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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 13-20

Mindfulness and yoga: A parallel and comparative analysis


1 Division of Yoga and Management Studies, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Chancellor, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Division of Yoga and Physical Sciences, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission11-Nov-2019
Date of Acceptance20-Jan-2020
Date of Web Publication28-Jan-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Judu V Ilavarasu
Division of Yoga and Physical Sciences, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, 19, Eknath Bhavan, Gavipuram Circle, K.G. Nagar, Bengaluru - 560 019, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijny.ijoyppp_17_19

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  Abstract 


Yoga and mindfulness are widely used interventions in various workplace setups. Both originated in the East and have many common and distinct characteristics. This study is to present the parallel and distinct views of these two major schools of philosophy. We describe Buddhist perspective of mindfulness as well as the basic philosophy of Yoga. We also discuss how these traditions suffer in a similar manner due to partial adoption of the traditional practices in contemporary society. Even though these interventions are increasingly becoming popular, to the same extent deviations from traditional practices are also observed. We also evaluate the role of awareness in the practice of mindfulness and yoga in general. Finally, we try to explore the possibilities of implementing yoga and mindfulness in workplace setups.

Keywords: Buddhism, ethics, mindfulness, workplace, yoga


How to cite this article:
Sreekumar T S, Nagendra H R, Ilavarasu JV. Mindfulness and yoga: A parallel and comparative analysis. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol 2020;8:13-20

How to cite this URL:
Sreekumar T S, Nagendra H R, Ilavarasu JV. Mindfulness and yoga: A parallel and comparative analysis. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Feb 24];8:13-20. Available from: http://www.ijoyppp.org/text.asp?2020/8/1/13/277011




  Introduction Top


Yoga- and mindfulness-based interventions are among the most popular methods for stress management in workplace setups. More than physical challenges, psychological challenges are considered more serious as these problems can originate, develop, and express in innumerable ways, and there appears to be no fixed simple solution; however, we recognize that the solution lies in managing the mind. Stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, rejection, fear, and insecurity are a few of the psychological challenges faced very commonly in various workplace setups. An alarming issue about these psychological problems is that they do not just confine at the psychological level rather express themselves at the physical level as various psychosomatic ailments. Hence, ignoring problems of psychological well-being in a workplace is unaffordable. Touted with various benefits of yoga- and mindfulness-based interventions in the general and scientific literature, it may appear confusing whether yoga and mindfulness are entirely different practices. The current need of implementation strategy in workplace demands the interventions to be short, effective, yet comprehensive in terms of benefits. This requirement set is quite challenging, and we consider that an overall understanding of components of today's most popular workplace interventions would enable us to take an informed decision and guide us to personalize the intervention to our needs. In this article, we attempt to summarize the concepts of mindfulness and yoga and discuss few possibilities of implementation of effective interventions.

Buddhist perspective of mindfulness

Buddha had taught the most important four noble truths – (1) the truth of suffering (dukkha), (2) the truth of cause of suffering (tanha), (3) the truth of cessation of suffering (nibbana), and (4) the eight-fold path leading to the cessation of suffering (magga). The eight-fold path gives insight about practices that can be followed to attain the highest goal, liberation. The eight-fold path consists of three major dimensions – practices to cultivate moral discipline (sila), practices to cultivate concentration (samadhi), and practices to cultivate wisdom (panna). The eight-fold path, therefore, consists of (1) right understanding (samma ditthi), (2) right thought (samma sankappa), both contributing toward the dimension of cultivation of wisdom, (3) right speech (samma vaca), (4) right action (samma kammanta), (5) right livelihood (samma ajiva), these three constitute of cultivation of moral discipline, (6) right effort (samma vayama), (7) right mindfulness (samma sati), and (8) right concentration (samma samadhi), contributing toward cultivation of concentration.[1] Among the eight-fold paths, mindfulness (sati) alone stands distinct mainly in the application of resolving various social issues. It is equally interesting to enquire why other dimensions of the eight-fold path have not found a prominence in modern-day workplace practices.

