Yoga and Ayurveda Perspective on Workplace Well-Being

From Dharmawiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Yoga and Ayurveda are two ancient traditions originating from India that emphasize multidimensional and holistic well-being of all. Workplace well-being holds a significant place for people considering the centrality of work in their lives and the sheer amount of time and effort expended.[1]

This article discussing workplace well-being from the perspectives of Yoga and Ayurveda has been taken from the paper "Well-Being at Workplace: A Perspective from Traditions of Yoga and Ayurveda" (2020) by C. Dagar & A. Pandey in S. Dhiman (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Workplace Well-Being.

परिचयः ॥ Introduction[1]

The term happiness is frequently used analogous to terms such as well-being and quality of life and signifies both individual and social welfare.[2] A broad examination of the history of happiness highlights that its definition has evolved over time.

The spiritual view of happiness emphasizes the internal orientation that aims at the freedom from external sources of pain and pleasure and accepting the world with all its beauty and distortions.[3] Venerable to the spiritual view of happiness, Haidt[4] explains that one has to delve internally, and the external world cannot bring more than momentary happiness. He also mentions that there are some externals like relationships, work, the degree of control that matter and are worth striving for to enhance the level of happiness. Haidt reconsiders happiness and states that it engenders from the link between self and others, self and work, and self and the beyond which is something bigger than the self.

Flourishing as a concept is associated with happiness[4] and high levels of well-being[5] and is defined as a state of complete or maximal well-being coupled with optimal functioning.[6] It is a holistic and broader representation of well-being comprising of intrapersonal and interpersonal dimensions.[6][7]

As noted, work is one of the determinants of well-being and a potential means to flourish. Also, as per the report by World Health Organization (WHO) (1995), workplace constitutes a premise where individuals spend a substantial amount of time. Therefore, it is pivotal that individuals thrive and flourish at the workplace.

Yoga is a mind-body-based contemplative practice that aims at the integration of mind, body, and spirit. Its objectives include to cultivate a state of equilibrium, harmony, and a sense of awareness.[8] The Sanskrit word Ayurveda means “science of longevity.” It is not confined to being merely a system of medicine to prevent and treat diseases; it is a way to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.[9] Similar to Yoga, it is a holistic system that perceives a (whole) person as a combination of body, mind, and soul.[10] The practices underlying the traditions of both Yoga and Ayurveda aim at the complete well-being of an individual encompassing physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions (e.g., Rioux 2014).[11]

The aim of this article is to understand well-being in the context of the traditions of Yoga and Ayurveda and how the underlying philosophy and practices in these two ancient traditions have implications at the workplace and in management scholarship.

Health, Well-Being and Flourishing[1]

The conclusion of World War II that left the world in suffering and distress initiated the need to systematically study better life and multifold well-being.[12] The initial studies of Jahoda[13] and Gurin et al.[14] that are seminal works on mental health have made way for subsequent research on mental health through the study of subjective well-being.[12] Furthermore, the study of hedonic[15][16] and eudaimonic[17][18] aspects of well-being has formed the pillars that define flourishing.[6] This section presents an overview of health, happiness, and well-being literature and its connection with flourishing.

Health and Well-Being

Considering the concept of health, Keyes[19] notes that throughout our history, health has been defined with respect to three paradigms. Namely,

  1. Pathogenic ie. health as absence of disability, disease and premature death.
  2. Salutogenic ie. health as presence of positive human capacities and functioning.
  3. Complete state that is derived from ancient word for health, hale, denoting whole and strong.

Historically, the pathogenic approach has been dominant as earlier curing illnesses took precedence. However, the focus of the healthcare system to improve health by merely curing-preventing illnesses has come short of addressing the notion of complete health.

If we look at well-being, two schools of thoughts exist :

  1. Subjective well-being (hedonic) that includes happiness, life satisfaction, and positive and negative affect.[15]
  2. Psychological well-being (eudaimonic) that consists of a sense of purpose or meaning, personal enhancement, and so on.[17]

Subjective well-being refers to an individual’s evaluations of one’s own life comprising of both affective and cognitive aspects.[20] An individual with high subjective well-being experiences more pleasant than unpleasant emotions, more pleasures than pains, is engaged in interesting activities, and is (generally) satisfied with one’s life. Although numerous facets underlie a valuable life and mental health, the subjective well-being view emphasizes the individual’s own evaluations of one’s life.

