Mindful Leadership: Integrating Yoga and Meditation practises

June 21, 2024

Mindful Leadership: Integrating Yoga and Meditation practises

We are living in a world of organisational turbulence and demanding complexity. Let alone the completion of deadlines, surviving the daily pressure for managers has become a growing concern. And the quandary strikes harder when you realise that you have only 24 hours in a day to complete all the tasks. Even more so, creating a harmony between personal and professional life for leaders has become next to impossible. However, every cloud has a silver lining. There is a way to handle all this and still come out healthy, happy and successful. We are talking about Yoga and Meditation practise. 

In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in the contribution of mindfulness to maintain the well-being of corporate leaders in the face of such pressures. In this blog, we shall explore the power of Yoga and meditation in the realm of leadership. Along the way, you will get to know the insights and practisal tips to embrace a mindful approach in your professional life. Let’s discover the right way to lead with purpose, intention and balance. 

Understanding the essence of mindfulness leadership

Mindfulness has developed across thousands of years of cultural evolution as an anecdote to the natural habits of our minds and hearts. In the simplest terms, mindful leadership is the ability to pay attention in a particular way, on purpose and in the present moment. It is also the act of embracing compassion, kindness and compassion. Mindful leaders hold the promise, not only for reducing stress and improving well-being but also for improving productivity and relationships at the workplace. When integrated with the practises of meditation and Yoga, mindful leadership can lead to professional and spiritual growth. 

Traits of Mindful Leadership

Here are the few elements that constitute mindful leadership:

  • Attention: Focusing on what matters the most to get closer to your leadership goals.
  • Non-judgement: Observing the experiences; accepting perspectives
  • Patience: Not rushing to conclusions, yet patiently waiting for things to develop
  • Staying in presence: Being aware of things in the present, regardless of how they were in the past or how they will be in future.
  • Non-reactive: Mindfulness encourages you to respond to your experience rather than reacting to the instant thoughts
  • Beginner’s Mind: Observing the experiences as if they are happening for the first time
  • Acceptance: Accepting your feelings, emotions, beliefs, failures and mistakes
  • Non-attachment: Not attaching to meanings or thoughts and feelings. Instead, observe feelings as they are, not connecting them to anything.

Integrating Yoga into Your Leadership

Integrating yoga into your leadership can bring in a transformative approach, for both personal and professional development. Leaders often face constant challenges that require the right mindset and emotional resilience. Yoga can help with that and beyond. By incorporating Yoga practices into their routine, leaders can forge an empathic and inclusive leadership style.

Here are some of the qualities that Yoga can help leaders with:


The ancient practise of Yoga can change the way leaders deal with modern challenges. The concept of ahimsa, which is synonymous with non-harming and nonviolence, is to yoga philosophy. Strong leadership requires increased empathy and compassion for everyone, which is supported by this guiding concept. Being sympathetic and a good listener are two essential qualities of servant leadership and yoga philosophy interprets each of these qualities in different ways.


Another essential component of leadership is self-awareness, which is a quality that yoga practises frequently foster. You may lead from a better position if you have a greater understanding of your own habits, triggers and reactions as well as how you present yourself at work. As it pertains to setting an example, stewardship via servant leadership is also appropriate in this situation. Self-awareness holds you responsible and establishes realistic guidelines for modelling leadership in the workplace.


An employer’s ability to operate and lead with intention in the job can be substantially enhanced by practising yoga. Working with intention is synonymous with purpose-, results- and strategically driven work. If you place an emphasis on intention, you can more effectively plan how your team will help customers with their time, from meeting schedules to execution tactics. Persuasion is a leadership trait that involves getting others involved and on board with a vision. This intention-first approach aids in influencing and motivating as well. When work is approached with it, it takes on a new meaning and becomes more approachable for groups.  

