Yoga’s Ten Essential Success Principles
I believe that we are all attending Earth School to learn lessons. Like it or not, we are bombarded with countless trials. Some lessons we never learn and others we may have to repeat many times until we finally “get it.” There are ten ancient yoga principles that were set forth in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali thousands of years ago. I call them the “essential success principles,” for when we practice them, we are our best selves and contribute to harmony with others in community. And when we violate them, we create drama and baggage to carry around, limiting and burdening ourselves.
The key principles to enhance success with others are: non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, moderation, and non-hoarding. The principles to guide you to be your best self are: purity, contentment, discipline, self-study and surrender to a higher power. In my book and CD set YogaLife: 10 Steps to Freedom, I offer explanations for each principle and modern applications to everyday life. Then I ask readers to respond to reflection questions about how well they are living these ten core principles for success. I encourage everyone to look honestly at themselves and say “Good Notice!” when they see something they would like to shift – without any judgment or blame.
While the principles for harmony seem so obvious, there are many instances in which we need to bring them to the forefront of consciousness to operate with greater compassion and integrity. Whether relating to yourself, your family, your business associates or even your neighbors — you can achieve greater success if you practice unconditional kindness and compassion and stop yourself when you are getting impatient or starting to criticize someone. You can manifest more if you learn to tell the kind truth rather than reach for the quick lie. You can learn to see and shift when you are “stealing” energy or credit or materials. You can admit where you are prone to excesses that diminish your aliveness and take steps towards moderation. And, it would benefit you greatly to focus on areas of hoarding and lighten up your grasp on things and people.
Turning to the second set of principles for personal development, you might inquire into where in your life you could improve cleanliness. Best of all, you could look at what keeps you from being satisfied and ways to achieve lasting contentment. Then you might explore where you could apply more discipline in your life. All of this falls under the umbrella of “self-study” which is the ninth principle. Then of course, there is the ultimate, tenth principle that teaches you to surrender to the flow of the life and know that we are NOT in control. There is a higher power, whether you call it Mother Nature, God, the Universe, or simply The Force.
The yoga principles provide an excellent no-fault mirror for us to examine how we are doing and discover new directions to take. We can apply them to ourselves individually, and share them with our families, at school or in the office. They provide us with a healthy inquiry into maintaining high standards and values for ourselves and each other.
Through the YogaLife Academy, I do public speaking engagements, workshops and retreats on applying the yoga principles to daily life and at the work place. At custom staff retreats, we use the success principles to achieve clarity of purpose, enumerate goals, enhance team building, do vision planning, and create mission statements. For an example of a staff development retreat, read the article about the Harris Chiropractic Staff Retreat. (link)
Throughout our inquiry into applying the yoga principles, we maintain a no-fault, non-judgmental stance. We keep in mind that “we are doing the best we can with the resources we have in the moment.” Yet, we are upgrading our resourcefulness and our standards of performance to achieve greater success with grace and ease.