It is well known that the early works of Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979, four decades ago, lead to the introduction of mindfulness practices in the clinical setup.[2] His works majorly come from the vipassana tradition of meditation, which is popularly called insight meditation. It emphasizes a flow of awareness. He emphasized that mindfulness is a way of being and not merely a technique to achieve a goal. Traditionalist even raised concerns about using mindfulness merely for therapeutic uses. Mindfulness is essentially considered to be a cognitive practice. This aspect alone has been taken up widely leaving aside the other dimensions. The idea of liberation has been always kept away from the mindfulness-based mainstream workplace interventions. Thich Nhat Hanh, a great Zen Buddhist meditation master, has suggested that even though liberation is the ultimate outcome of all these traditional practices, they do have ancillary benefits in the path of progress. Perhaps, it is these ancillary benefits that the workplace interventions try to tap in most. Plurality in Buddhist traditions sometimes even makes the process of interpretation challenging and thereby designing suitable interventions becomes difficult. Much emphasis has been laid on lineage-based approaches in Buddhism, which attempts to ease the problem of interpretation.[3]

The knowledge of lineage is very important as the spiritual transmission is more a mind-to-mind transmission, and hence, both the giver and the receiver need to be in their best evolutionary positions, spiritually. Human beings are considered as heirs of their actions, which is their karma.[4] Without eligibility, no knowledge can be gained and retained. Following the traditional practices of a lineage is emphasized just to keep the accuracy of the teaching and retain the conceptual integrity of a tradition which has been flowing down the lane for 2600 years. Corporate organizations, many times which are driven by profit motives, have focused on a small aspect of the traditional interventions and seem to miss the traditional practice of moral discipline (sila). Corporate practitioners of mindfulness have considered not necessary to invoke the idea of liberation, for it limits the generalization and acceptance of mindfulness practice. It has been argued that ethical aspects around the teacher, student, and the teaching have to be strictly adhered to so that the lineage of information transmission is kept integrated. Without these followed, any interventional changes in workplaces will only lead to symptomatic relief and no durable changes can be achieved.[5]

There exist various debates around the concept of right mindfulness. The major issues around this debate are various assumptions and interpretations of the concepts of Buddha. At the bottom line, suffering and its solution is the fulcrum in Buddhism. However, there is no formal operational definition of suffering which gives room for various interpretations. It is considered that craving leads to suffering. Further, the cause of suffering is our own karma and ignorance. With the residual karma, rebirths happen again and again. The root cause of the suffering is the ignorance, which leads to the accumulation of further karma and instigates future births and sufferings. It has also been mentioned that without an ethical foundation, there is more likelihood of the following wrong mindfulness.[6]

Three omnipresent behaviors of mind have been identified as clinging, concentration, and awareness. Buddha has emphasized that we must cultivate concentration and awareness. This helps in reperceiving things in a newer way. Right attitude helps in the development of awareness. Awareness leads to equanimity and equanimity leads to acceptance. Non-doership is interestingly considered as the highest attitude, as it calls for the highest degree of detachment. Some of these teachings of Buddhism are more a psychology and hence have a cross-cultural value and wider acceptance.[7]

Buddhist idea of mindfulness (sati in Pali/smṛti in Sanskrit) is older. Three dimensions shown by Analayo are relationship between mindfulness and memory, awareness of body as a tool to mindfulness, and mindfulness to face diseases and pain.[8] Right and wrong mindfulness is discussed based on whether the wholesome nature of eight-fold path is assimilated into the practice or not. This is akin to the yama and niyama of yoga which ensures right perspective toward spiritual discipline. When mindfulness is effortlessly maintained, and the mind is not given to natural experiences, it is a sign of established mindfulness, and in this, a sense of being is consciously created.

