Leading Mindfully For Business Success

The concept of mindfulness has become a hot topic in the media over the past few years. But what does it mean? And what can it do for you and your team? By Repa Patel*.

We see on just about every business-related website or blog a mention of how mindfulness can benefit your health.

But the proliferation and recent popularity of the concept of mindfulness has been met with some skepticism of late.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review entitled There Are Risks To Mindfulness at Work, career consultant David Brendel suggests that some executives are “escaping” their responsibilities by retreating into what he describes as mindfulness.

Brendel outlines one particular example where mindfulness practices had been forced upon a staff by their manager.

Demystifying Mindfulness

So is mindfulness just another woo-woo New Age idea?

I have practised it for over 30 years and I have taught it for seven years to clients with tailored practices designed for their particular place on their own journey.

Having practised “witness consciousness” – the yogic term for mindfulness – for over three decades, I have noticed how the recent growth in interest in this tool has led to many misunderstandings and myths about the practice and its impact.

I use mindfulness to “get real” about what is happening to me right now and I use it to make a conscious choice about how to respond, rather than getting caught up in wishing that my experience was different.

It takes considerable and conscious effort, particularly when I’m experiencing strong emotions and overpowering thoughts, but the personal growth and impact has been well worth it.

What Does It Mean To Be Mindful?

You’ll come across many descriptions of mindfulness, but here are the three main components of mindful living:

  • Consciously choosing to pay attention to the present moment.
  • Noticing your thoughts, emotions/feelings, body sensations, and experiencing them fully.
  • Releasing judgement of yourself and your experience, without labelling it “right” or “wrong” or choosing “for” or “against”.

Kripalu Yoga and Mindfulness

The Kripalu Yoga definition of mindfulness also adds the element of “self-compassion”, to create a self-nurturing container for powerful thoughts and feelings.

Mindfulness originated in the yoga tradition as “witnesses conscious” and has become very popular recently through the application of Buddhist teachings. There are many different mindfulness practices aimed at different results, and studies have shown the many benefits.

Two important benefits include:

  • Improved wellbeing, positive emotion and enhanced behaviour regulation.
  • Increased grey matter in the parts of the brain relating to memory, learning, empathy, emotion regulation and perspective.

In this way, mindfulness is about full engagement with the situation you are experiencing, both externally and internally. As a leader, it serves you as a powerful tool to live with intention and conscious choice.

In the words of the Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn “meditation is not evasion, it is a serene encounter with reality.”

Practical Application: A Grounding Mindfulness Technique

Next time you are feeling challenged by your circumstances, rather than wishing it was different, try this mindfulness technique, which is based on Kripalu Yoga’s “Breathe… Relax… Feel… Watch… Allow” approach to life, on and off the yoga mat:

Step 1: Pause to reconnect with your breath, breathe fully and deeply.

Step 2: With each exhale, consciously relax your body.

Step 3: Notice what you are feeling your in your body and mind.

Step 4: Watch what is happening with the curiosity of a “witness”, allowing your experience to be just as it is, without wishing it were different.

Step 5: Then make a conscious choice about how you will respond.


Repa is as an expert in mindful leadership, a business coach, public speaker and change consultant. Six years she founded Leading Mindfully, a business through which she coaches C-suite executives, senior leaders and business owners. is the founder of Leading Mindfully. She tells SPA+CLINIC:

I have practised yoga and meditation for over 20 years, am a certified Kripalu yoga teacher and have worked with AFL footballers and international tennis players to teach them this form of yoga.

It originates from north-west India (from where my ancestors hail) and is a combination of hatha (postures), raja (meditation) and bhakti (chanting and mantra) yoga, aimed at connecting each individual with their true self, that part of us that is beyond time and space.

Kripalu is a deeply compassionate practice that teaches us how to lead our lives from personal authenticity.

It is very well known in the US. I completed my teacher training at Kripalu Centre for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts, the largest yoga centre in the US.

The Centre has a strong focus on scientific testing of its techniques and partners with Harvard Medical School to test their techniques, which form the basis of their teacher training.

In my work as an executive, I have integrated my yoga practice to lead my self and my team to drive personal and business outcomes.

I am deeply drawn to how yoga principles and mindfulness help us see our thoughts and allow us to make conscious choices to think, act and behave in ways that are congruent with your authentic selves.

At Leading Mindfully I integrate yoga philosophy, positive psychology and neuroscience to help my clients implement evidence based techniques to thrive in their lives, careers and businesses.

I’m on a mission to bring more meaning to business by helping leaders to deeply connect with their unique strengths and to drive business and career growth from a centered and authentic space.

Leaders have huge impacts on our communities, through the economic contributions of their businesses and the personal effect of their leadership on those they lead.

Once a leader deeply connects to their purpose, their leadership becomes authentic and meaningful, permitting and inspiring others around them to do the same.

My contribution to changing the world is in fuelling a transformative energy in leaders; an energy that sparks positive change not only in the leader’s life, but also in their business, partnerships, and families.


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