Some of the human qualities such as kindness, humility, and forgiveness have a universal positive appeal for the very reason that they represent morally virtuous behavior and strength of character.[21] This perspective directly links to the eudaimonic view of well-being that stresses on the principles of expression and achievement of highest aspirations and inner potentials of an individual. Research highlights the strong association of specific values (hope, zest, gratitude, love, curiosity) with happiness and life satisfaction for both youth and adults.[22][23]


The research done on health, happiness, and well-being has served as the foundation to conceptualize flourishing. Flourishing as a term, in contemporary psychology, appears in the work of Corey Keyes[6] where he defines the continuum of mental health, separate from the continuum of mental illness, as comprising of a state of complete well-being (flourishing), moderate mental health, and languishing (incomplete mental health). Emphasizing the point that mental health is more than the absence of mental illness, Keyes[6] defines complete mental health as a state where an individual is free of all mental illness and is flourishing. There are four conceptualizations of flourishing by

  1. Keyes[6]
  2. Huppert and So[24]
  3. Diener et al[25]
  4. Seligman[7]

They highlight that flourishing has been operationalized in different ways. However, there exists a similarity with respect to two aspects.

  • Firstly, flourishing is associated with high levels of subjective well-being.
  • Secondly, well-being represents a multidimensional construct that cannot be adequately measured using single-item assessment.[5]

The primacy of flourishing in the various domains of life is evident from the research that indicates that happy people when compared to those who are less happy tend to function competently in life; they are relatively more productive, seek more social engagement, and tend to earn higher incomes.[20][26]Also, people who experience higher happiness or subjective well-being than those low in subjective well-being exhibit a more self-enhancing and enabling attributional style, and this suggests the key role of positive emotions in engendering positive cognitions, which consequently promotes further positive emotions.[27]

There are examples in experimental social psychology that specify the benefits of positive emotional experiences such as the influence on people’s perception and how they interpret social behaviors and initiate social interactions.[28][29] Other upsides of experiencing positive emotions include people making positive evaluations (for both themselves and others) and lenient attributions, expressing more confidence, optimism, and being more accommodative in social relationships.[30][31][32]

Well-Being at Workplace[1]

Well-being at work is defined as an experience, which is influenced by factors, such as the internal culture and organizational ways of functioning, and by personal internal resources.[33] Three general sets of factors have been posited that influence well-being at the workplace.[34] These encompass

  1. Work setting (health, safety hazards)
  2. Personal characteristics (Type A or B behavior, locus of control)
  3. Occupational stress (factors pertaining to the job, role and relationships at work, career progression, structure and climate of organization).

Additionally, two interrelated sets of consequences of well-being in the workplace have been noted.[34] They comprise of

  1. Individual-level physical, psychological, and behavioral consequences.
  2. Organizational-level consequences, which are health insurance costs, productivity, and absenteeism.

Workplace well-being has been conceptualized as comprising of hedonic well-being, eudaimonic well-being, and social well-being. Additionally, workplace concepts display an extent of overlap with the three components of well-being:

  1. Subjective well-being ie. job satisfaction and positive attitudes, positive and negative affect.
  2. Eudaimonic well-being. For e.g. engagement, meaning, growth, calling.
  3. Social well-being For e.g. quality connections, satisfaction with coworkers, high-quality exchange relationships with leaders.[35]

Significance of Workplace Well-Being

Considering that people spend a substantial amount of time at work, it is essential to note that whether the work they do and the related conditions enable them to enhance their well-being and further towards the state of flourishing.

Relevance of workplace health and well-being can be seen from the fact that among the five domains comprising overall well-being, career well-being is regarded as the most important for most people.[36] It is also significant firstly because workplace represents a source of social and emotional involvement as a modern form of collective life,[37] thereby having a strong bearing on the relationships and associations people form. Secondly, work has become more than just a part of the life of an individual, that is to say, that even after leaving from the workplace, the work and its ancillaries still accompany the individual. Put alternatively, workplace well-being has trickle-down effects and connections with other domains of the life of people. And well-being has the potential to affect both workers and organizations in negative ways. Workers with poor well-being may be less productive, make hasty decisions, and be unprofessional towards work, which would be detrimental and diminish overall contributions to the organizations.[38]

Meaning and Orientations Towards Work

As discussed earlier, certain external conditions (e.g., work) go beyond the adaptation principle and represent specific changes that are worth striving for and can result in lasting happiness.[4] People relate to their work in one of the three ways. Namely,

  • A job ie. transactional, money-oriented.
  • A career ie. broad personal investment, promotion-oriented.
  • A calling ie. intrinsic fulfillment.[39]

Work as a calling is seen as an opportunity to contribute to the greater good or a higher purpose and is marked by frequent experiences of flow and without any resentment to quit. It is the pursuit of the right goals that mark the essential part of conditions that contribute towards flourishing. Right goals concerning the work one undertakes offer the avenue to create the states of flow and engagement. These two states have been described as nutriments to joy, absorption, meaningfulness, and well-being of a person.[40][41]

Through specific actions, such as strength-based work selection (via strength test[21]) and job-crafting by rethinking about the work from a broader perspective,[42] people can aim to experience greater happiness, satisfaction, and meaning with respect to their work. For instance, a person who cleans office space could see his or her work in the broader perspective of preventing medical issues arising out of unhygienic conditions.

There is evidence in the form of research to support that well-being and job performance correlate positively at the individual level and some strong evidence to claim a causal effect between the two under specific circumstances.