Many interpretations revolve around the literal translation of the word sati which means memory. According to Hanissaro, mindfulness involves bringing memory to the present experience.[8] This method of direct translation and interpretation is considered as weak and may not give the right implied meaning. The traditional definition of mindfulness describes someone who is mindful and able to recollect and remember what has been done or said long ago. Episodic, semantic, and working memory can be distractors of mindfulness. Analayo reconciles these arguments by stating that mindfulness enhances memory, so it is easier to remember to be mindful and also to recollect what has been heard earlier. This is essential for the recognition and labeling of the present thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness is a continuous scanning process in which previous experiences which are thrown out are constantly and continually monitored, recognized, and labeled, but at the same time not dwelling in the content of the emerging thoughts, in a manner of open receptive awareness.[8]

Theravada and early Buddhist traditions differ slightly on the ethical quality of mindfulness (sati). Etymologically sati is memory. It is implicitly implied knowing right; along with that, inner verbalization (labeling, a process requiring memory) is required, to be called mindfulness. Mindfulness is a restraint of the stream of activities. Sati also means the stability of mind's attention-not to get distracted. Wisdom or insight also dawns due to the practice of mindfulness, and the process of effortful recollection sometimes is unsuccessful and just allowing the mind to dwell in its natural state brings to the memory of older experiences and also insights.[9]

A secularized form of Buddhist practice has presented mindfulness practices as something that enhances meta-awareness, present-centered awareness, nonreactivity to experience, dereification, a shift in self-related processing, and compassion. Both focused attention and open monitoring are practiced as part of mindfulness techniques. Accepting mindfulness as primarily a cognitive practice, more emphasis is laid on the mental processing to cultivate and strengthen the mind.

In summary, if we see the traditional Buddhist practices, they were primarily meant to address the root cause of human suffering. The Buddhist philosophy elucidates, in that process, the causes and means for liberation from suffering. Certain practices from traditional Buddhism were selectively picked up to be implemented in modern workplaces, especially mindfulness practices. This selective implementation of one of the practices, not incorporating other dimensions that traditional Buddhism has propounded comes with a cost of not reaping the full benefits of interventional effects, and in a larger picture, it appears more like a temporary solution rather than a permanent solution for the modern-day workplace challenges.

Yoga perspective

Yoga, as propounded by sage Patanjali, has eight limbs: a set of things to be avoided (yama), a set of things to be followed (niyama), postures (āsana), breathing practices (prānāyāma), sense withdrawal (pratyāhāra), concentration (dhāranā), meditation (dhyāna), and deep absorption (samādhi). The ultimate purpose of yoga is to attain freedom or liberation (kaivalya) through complete cessation of all mental modifications (vṛttis) and be established in one's real nature.[10] The mental modifications are said to be five, which encompass all the activities of the mind in wakeful, dream, and deep sleep states. These five different types of mental modifications can be modulated and controlled by repeated practice and dispassion with freedom from all worldly desires. The eight limbs suggested by the sage Patanjali covers comprehensively all that is required for progress to achieve the ultimate goal.

The ultimate goal has been propounded as to totally subjugate the mental modification (cittavṛtti). There are five types of mental modifications (cittavṛtti) – right knowledge (pramāṇa), wrong knowledge (viparyaya), imaginary/fancy knowledge (vikalpa), deep sleep (nidrä), and memory (smṛti).[10] According to Yoga Vasishta, one of the main vedantic texts, there are two means to attain liberation or freedom from the bondages of the mind – yoga and knowledge.



Meaning: Raaghava! There are two methods for the destruction of the mind – yoga and jñāna. Yoga is the restraint of the movements (or the thinking process) of the mind. Jñāna is perceiving (or knowing) (the truth) rightly (or thoroughly).[11]