Yoga exercises for the workplace

Yoga asanas may appear to be complicated. But these are quite simple and can even be done while you work. Here are some easy asanas that can be practised at your workplace:

Seated Yoga poses

Seated Yoga poses

  1. Seated cat-cow stretch – Sit at the edge of your chair. inhale while arching your back and looking up. Exhale and round your spine while looking down.
  2. Seated forward bends– extend your legs while sitting, inhale and extend your spine too and exhale while hinging at the hips to reach for toes. Feel the stretch in your hamstrings and back.
  3. Seated spinal twist– sit tall and place your right hand on the chair’s back and your left hand on the right knee. Inhale and extend your spine. Exhale and twist slowly to the right. Hold your breath and repeat while switching sides.
  4. Seated neck-stretch-tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards the shoulder. Hold for a few breaths and then switch sides. 
Standing Yoga Poses

Standing Yoga Poses

  1. Standing Forward bend– stand with your feet open a bit. Inhale and stretch your spine and then exhale and fold forward. Let your arms and legs hand, hold for a few breaths and repeat. 
  2. Tree pose(vrikshasana) –  stand and shift your weight on one leg. Place your foot on your inner thigh or calf. Get your hands over your head in a “namaste position”. Hold your breath for a few seconds and repeat.
  3. Standing side stretch– simply stand and raise your arms overhead, clasping them. Exhale and lean to one side to feel the stretch on your body. Repeat it while switching sides.

Integrating Meditation into Your Leadership

It is a universal truth that relaxed and focused managers perform better. Using meditation or mindfulness learning techniques for a few minutes per day can help managers get relaxed. They can also benefit by having a better coping mechanism when faced with challenging situations at work. Ultimately, this means that you can become a better leader through meditation. Regular meditators are more likely to engage with people more effectively and carry out their duties more successfully. Managers who meditate might also make wiser financial judgements.

Popular research indicates just that. In a study, participants who had just spent 15 minutes in “mindfulness” meditation, focusing on their breathing, were 77% more likely than others to resist what is known as the “sunk-cost bias,” the propensity to stick with a less effective strategy simply because a lot of money has been sunk into it.

How to meditate at the workplace

Now that you know the benefits of mindful learning and meditation, it’s imperative to test the knowledge at your workplace. First, set aside some minutes each day for meditation; ideally, this time should be the same. Try to dedicate some time early in the day so you may reschedule it at a later time if something comes up at the last minute.


Next, locate a peaceful area. This might be your automobile if space is limited, an unoccupied conference room, an office without windows, or a neighbouring park. Wherever you want as long as it’s peaceful and free of distractions is okay. To avoid distractions, make sure you switch off digital alerts and close email apps. Most professionals can take ten to fifteen minutes off work without suffering serious repercussions. Getting the most out of your practice requires taking this crucial step, even though you might be reluctant to do it in your office. Consider this: over time, the ten or fifteen minutes you spend meditating at work will increase your effectiveness and productivity.

Popular research indicates just that. In a study, participants who had just spent 15 minutes in “mindfulness” meditation, focusing on their breathing, were 77% more likely than others to resist what is known as the “sunk-cost bias,” the propensity to stick with a less effective strategy simply because a lot of money has been sunk into it.

Meditation practises for your workplace

Consider these meditation practises while at your workplace:

  • Mindful breathing- inhale deeply and exhale slowly to calm your mind and senses
  • Walking meditation- walk in solace and concentrate on things that matter in your life
  • Body scanning-focus on relaxing each part of your body while your eyes closed
  • Desk meditation- close your eyes, sit on your desk and focus on your breaths
  • Gratitude meditation- spend a few minutes focusing on things you are grateful for
  • Mindful eating- eat slowly, appreciating the joy of food and life
  • Five-sense exercise- take a few minutes to appreciate what you can feel, see, hear, smell and taste
  • Affirmation practise- repeat a positive affirmation for a few minutes, such as “I am calm”

The Takeaway

In conclusion, it is important to talk about the future perspectives of managers, leaders and other corporate employees. On this world’s Yoga Day, it’s even more essential to realise why mindfulness should be introduced into the corporate culture along with yoga and meditation. It should be done in a way that is acceptable to participants. Mindful leadership combined with yoga can help foster a work environment that is healthy and productive. By integrating these into professional life, we can nurture leaders who will further cultivate a deeper sense of awareness and ability to lead with compassion and gratitude. 

To know more about mindful learning and its impact on work culture, get in touch with the experts at PeopleNorth

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