Yoga and Well-Being[1]

Considering the history of Yoga, its roots can be traced back as far as 5000 years in India.[43] Throughout its evolution over the ages, Yoga has emphasized on the important aspects such as holistic well-being (physiological, mental, emotional, and spiritual), regulating awareness and transcending towards the ultimate reality.[44] Yoga represents an original and ancient holistic way of life that includes physical, mental, moral, and spiritual domains of human existence.

Although there are different branches of Yoga (Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga), with a focus on particular competencies, at its core, the objective of Yoga is self-transformation.[45] Sage Patanjali gave an “eightlimbed” structure to the Yogic path and led Yoga to attain its classical form, known as Ashtanga Yoga.[46] Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (Treatise on Yoga) delineate the different groups of practices:

  1. यमः | yamaḥ - moral practices (ethics while interacting with others).
  2. नियमः | niyamaḥ - self-discipline (ethics oriented towards self).
  3. आसनम् | āsanam - physical postures and exercises.
  4. प्राणायामः | prāṇāyāmaḥ - breath regulation.
  5. प्रत्याहारः | pratyāhāraḥ - sensory withdrawal (minimizing sensory input).
  6. धारणा | dhāraṇā - concentration (effortful, focused attention).
  7. ध्यानम् | dhyānam - meditation (effortless, perpetual flow of attention).
  8. समाधिः | samādhiḥ - self-transcendence.[47]

Collectively, the eight limbs form an organic whole and may be conceptualized as a mechanism to regulate thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and to augment the levels of well-being.[48]

Health and Well-Being in Yoga

Yoga’s view of health and well-being is a dynamic continuum of human nature evolving towards divinity and not just an end “state” to be attained and sustained. Here, the lowest point is represented by death and the highest point by self-transcendence (samadhi). What lie in between the two ends are the states of normal health and disease.[49]

The classical definition of Yoga,

योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः ॥ १.२ ॥[50] yogaścittavr̥ttinirodhaḥ ॥ 1.2 ॥

defines Yoga as a discipline to quiet the fluctuations of the mind to achieve the union of mind, body, and spirit.[51] Panch kleshas (fivefold psychological afflictions) constitute the primary causes of disturbing mental equilibrium. They are

  • अविद्या | avidyā - ignorance of the ultimate reality.
  • अस्मिता | asmitā - egoism, a false sense of identification.
  • रागः - द्वेषः | rāgaḥ dveṣaḥ - attachment and aversion.
  • अभिनिवेशः | abhiniveśaḥ - clinging on to life for fear of the unknown.

अविद्यास्मितारागद्वेषाभिनिवेशाः क्लेशाः ।। २.३ ।।[52]avidyāsmitārāgadveṣābhiniveśāḥ kleśāḥ ।। 2.3 ।।

Vyadhi, a state of non-health, is the opposite of samadhi.[53] Yoga Vasishtha describes psychosomatic (adhija vyadhi) as well as non-psychosomatic ailments (anadhija vyadhi). Samanya adhija vyadhi is described as those arising from day-to-day causes, while sara adhija vyadhi is the essential disease as a result of birth-rebirth cycle (congenital disease). Kleshas and antarayas (nine obstacles to integrative oneness), therefore, are the reasons underlying chitta vikshepa (disturbances in mind).[49][54]

The Yogic view of health and disease highlights that the root cause of physical ailments and disorders arises out from the mind. As per Yoga, adhi (the disturbed mind) is the cause, while vyadhi (the physical disease) represents the manifested effect. In other words, a disorder evolves from psychic manifestation to psychosomatic to somatic and eventually to the organic or the physical form affecting the panchakoshas on the way.[49][54]

Health and Well-Being in Ayurveda[1]

Originating in India, Ayurveda is one of the oldest systems of traditional medicine in the world and has been practiced in the Indian subcontinent since 5000 BC.[55] The term Ayurveda has its roots in the Sanskrit language and is comprised of two words Ayu (life) and Veda (knowledge) and is concerned with health and well-being.[56][57] Further, Ayurveda lays down the path of living that is directed by the three pursuits:

  1. Praneshana ie. desire to lead a long healthy life
  2. Dhaneshana ie. desire to savor financial and material security
  3. Paralokeshana ie. desire to attain happiness in the life hereafter.[58]

It focuses on the salutary and unsalutary facets of life to promote the ways that would be beneficial to lead a happy and nurturing life.

