentally and physically, so that you can produce better work overall. And before leading others, you have to learn to lead yourself.
Let’s say you’re starting your yoga practice as a total newbie. You have zero flexibility and can’t balance on one foot to save your life; yoga may feel like the last thing on earth you should do. But showing up consistently for practice means that, eventually, you’re going to get better. You’ll be more flexible and have better endurance than you maybe ever thought you could. You may not turn into the solid-bodied yogini you see photographed on top of mountaintops for inspiring posters, but that’s okay—any amount of progress matters.
Continued practice means that you’re going to develop greater confidence in your yoga skills overall, and that confidence will translate to the rest of your life—including your work.
Yoga is an extremely healthy practice for anyone to take up, including entrepreneurs. By incorporating this activity into your weekly or daily routine, you’ll help reduce your stress levels, build confidence in your abilities, and lead with intention—not to mention have a healthier body overall.