Posted by: Harsha • Jun 7th, 2009
The Principles of Leadership in Yoga
There are hundreds of wonderful and ancient texts written by great yogis and sages that have come down to us. These include the Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and so many more. If we meditate deeply on the psychology of human truths found in these, the principles of living a successful life and becoming a leader and a benefactor for humanity emerge.
Principles of yoga psychology tell us that human beings, in order to develop their potential, must become fully conscious of their root instinct to survive and channel this phenomenal energy in five areas of life and manage these areas with care. Our understanding of these five fundamental principles and applying them properly determines the extent to which we fulfill our total human potential.
Here are the five principles. These are all tied in some way to our root instinct to survive. When you read any Upanishads, or a classic yoga text, you will find methods either directly or indirectly referring specifically to these. According to yogis, the secret of worldly and spiritual success and becoming a dynamic leader is a function of how well we manage these five areas of our life.
1. Breath. Proper use and understanding of yoga postures (or other physical exercises) and deep yogic breathing to advance one’s intelligence, intuition, strength, and energize and sharpen one’s leadership vision.
2. Nutrition. Proper use of food, air, water, and the sun to attain abundant energy, to become sensitive to the needs of the body, and to empathize with all living beings in order to embrace them. In this way one gains the humility and compassion and can act as a servant and transformational leader to facilitate the personal growth of others.
3. Sensuality. Understanding the attraction to the root (earth) aspect of life that manifest in the desire for the experience of sensuality and pleasure. Proper engagement in the experience of sensuality is important so that it promote mental balance and health and strengthens one’s leadership. The opposite causes confusion for oneself and others.
4. Sleep. Proper engagement in sleep and understanding of sleep states and different states of consciousness and to eventually attain the transcendental and universal vision that is the basis of appearance and phenomena. Lucid dreaming and super conscious states help a leader gain a feel for the right future goals to pursue that are in harmony with the universe.
5. Nonviolence. The fifth principle is that of Ahimsa (nonviolence) and it helps to integrates the other four principles while directly addressing the root instinct to survive. All other rules of conduct are subordinate to it. The ideal of Ahimsa should be held firmly in mind and in practice while one pursues to develop one’s potential through the use of other means.
The leaders at the highest level such as Buddha, Mahavir, Jesus, Gandhi, and others are able to overcome even the root survival instinct through the practice and full development of the ideal of Ahimsa. This makes their compassion for humanity so overwhelming that in the face of very difficult, life threatening, and humiliating circumstances, they have the capacity to forgive without reservation.
While the other principles focus on developing energy, power, and dynamism as a leader, the principle of Ahimsa provides a strong framework for functioning so that the leadership abilities which are developed will be used for the benefit of humanity. Ahimsa is the only way to overcome the fundamental and root fears that every human being has.
See the following article on Ahimsa for a better understanding of its role in removing fear.
I will continue with part III of this series later.