Ayurveda defines a healthy individual as

“One who is established in Self, who has balanced doshas, balanced agni, properly form dhatus, proper elimination of malas, well-functioning bodily processes and whose mind, soul, and senses are full of bliss, is called a healthy person”[59]

समदोषः समाग्निश्च समधातुमलक्रियाः । प्रसन्नात्मेन्द्रियमनः स्वस्थ इत्यभिधीयते ॥[60] (Sushruta Samhita, 15.38)

samadoṣaḥ samāgniśca samadhātumalakriyāḥ । prasannātmendriyamanaḥ svastha ityabhidhīyate ॥

Health as per Ayurveda is Svastha, a Sanskrit term that means "stability in the true self", a state of complete, balanced, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.[61][62] This is in line with United Nations’ WHO’s definition of health[63] as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.[64]

As mentioned before, the salutogenic paradigm perceives health as the presence of positive human capabilities and optimal functioning. Aligned to this view, Ayurveda posits a positive view of health encompassing thoughts, feelings, and an overall state of being. It views health as a form of internal regulatory system to attain and maintain ideal health via adequate and orderly balance of the coherent collection of elements underlying the constitution of an individual. On the contrary, an illness signifies aberration in the regulatory system leading to a less than ideal state. Ayurveda also prescribes the way to health, i.e., swasthavrtta, a personalized healthy conduct appropriate to an individual that comprises of medicinal herbs, diet and nutrition, lifestyle, self-awareness, and harmony and accordance with other people and the nature. Further, Ayurveda shares its aim with salutogenesis to create positive health, where the focus is on developing positive capabilities to improve state of health and in which the existence of an illness doesn’t eliminate experiencing a state of well-being.[65]

With its holistic orientation, early diagnosis, and personalized treatment, Ayurveda aims not only to cure diseases but also to prevent them, maintain health, and promote longevity.[66][67] Accordingly, Ayurveda seems to share substantial similarities with the innovative approach of predictive, preventive, and personalized medicine (PPPM). [68]

Further, Ayurveda focuses on a wide spectrum of aspects, namely, biological, ecological, medical, psychological, sociocultural, spiritual, and metaphysical that constitute the determinants of health, and emphasizes the concept of relationship as the bedrock that interconnects the determinants. The mutual existence and integration of these determinants with all their complexity make way for the emergence of what is known as health. As a result, this comprehensive system aims at an individual’s whole bio-psycho-spiritual equilibrium.[65]

Well-Being from Yogic and Ayurvedic Perspectives[1]

A discussion on gunas, tridoshas and their subtle counterparts prana, tejas, and ojas, and jiva highlight the fundamental concepts underlying well-being from Yogic and Ayurvedic perspectives. These fundamental concepts common to both Yoga and Ayurveda that are essential to understand well-being as per the two traditions are discussed in the article: Yoga and Ayurveda.

It is interesting to note that Ashtanga Yoga (eight limbed) offers the path to address the multifacets of well-being.

  • Yama and Niyama (ethics pertaining to the internal and external world) are not premised on moral judgments; instead, they seek to gain control and quiet the disturbances and fluctuation of the overly active mind, regulate emotions, and promote socially benevolent behaviors.[69]
  • Asanas (postures) facilitate physical control of the body to prepare for controlling the mind so that an individual can meditate for extended duration of time.[8] Evidence supports the link between posture, emotion, and mental health.[70][71]
  • Pranayama allows for the free flow of prana, i.e., the life sustaining breath to downregulate arousal and enhance awareness of the bodymind interaction.[72]
  • The next three limbs comprising of Pratyahara, Dharana, and Dhyana involve control of sensory input, sustained concentration, and meditation to minimize distractions and mind wandering.[73] This culminates into a state of complete integration (samadhi), i.e., holistic well-being.

Yoga renders

  1. Physiological benefits in terms of better functioning of musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, autonomic nervous, and endocrine systems.
  2. Psychological effects in the form of augmented coping, self-efficacy, and upbeat mood.
  3. Spiritual benefits with respect to acceptance and mindful awareness.[74]

Similarly, a close examination of the above description draws attention to Ayurveda’s consideration of multiple aspects of well-being,[75] in other words, complete well-being.

  • For physical well-being, it aims at maintaining a balance of the three doshas, dhatus (tissues), agni (life essential internal fire), and the wastes. All these are elements vital for the physical well-being of an individual.
  • Concerning mental well-being, the objective of Ayurveda is to have pleasant sensory organs (jnanendriya and karmendriya), calm and steady mind, prevalence of sattva guna, and control over the Arishadvarga:[76] kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (attachment), mada (pride), and matsarya (jealousy).
  • Ayurveda also addresses social and spiritual well-being by emphasizing on relationships, i.e., the deep connections that exist between microcosm and macrocosm,[65] and the prime significance of the transcendent.

Implications of Yogic and Ayurvedic Practices on Workplace Well-being[1]

This section presents how the philosophy, the fundamental concepts and the underlying practices of Yoga and Ayurveda have crucial implications pertaining to the workplace well-being and the domain of management.

Business for Well-Being

Milton Friedman had famously quoted

“There is one and only one social responsibility of business- to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game”[77]

Alternatively, the business of business is business. However, this idea turns a blind eye towards the fact that a business or any organization exists as an integral part of the society and the ecosystem at large, where it utilizes various resources (natural, human, economic, etc.) for its operations. As a consequence, a business has certain responsibilities towards the stakeholders and is expected to work for the betterment of all.