The path of yoga emphasizes willful control over the mental modifications. The path of knowledge, as per the vedantic school of philosophy, is to understand that the mind which is the source of emergence of mental modifications is unreal. Therefore, compulsive and binding mental modifications cease to exist. The reason for natural emergence of mental modifications in the first place is the karmic impressions (karma saṁskāra). As long as there are impressions, there will be a tendency to express them through appropriate modes of mental modifications and producing corresponding experiences. If these mental modifications were to cease naturally, then there must happen a total exhaustion of all the karmic impressions, i.e., by total removal of the cause, the effects are also correspondingly removed. The path of knowledge suggests that by knowing the difference between the real and the unreal, the mental modifications cease to create strong karmic impressions, and also relieves from the afflictions of sufferings associated with that. The path of yoga suggests that even though there may be karmic impressions and they tend to produce mental modifications, systematic willful training of the mind can be done in such a way that those mental modifications do not arise. To give an analogy, a plant (mental modification) can emerge only when there is a seed (karmic impression) and external nutrients (supportive surrounding ambiance). In the absence of the seed or the absence of the nutrients, the plant will not grow. Similarly, a mental modification cannot occur if the mind is trained in such a way that it does not give a supportive ambiance for the mental modifications to sprout. It is equivalent to say that the mental modifications have ceased (suspended). This is exactly what is aspired in the path of yoga. This should not lead to the impression that yoga is a constant act of inner struggle or all-time willful violation of natural tendency of expression of mental modifications.



Meaning: Their suppression if brought about by persistent practice and nonattachment.[10]



Meaning: Practice becomes firmly grounded on being continued for a long time, without interruption and with reverent devotion.[10]



Meaning: Then, the seer is established in his own essential and fundamental nature.[10]

As with any new practice, when done repeatedly (abhyāsa), and with dispassion which means freedom from all worldly desires (vairāgyā), the effortful process becomes effortless, and after sufficient training, there would happen a natural cessation of mental modifications – which yoga propounds as the highest achievement of practice. This leads to the self to be established in its real nature.

The nature of expression of mental modification can be appreciated further through the model of triguṇa [Table 1]. Triguṇa is a personality theory from the Indian classical texts, which gives an idea of distinct patterns of expression of mind. According to this theory, all the animate and the inanimate entities are combinations of three guṇas – sattva, rajas, and tamas. In human beings, the predominance of a particular guṇa leads to a configuration of mental state, as it supports a particular pattern of mental modifications. The states of mind are classified into five: Kṣipta, mūḍha, vikṣipta, ekāgra, and niruddha.
Table 1: Degree of various guëas in different states of mind

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The variations in the three guṇas lead to different states of mind. We can also trace the spiritual progress based on this. The progressive spiritual journey would always lead from a kṣipta state to niruddha state. If the state of mind is predominantly kṣipta or mūḍha, then a lot of external support is needed to start and progress in spiritual path. These states are predominant with rajas and tamas and a lesser amount of sattva. Vikṣipta state can begin to self-initiate and progress but with proper external guidance. This state of mind also characterizes the absence of persistence to follow the spiritual path. Ekāgra can be considered as an advanced state where a sufficient amount of mental training has taken place, but still, there are pinches of imperfections due to lower levels of rajas and tamas. Niruddha is an exalted state where we can say that natural cessation of mental modifications has been achieved. This is a stage beyond the state of triguṇa. The practical implication of this idea is that for a spiritual progress, it is essential to strive for enhancing the degree of sattva and reducing the degree of tamas and rajas. Even for mindfulness or any contemplative practices, a high degree of sattva and a low degree of tamas and rajas are required. This is exactly what is accomplished by following the ethical principles given in any system of philosophy or religion. In yoga, it is yama and niyama, and in Buddhism, it is sila. One of the reasons why ethical culturing has been recognized as a foundational step in a majority of the spiritual traditions is that guṇas are intangible, but their behavioral expressions are tangible and can be observed and introspected. Rather than trying to reconfigure the subtle intangible guṇas, it is easier to cultivate through certain tangible and measurable practices that can give an aspirant a direct sense of measure of progress. Hence, it is always recommended to enhance sattva by consciously involving in acts which promote sattva, such as charity, compassion, and love, and reduce tamas and rajas by consciously observing and diverting the mind from engaging in acts of high tamas and rajas. However, it must be made clear that tamas and rajas per se are not bad or unpleasant that must be shunned all the time. In nature, all the three guṇas have their own unique constructive role to play, for example, for a deep rest and sleep for normal human beings, the predominance of tamas is required at that particular time. When trying to involve in intense daily activities, rajas is required. However, choicelessly driven under the control of guṇas leads to various problems, so the intended message is to master guṇas – this is the state called guṇātīta in the Bhagavad Gita.

