Blog: Katherine Austin

The principles of yoga shouldn't just be left for the 6 p.m. class; they should be followed throughout the business day, according to the teachings of Katherine Austin, founder of Karma Yoga. This week she opines on why and how businesses can answer a calling higher than egoism and the profit motive.

A Spiritual Approach to Business

I start my day before the dawn, with a cup of hot tea and at least 20 minutes of meditation.

It's not because I own a yoga studio or teach yoga for a living. It's because if I didn't meditate, my business wouldn't succeed like it does and I wouldn't maintain my own equilibrium amid the ups and downs that define life.

Call it spirituality, call it yoga, call it what you will, but my business flows easily because of the daily practices and rituals I have instituted and stick to. They guide me and keep me focused on a higher purpose so I can be my best self- not focused on money or acquisitions or the need to grow bigger and have more people follow me.

I wasn't always like this. Years ago, before I really tuned in to what lurks beneath the physical practice of yoga, I lived in the ego just like many people do. That's when life was messy.

For me, the key to a successful business – and a successful life – is taking care of the self. That's on all levels – physical (healthy body temple), emotional (in touch with feelings), mental (meditation) and spiritual (believe in something bigger than you). The tough times come from when we don't put that focus on self–care front and center – anything from not getting enough rest to lack of spiritual connection.

I stay present, in this moment in front of me, and that is a very manageable place to be. This is easier for me to do now. I know everything is always working for my highest good. As a business owner and someone who tries to live by the principles I teach, I believe there are three solid steps to running a business from a spiritual place. Here they are:

1. Get up every morning and make the first thing you do, personal time connecting to something bigger than you. Do not check email or use electronics first thing in the day. Sit quietly reading a spiritual book or a poem, meditate, do yoga. It doesn't have to be big or long. But it will make a huge difference in the way your day unfolds if you begin the day by spending a few minutes centering yourself, getting grounded in the here and now.

2. Secure a spiritual connection – in whatever form works for you. Your business will be more successful if you have some spiritual connection – be it to a higher power, the universe, God, energy, the divine – name it what you will. If you think you're in charge, it's never going to work out as well as you hope. "May I know the joy of being used by you."

3. Get selfless. In yogi-speak that's called Seva – selfless service. Engage in service work, give back in some way. At Karma, every teacher gives some portion of their teaching income to Urban Farming ( I also teach people to meditate. Service work is really important for humility. It gets you out of your small little self and your small world and oh my problems are so bad and all the things we can spin into – only then do we really make a difference. And you know, that's karma – what you put out there will come back to you.