In Vedanta, the notion of dharma holds a central place and is also intrinsic to the philosophy of Yoga and Ayurveda. It is worthwhile to note the notions of

  • sarvalokamhitam, i.e. well-being of all beings[78]
  • sarve bhavantu sukhinah, i.e., welfare and happiness of all
  • shubhlabh, i.e., profit earned through ethical means[79]

It would be fitting to say that dharma-oriented view of business posits that the business of business is not business, rather well-being for all. The practices underlying Yoga, namely, yama and niyama, lay down the ethical way of functioning that is applicable both at individual and entity levels. Similarly, the hitayu (positive life) perspective of life as per Ayurveda also entails the idea of establishing harmony and happiness individually and collectively in a society.[80]

Sacredness at Workplace

The process of modernization in organizations and society at large has restricted the sense of the sacred to the private lives of individuals. Moreover, organizations are more than mere instruments to produce goods and services and represent the new form of collective life which coexists with family and social life that has spiritual rooting. Thus, to pursue a meaningful life, it is imperative to include the essence of spirituality and sacredness in the organizations.[37] It is crucial to observe that workplace serves two all-important purposes:

  1. It provides a platform for people to come together, coexist, and thrive.
  2. It offers a channel, i.e., job or work, to find meaning in one’s actions.

The collective (value orientation) and transcendental perspectives of well-being as described by Kiran Kumar[81][82] represent the two aspects of spirituality. These are constructive to discuss the role of Yogic and Ayurvedic practices in relation to well-being at the workplace.

  • The collective perspective is socially oriented and is founded on the concept dharma. The term dharma fundamentally means to uphold, to sustain, and to hold together.[83] As mentioned earlier, the concept dharma refers to a code of conduct based on righteousness that governs the social affairs and moral life and that preserves the stability of society.[84] Both Yoga and Ayurvedic practices aim to develop the sattva guna and consequently the effects of the sattva guna, i.e., sattvik bhava dharma, jnana, vairagya, and aishvarya. In line with the collective perspective of well-being, the sattvic bhava will be instrumental in fostering high-quality connections at workplace that are life-giving.[85] These in turn have real-time implications both at individual and organization levels for the conduct of actions at workplace, ethical outlook, organization citizenship behavior, collaboration and cooperation, consideration of all, and so on.
  • The transcendental view is subjective, intrinsic, and holistic in nature furnishing an all-encompassing universal vision for the well-being of all.[81][83] The transcendental view involves an analysis of the nature and conditions underlying well-being. It involves understanding the limitations of specific goals artha (wealth) and kama (desires), experience of emotions, the role of temperament and personality in well-being, and the ideal state of well-being. Ananda and sthitaprajnatva denote the defining characteristics of transcendent view of wellbeing.[81][82] In both Yoga and Ayurveda, the gunas and doshas determine the psycho-spiritual and psychophysiological aspects of an individual’s personality. Additionally, they both emphasize enhancing the vital essences (prana, tejas, ojas) and purifying the sheaths (koshas) to gain harmony and the state of ananda. A clear understanding of the psychophysiological and psycho-spiritual aspects of one’s personality can help one gain understanding of the job-role fit. Also, the practices to enhance the vital essences engender spiritual awakening and the courage to follow the path; one may obtain novel insights to derive meaning from one’s actions when seen from the broader perspective. The implications at the workplace can be seen in the context of striving for roles that synch with one’s personality, reperceiving and recrafting the job,[42] and experiencing flow and engagement in one’s job and the consequent outcomes such as creativity, initiative taking, and overall performance.

Interaction with the Work Environment

Three general sets of factors ie. work setting, personal characteristics, and job factors have a bearing on the well-being of individuals at the workplace.[34] This implies the existence of a complex and dynamic environment where individuals interact and strive to operate optimally.

As per Ayurveda, overall health and the general balance of an individual are outcomes of the interaction between the organism and the environment. This underlines the fact that health is not merely a biological phenomenon; it is also a cultural process that involves knowledge and the interaction with the environment to improve it.[86] Similarly, mind-body practices such as Yoga encourage the cultivation of awareness of the body-mind-environment phenomenon in a nonjudgmental and nonreactive state[87] and is considered essential for self-regulation and well-being.[88]

Both Yoga and Ayurveda emphasize on following a healthy lifestyle encompassing all spheres of life, i.e., physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual facets. They place great importance on

  • Achar ie. healthy activities such as exercises and Yoga practices.
  • Vichar ie. right thoughts, attitudes, and behavior to create and maintain good relationships through yama and niyamas.
  • Ahar ie. healthy, nourishing, and balanced sattvic diet.
  • Vihar ie. right recreational activities such as regulating action-speech-thoughts to maintain quietude of mind and group activities to experience cohesion and collectiveness where one loses one’s sense of individuality.[54][89]

These lifestyle practices can prove to be instrumental in reassessing one’s relationship with respect to one’s body-mind and the environment, i.e., the workplace. And, further, this can result in desirable outcomes at the workplace at the individual, group, and organization level.