As time passes and traditional practices are transmitted to the next generations, a certain amount of deviation happens. This could be due to various factors such as the needs and values of the contemporary society and the characteristics of the people who inherit the knowledge source and further propagate. Concerning aspect about this marginal deviation is that down the lane, we see practices that are quite divergent to the original practices. For example, today yoga is more popular for its health and therapeutic benefits, and that too just focusing on a few components like āsanas, and prānāyāma. Most often higher practice like samādhi is least emphasized. In the case of yoga, the contemporary practices can be roughly portrayed, as shown in [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Proportion of yoga components popular in contemporary society

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Many studies acknowledge that the major focus in yoga research has been related to yoga postures, breathing practices, and meditation techniques. No doubt, a number of studies have been conducted in workplace settings both in India and in abroad but mostly using the above-mentioned components. Like in traditional Buddhist practices, as the dimension of sila is less emphasized in workplace interventions, similarly in general in yoga, the yama and niyama are also neglected. It requires self-initiated efforts to bring in the moral and ethical discipline, and it calls for a higher degree of self-introspection and self-refinement. For the very similar reasons, pratyāhāra, sense withdrawal, is also less emphasized. The practice of pratyahara was considered as an important stepping stone before dhāraṇā and dhyāna, just to ensure the absence of internal obstacles caused by an untrained mind. This ensures a safe and fall-free progress toward the highest goal of freedom. On the other extreme, higher practices such as samādhi are also not much researched and commonly practiced due to the level of difficulty involved in preparing the mind for such higher contemplative practices. We can assume that contemporary society has adopted a sort of middle path wherein those practices that are culturally and socially more acceptable and practicable are chosen and not emphasizing on others where it may not be socially relevant in today's contemporary society or it is too difficult to follow with all rigor. What is often missed in workplace interventions, which is also well acknowledged, is the basic ethical training. This has been emphasized both in the traditional Buddhist and yoga traditions. Mental preparedness is essential for any discipline and without that new learning is less effective.


  Comparison between Smṛti Of Yoga and Sati Of Buddhism Top


The concept of smṛti (memory) as vṛtti and sati (memory) as mindfulness appears to be similar but has a different emphasis and articulation. According to yoga, smṛti is also a type of mental modification and it needs to be controlled and eliminated. On the other hand, sati in Buddhism is considered as an important step in the eight-fold path. Yoga's presentation of smṛti (memory) is to define it as a mental modification. As yoga has considered all mental modifications as obstacles, subjugation of memory (as a mental modification) is considered necessary. Memory may serve a useful purpose in the early stage of the spiritual development, but it needs to be mastered and subjugated in the later stages. Sati, on the other side, is a suggested practice toward maintaining awareness. Hence, a direct comparison may not be suitable; however, we can explore the different points of emphasis in both the cases.

One of the reasons why smṛti in yoga has been considered as a mental modification is that they also cause an obstruction in seeing the self uninhibitedly. They bind the mind with the memory of the past. As engaging the mind in the memory of the past is equivalent to dwelling in unreal recreation of the past, it obscures the vision of inner self in this current moment. It can be noted that smṛti has been listed as the last in the series of mental modifications. If at all there is a meaning in the order of mentioning of these vṛtti in the text, it can possibly mean that even though appears to be quite important, still smṛti needs to be addressed at the advanced stages of progress. Sati, on the other side, has been portrayed as a method of maintaining mindful awareness. The first English translation of the word sati in Pali to mindfulness appears to have happened in 1881 by Thomas William Rhys Davids.[12] As discussed earlier, in the debate of memory in mindfulness practices, it has been emphasized by Analayo that mindfulness enhances memory, so it is easier to recollect, recognize, and label the present thoughts and feelings, without engaging in the contents of the thoughts. A lot of emphasis on right mindfulness is to ensure that mind does not dwell upon anything that is unwholesome. A careful choice of what is good to be engaged by the mind is clearly presented. This again has its relation with initial practices of mental discipline, sila. Hence, a good and a healthy memory is needed in the practice of mindfulness. Especially in the initial stages of progress, it is very important so that an aspirant does not fall. Later, when the utility of this memory as a tool reduced, and when it obstructs that vision of self at the advanced stages, it must then be controlled and subjugated to annihilation, which the yoga proposes. Hence, the emphasis of both the systems of philosophy, yoga and Buddhism, on memory is to address concepts at different stages of spiritual growth. The practical implication of this discussion is that how do we use these traditional practices in contemporary world? We try to take up a few questions that hint at why such practices are extensively used in contemporary setups.

Why thoughts cease to stream when observed upon or in mindfulness?

The very nature of mind is to stream thoughts. Those thoughts when engaged actively create a sense of reality and we transact in that self-created reality. Is this spontaneous streaming of thoughts preferable or unpreferable? Actually, it is from the same source of mind that creative thoughts also emerge and also unpleasant thoughts. Hence, it is difficult to conclude if streaming of thoughts is good or bad. However, one thing is clear that these spontaneous activities of the mind producing incessant thoughts without any control are certainly undesirable. When does the mindstream thoughts without any control? When the regulatory faculty of mind which checks, evaluates, and appraises the various transactions of the mind becomes weak. The key player in this process is the awareness. In the presence of right awareness, the compulsive nature of thought streaming subsides, simply because in the presence of awareness, many thoughts that emerge are just rendered nonessential.



Meaning: It is impossible for the mind to be of both ways (as perceiver and perceived) at the same time.[10]

Mind at the same time cannot be a perceiver as well as perceived. When mind is watched, it no longer can perform as a perceiver or agent of perception. Hence, the continuous practice of mindfulness helps in naturally subsiding emerging uncontrolled thoughts.

Role of awareness in contemplative practices

Awareness, synonymously known as meta-awareness, self-awareness etc., is meant to portray an ability of the mind to focus on its own mental and physical activities and observe objectively, without getting entangled into the content or process of thinking. This state of self-observant mind does involve some activity of the mind, but this is certainly not the compulsive thinking process. This state when practiced and strengthened is said to bring a profound sense of inner tranquility and bliss. These regal inner states of mind are just the reflection of reduced citta vṛtti, mental modifications. In an advanced stage, the mind itself would dissolve in the heightened tranquility and bliss. This is the reason why the mere process of awareness can help subside the compulsive streaming of mental thoughts. However, the question still remains, how upon being aware, the mind naturally reaches a state of tranquility and bliss and how the thoughts cease to emerge effortlessly? Being in a state of awareness, when the mind cannot act as an observer of external objects when itself is being observed, the thoughts subside, but this is an effortful process. As long as that inner effort is maintained, the thoughts will cease to emerge uncontrollably. However, when the effort is relaxed, again the natural state of thought streaming begins. The solution for this is to address the root cause of emergence of thoughts, which is the karma saṁskära. This can happen only when the knowledge of the self happens, synonymous of mokṣa or liberation.



Meaning: The object being the same the difference in the two (the object and its cognition) are due to their (of the minds') separate path.[10]

Based on the nature of mind, we perceive the same things in different ways. Hence, the idea about reality is very subjective. In the state of knowledge, effortlessly and flawlessly, the discrimination of the real and the unreal happens. When the objects outside are clearly appraised as unreal, then the mind's natural seeking tendency toward those external objects cease, just like knowing the dream to be unreal, we do not lament upon the unpleasant experiences that we experienced in the dream state. Or in other words, the mind loses its reason to seek sense objects outside, and essentially becomes nonfunctional, or in other words, a state of annihilated mental modifications is achieved. This is when the natural and effortless state of total absence of mental modifications happens which gives an unconditional and unbound happiness and knowledge. This state is also referred to as jīvanamukti, liberated while alive.