The ancient traditions of Yoga and Ayurveda emphasize the holistic well-being of an individual and encompass physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions. Both of these traditions posit a positive of health marked by high levels of well-being and lay down the path towards flourishing. In spiritual terms, they prescribe the practices to prepare an individual to tread the pathway to self-realization. Being holistic in orientation, the philosophy and the practices underlying Yoga and Ayurveda can offer a fresh perspective on well-being and have relevance at the workplace.

Better understanding of oneself via gunas and doshas to synch one’s activities effectively, enhancing the sattva gunas and the resulting bhavas, righteous behavior founded on dharma to benefit all, augmenting the vital essences (prana, tejas, and ojas) to unearth new insights aligned to spiritual dimension, and positive modification to one’s lifestyle (thoughts, actions, behavior, food) have crucial implications at the workplace. They can impact the way of operating, ethical orientation, depth of cooperation and collaboration, resolution of conflicts, consideration of best interests of all, aligning with the job, and the resulting well-being at the workplace.

To conclude, the perspective of well-being as per the traditions of Yoga and Ayurveda is relevant pertaining to the workplace and has future potential to be explored further.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 C. Dagar & A. Pandey (2020), Well-Being at Workplace: A Perspective from Traditions of Yoga and Ayurveda, S. Dhiman (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Workplace Well-Being.
  2. Veenhoven R (2015), Happiness: history of the concept, Wright J (ed), International encyclopedia of social and behavioral sciences, 2nd edn, vol 10. Elsevier, Oxford, pp 521–525.
  3. Ricard M (2013), A buddhist view of happiness, David SA, Boniwell I, Ayers AC (eds), Oxford handbook of happiness, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, pp 344–356.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Haidt J (2006), The happiness hypothesis: finding modern truth in ancient wisdom, New York: Basic Books.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hone LC, Jarden A, Schofield GM, Duncan S (2014) , Measuring flourishing: the impact of operational definitions on the prevalence of high levels of wellbeing, Int J Wellbeing 4(1):62–90.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Keyes CL (2002), The mental health continuum: from languishing to flourishing in life, J Health Soc Behav 43:207–222.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Seligman ME (2011), Flourish: a visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being, (1st free press hardcover ed). New York: Free Press.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Feuerstein G (2011), The encyclopedia of yoga and tantra, Boston, Shambhala.
  9. Wujastyk D (2003), The roots of Āyurveda: selections from Sanskrit medical writings, London: Penguin Books.
  10. Atreya (2002), Perfect balance: Ayurvedic nutrition for mind, body, and soul, New York: Penguin Penguin Putnam Inc.
  11. Rioux J (2014), Whole-systems Ayurveda and yoga therapy for obesity: complete outcomes of a pilot study, J Altern Complement Med 20(5):A145–A146.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Keyes CL (2006), Mental health in adolescence: is America’s youth flourishing? Am J Orthopsychiat 76(3):395–402.
  13. Jahoda M (1958), Current concepts of positive mental health, New York: Basic Books.
  14. Gurin G, Veroff J, Feld S (1960), Americans view their mental health, New York: Basic Books.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Diener E (1984), Subjective well-being, Psychol Bull 95(3):542.
  16. Diener E, Suh EM, Lucas RE, Smith HL (1999), Subjective well-being: three decades of progress, Psychol Bull 125(2):276.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Ryff CD (1989), Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being, J Pers Soc Psychol 57(6):1069.
  18. Keyes CL, Shmotkin D, Ryff CD (2002), Optimizing well-being: the empirical encounter of two traditions, J Pers Soc Psychol 82(6):1007.
  19. Keyes CL (2007), Promoting and protecting mental health as flourishing: a complementary strategy for improving national mental health, Am Psychol 62(2):95.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Diener E (2000) Subjective well-being: the science of happiness and a proposal for a national index, Am Psychol 55(1):34.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Peterson C, Seligman ME (2004), Character strengths and virtues: a handbook and classification, vol 1. Oxford: University Press.
  22. Park N, Peterson C, Seligman ME (2004), Strengths of character and well-being, J Soc Clin Psychol 23(5):603–619.
  23. Park N, Peterson C (2006), Moral competence and character strengths among adolescents: the development and validation of the values in action inventory of strengths for youth, J Adolescence 29(6):891–909.