Future directions

In modern days, many yoga- and mindfulness-based interventions are being utilized in health, education, and other workplace setups. Each setup has its own challenges and opportunities. While using traditional systems, it is important to address the current needs, it is also important to adopt a system in a wholesome manner so that the benefits are also reaped as prescribed. One profound thing common in all these traditional systems is that they were not primarily meant to address the physical and mental challenges that we commonly face today, rather they were meant mainly for spiritual development and freedom. Hence, implementing these techniques in a wholesome manner is a big challenge.

We suggest staged implementation of an intervention. The need of an individual or an organization should be assessed, and accordingly, an intervention should be customized. In the initial stage, techniques that try to address existing problems can be suggested. Later, stages must, however, teach the deeper philosophy of a system of thought. At this point, an organization must present the universal values of different systems in a secular manner. The underlying philosophy part of any religion which is unifying and universal in nature can be used and practiced if it helps in an improvement in the workplace setups. Furthermore, having a workplace ambiance with a choice of interventions stemming from different traditional cultures is a symbol of universal acceptance of different systems in a workplace. Giving equal importance and opportunities to different traditions does enhance the inner security and peace. We further suggest incorporation of moral and ethical disciplines which have been already identified as seriously lacking in existing interventions. This has to be done passively by incorporating into the work culture of an organization. For example, positive reinforcement or reward in an organization can be linked to demonstration of high moral and ethical practices apart from looking at the various performance indicators. The fear or being “too good,” especially for corporate culture, may be discarded, as in a long run, adhering to strong ethics brings up so many intangible positive changes and will influence the growth of an organization. Finally, we also suggest that organizations should recognize the need for spiritual growth as an important factor for an employee. Most of the adult life is spent around workplace, and when an employee retires, he/she is left with limited physical and mental resources to follow the spiritual pursuits. This can be changed if the organizations incorporate this need for spiritual fulfillment as a core need to be provided to the employee right from the beginning. This would pave the way to enhance the overall spiritual quotient of an organization. It will enhance various attributes such as meaning and purpose of work and other innumerable benefits that will support the growth of the organization. Like it is being recommended to the WHO to include the spiritual dimension of health in its definition,[13],[14] industries should also include the pursuit of spiritual need as a component of workplace ambiance and amply provide the choices to practice the same in workplace setups.


  Conclusion Top


Among the major tradition-based interventions, yoga and mindfulness are most popular. They share a lot of similarities and also suffer similar limitations of implementation in contemporary workplace setups. We discussed the characteristic of these two traditions and tried to discuss methods of implementation of interventions based on traditional practices in workplace setups.



Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

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Gopalakrishna D. Buddhism and Contemporary Management. 1st ed. Dehiwala: Buddhist Cultural Centre; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
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Husgafvel V. On the Buddhist roots of contemporary non-religious mindfulness practice: Moving beyond sectarian and essentialist approaches. Temenos 2016;52:87-126.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
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Mikulas WL. Mindfulness: Significant common confusions. Mindfulness 2011;2:1-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
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Anālayo B. Mindfulness constructs in early Buddhism and Theravāda: Another contribution to the memory debate. Mindfulness 2018;9:1047-51.   Back to cited text no. 9
    
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Jnanananda B. The Essence of Yogavaasishtha. Madras: Samata Books; 1998. p. 176.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
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Wikipedia. Sati; 2019. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sati_(Buddhism)#cite_note-9. [Last accessed on 2019 Nov 03].  Back to cited text no. 12
    
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Nagase M. Does a multi-dimensional concept of health include spirituality? Analysis of Japan health science council's discussionson who's 'definition of health' (1998). Int J Appl Sociol 2012;2:71-7.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
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Charlier P, Coppens Y, Malaurie J, Brun L, Kepanga M, Hoang-Opermann V, et al. A new definition of health? An open letter of autochthonous peoples and medical anthropologists to the WHO. Eur J Intern Med 2017;37:33-7.  Back to cited text no. 14
    


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