  24. Huppert FA, So TC (2013), Flourishing across Europe: application of a new conceptual framework for defining well-being, Soc Indic Res 110(3):837–861.
  25. Diener E, Wirtz D, Tov W, Kim-Prieto C, Choi DW, Oishi S, Biswas-Diener R (2010), New wellbeing measures: short scales to assess flourishing and positive and negative feelings, Soc Indic Res 97(2):143–156.
  26. Judge TA, Thoresen CJ, Bono JE, Patton GK (2001), The job satisfaction–job performance relationship: a qualitative and quantitative review, Psychol Bull 127(3):376.
  27. Ryan RM, Deci EL (2001), On happiness and human potentials: a review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being, Annu Rev Psychol 52(1):141–166.
  28. Forgas JP (ed) (2001), The handbook of affect and social cognition, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc, Mahwah.
  29. Isen AM (1987), Positive affect, cognitive processes and social behaviour, Berkowitz L (ed) Advances in experimental social psychology, vol 20. Academic, New York, pp 203–253.
  30. Forgas JP (2002), Feeling and doing: affective influences on interpersonal behavior, Psychol Inq 13(1):1–28.
  31. Forgas JP (ed) (2006), Affect in social thinking and behaviour, New York: Psychology Press.
  32. Sedikides C (1995), Central and peripheral self-conceptions are differentially influenced by mood: tests of the differential sensitivity hypothesis, J Pers Soc Psychol 69:759–777.
  33. Biggio G, Cortese C (2013), Well-being in the workplace through interaction between individual characteristics and organizational context, Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being 8(1):19823.
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Danna K, Griffin RW (1999), Health and well-being in the workplace: a review and synthesis of the literature, J Manag 25(3):357–384.
  35. Fisher CD (2014), Conceptualizing and measuring wellbeing at work, Chen PY, Cooper CL (eds), Wellbeing: a complete reference guide, work and wellbeing, vol III. Wiley, Chichester, pp 9–33.
  36. Rath T, Harter J (2010), Wellbeing: the five essential elements, New York: Simon and Schuster.
  37. 37.0 37.1 Gupta RK (1996), Is there a place for the sacred in organizations and their development, J Hum Value 2(2):149–158.
  38. Price RH, Hooijberg R (1992), Organizational exit pressures and role stress: impact on mental health, J Organ Behav 13(7):641–651.
  39. Bellah RN, Madsen R, Sullivan WM, Swidler A, Tipton SM (1985), Habits of the heart: individualism and commitment in American life, University of California Press, Berkeley, Press.
  40. Csikszentmihalyi M(1990), Flow: the psychology of optimal experience, New York: Harper & Row.
  41. Nakamura J, Csikszentmihalyi M (2003), The construction of meaning through vital engagement, Keyes CL, Haidt J (eds), Flourishing: positive psychology and the life well-lived, Washington, DC : American Psychological Association, pp 83–104.
  42. 42.0 42.1 Wrzesniewski A, Dutton JE (2001), Crafting a job: revisioning employees as active crafters of their work, Acad Manag Rev 26(2):179–201.
  43. De Michelis E (2005), A history of modern yoga: Patanjali and western esotericism, UK: A&C Black.
  44. Ivtzan I, Papantoniou A (2014), Yoga meets positive psychology: examining the integration of hedonic (gratitude) and eudaimonic (meaning) wellbeing in relation to the extent of yoga practice, J Bodyw Mov Ther 18(2):183–189.
  45. Feuerstein G (2013), The psychology of yoga, Boston: Shambhala.
  46. Feuerstein G (2011), The encyclopedia of yoga and tantra, Boston: Shambhala.
  47. Stone M (2009), Yoga for a world out of balance, Boston: Shambhala.
  48. Cope S (1999), Yoga and the quest for the true self, New York: Bantam.
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 Bhavanani AB (2011), Understanding the science of yoga, Int Yoga Sci J SENSE 1:334–344.
  50. Yogasutra, Pada 1.
  51. Feuerstein G (1998), The yoga tradition: its history, literature, Philosophy and practice, Hohm Press, Prescott.
  52. Yogasutra, Pada 2.
  53. Pandit SA, Satish L (2014), When does yoga work? Long term and short term effects of yoga intervention among pre-adolescent children, Psychol Stud 59(2):153–165.
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 Bhavanani AB (2013), Yoga Chikitsa: application of yoga as a therapy, Pondicherry: Dhivyananda Creations.
  55. Dasgupta S (1992), A history of Indian philosophy, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited.
  56. Manohar PR (2013), Subjective well-being and health: a potential field for scientific enquiry into the foundational concepts of Ayurveda. Anc Sci Life 33(2):79–80
  57. Payyappallimana U, Venkatasubramanian P (2016), Exploring ayurvedic knowledge on food and health for providing innovative solutions to contemporary healthcare. Front Public Health 4:57
  58. Salema A, Valiathan MS, Malamound C, Raghunathan K, Wujastyk D, Walker T et al (eds) (2002), Ayurveda at the crossroads of care and cure. Indo-European seminar on Ayurveda, Arrabida, November 2001. Centro de História de Além-Mar, Portugal.
  59. Lad V (2002), Textbook of Ayurveda, New Mexico: Ayurvedic Press.
  60. Sushruta Samhita, Sutra Sthana, Adhyayas 1-15.
  61. Sharma H, Chandola HM, Singh G, Basisht G (2007a), Utilization of Ayurveda in health care: an approach for prevention, health promotion, and treatment of disease, Part 1 – Ayurveda, the science of life. J Altern Complement Med 13(9):1011–1020
  62. Sharma H, Chandola HM, Singh G, Basisht G (2007b) Utilization of Ayurveda in health care: an approach for prevention, health promotion, and treatment of disease. Part 2 – Ayurveda in primary health care. The J Altern Complement Med 13(10):1135–1150.
  63. WHO W (1948), WHO definition of health, In Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization.
  64. World Health Organization (1946), Constitution of the World Health Organization, Am J Public Health Nations Health 36:1315–1323
  65. 65.0 65.1 65.2 Morandi A, Tosto C, Di Sarsina PR, Dalla Libera D (2011), Salutogenesis and Ayurveda: indications for public health management. EPMA J 2(4):459–465
  66. Frawley D, Ranade S (2001), Ayurveda, nature’s medicine, Twin Lakes: Lotus Press.
  67. Patwardhan B (2014), Bridging Ayurveda with evidence-based scientific approaches in medicine. EPMA J 5(1):19
  68. di Sarsina PR, Alivia M, Guadagni P (2012), Traditional, complementary and alternative medical systems and their contribution to personalisation, prediction and prevention in medicine – person-centred medicine. EPMA J 3(1):15
  69. Cope S (2006), The wisdom of yoga, New York: Bantam.
  70. Michalak J, Troje N, Heidenreich T (2011), The effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on depressive gait patterns, J Cogn Behav Psychother 11(1):13–27.
  71. Michalak J, Mischnat J, Teismann T (2014), Sitting posture makes a difference – embodiment effects on depressive memory bias, Clin Psychol Psychother 21(6):519–524.
  72. Sovik R (1999), The science of breathing–the yogic view, Prog Brain Res 122:491–505.
  73. Gard T, Noggle JJ, Park CL, Vago DR, Wilson A (2014), Potential self-regulatory mechanisms of yoga for psychological health, Front Hum Neurosci 8:770.
  74. Evans S, Tsao JC, Sternlieb B, Zeltzer LK (2009), Using the biopsychosocial model to understand the health benefits of yoga, J Complement Integr Med 6(1).
  75. Guruprasad K (2017), Concept of health in Ayurveda, World J Pharm Res 7(2):1061–1074.
  76. Pandey DN, Prakash NP (2018), Universal significance of the principle of Samanya and Vishesha beyond Ayurveda, J Ayurveda Integr Med 9(4):308–311.
  77. Friedman M, Friedman R (1962), Freedom and capitalism, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  78. Muniapan B, Raj SJ (2014), Corporate social responsibility communication from the Vedantic, Dharmic and karmic perspectives, Tench R, SunW, Jones B (eds) Communicating corporate social responsibility: perspectives and practice, vol 6. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp 337–354.
  79. Sharma S (2002), Corporate rishi leadership model: an Indian model for corporate development & ethical leadership, Pareek U, Osman-Gani AM, Ramanarayan S, Rao TV (eds) Human resource development in Asia: trends & challenges. Oxford & IBH, New Delhi, pp 291–296
  80. KapadiaM (2018), National policy on health creating good citizenship yn touth- insights from Vedas and Mahabharata, Jakhoria SK, Kulshrestha D (eds) Economic revival in India- issues and challenges. Manglam Publications, Delhi, pp 41–52.
  81. 81.0 81.1 81.2 Kiran Kumar SK (2003), An Indian conception of well-being, Henry J (ed) Proceedings of European positive psychology conference. British Psychological Society, Leicester, 2002. (Revised version of the paper presented in the conference)
  82. 82.0 82.1 Kiran Kumar SK (2004), Perspectives on well-being in the Indian tradition, J Indian Psychol 22(2):63
  83. 83.0 83.1 Kiran Kumar SK (2006), Happiness and well-being in Indian tradition, Psychol Stud 51:105–112
  84. Kuppuswamy B (1977), Dharma and society – a study in social values, Delhi: The Macmillan Co Operative of India Ltd.
  85. Dutton JE, Heaphy ED (2003), The power of high-quality connections, Cameron KS, Dutton JE, Quinn RE (eds) Positive organizational scholarship: foundations of a new discipline, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, pp 263–278
  86. Kovacs J (1989), Concepts of health and disease, J Med Philos 14(3):261–267
  87. Mehling WE, Wrubel J, Daubenmier JJ, Price CJ, Kerr CE, Silow T, Gopisetty V, Stewart AL (2011) Body awareness: a phenomenological inquiry into the common ground of mind-body therapies. Philos Ethics Humanit Med 6(1):6
  88. Farb N, Daubenmier J, Price CJ, Gard T, Kerr C, Dunn BD, Klein AC, Paulus MP, Mehling WE (2015) Interoception, contemplative practice, and health. Front Psychol 6:763
  89. Bhavanani AB (2017), Role of yoga in prevention and management of lifestyle disorders, Yoga Mimamsa 49(2):42