Mindful Business: The Buddhist Concept of Satya in Business

There is a trend that I’ve observed in many yoga, health + fitness pros. The “over-experting” phenomena: over-promising, far beyond what we can legitimately or authentically manage or provide to clients. Otherwise known as: Attempting to teach or treat, far beyond our years. The absolute beauty of Yoga, Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese Medicine, Homeopathic Medicine, Botanical Medicine, and Meditation is that these healing arts and sciences are thousands of years old. They take a lifetime of practice to understand, and years to grasp on a deep enough level to teach. 

Here’s what I’m seeing on the websites of so many yoga instructors in 2017:

“I’m a compassionate yoga and meditation instructor, specializing in teaching yin yoga, vinyasa flow, power flow, restorative, and pre-natal yoga. Contact me for a private yoga session to heal your body, mind, and spirit” 

Likewise with alternative health doctors and practitioners. These tag lines are everywhere:

“I’m a naturopath, specializing in treating digestive ailments, chronic pain, sports medicine injuries, reproductive health concerns, and anxiety-related issues”

When I first started working as a homeopath, I used to list the 40 different ailments that homeopathy could treat: anxiety, depression, grief, reproductive health issues, lower back pain, neurological issues, the list goes on — because it’s true! Of course, homeopathy can treat all of these conditions. But, was I an expert in all of them? No way. Impossible. Was it naive to think that I could treat all of these conditions? Of course. 

I often hear health + fitness pros say things like: "It’s scary to choose one niche” because “I just love so many things!!” or, “I don’t want to miss out on those other clients!!”.

Its a mentality of scarcity. It’s moving from a place of fear or anticipated “lack”, rather than from a place of trust, faith, and abundance. 

I talked a lot about shifting this mindset in my blog last week, on why I reduced my sliding scale payment offerings: http://bit.ly/2sliding-scales-generosity

We need to remember, as yoga instructors and whole health practitioners, we are simply vessels of information and funnels for wisdom to be imparted to others. People are paying us for our expertise, and it is upon us, to be truthful about the depth with which we can instruct or guide others. 

It’s okay, if we’re starting from the beginning. To live in-line with this wisdom, means being completely transparent about the knowledge that we have the honest capacity to teach. I know, we learn *a lot* of information. It takes both mindful attention and confidence to actually hold back from just regurgitating everything we know.

When prospective clients or students are searching for services, they are doing so with a purpose or an intention.  They’re in pain. they need help, something is keeping them up at night.  They’re looking for an EXPERT to solve a pressing problem that they have.

If you’re flying around, from training to training, trying madly to add to your list of skills, I encourage you to stop. To slow down. To sit in silence and ask yourself what your purpose is. Ask yourself what skills and expertise you have to offer to the world. Ask yourself what you’d like to learn more about.  Instead of adding another line to your resume, can you find a training or research that allows you to delve even more deeply into one chosen skill set?

How does one choose a niche market? How to narrow down your ideal clients? How to find your “people”? 

This conversation could take two different paths: 

There’s the simple, and profound task of learning how to communicate about your gifts, your offerings, and your business, in a way that clients can connect to, and understand.

And then, there’s the concept of finding your dharma, your calling, your purpose in this world.

The Practical: How to Communicate Your Skills to Your Ideal Niche Clients:

There is a sweet art to communicating about ourselves, in a way that is both welcoming & confirming to clients and students:

Clients want to know that you are a specific expert:

    Clients are humans who are dealing with a challenge, pain or trauma, that they need help with. If you claim to specialize in 5 different areas, you are watering down your expertise. In moments of pain, clients are not looking for a "jack of all trades, they're looking for an "expert" problem solver for their specific problem. 

Clients + students need to be sure that they can trust you:

    None of us can be TRUE in-depth “knowers” of every style of yoga, or every aspect of holistic health. We can at most, scratch the surface. We are being much more responsible with our skills and services when we go deep in one field. This is where we become real experts. Don’t be afraid to let some areas of focus go, in exchange for more expansive knowledge in one particular field. 

Clients want you to speak directly to their deepest pain:

    No matter how many therapies, meditation techniques or yoga styles you've been trained in, clients are looking for ONE specific skill set. They are looking for someone to speak directly to their pain, their problem, their ailment. If you can word your services, using simple language, that your clients would use, you’ll have a easier time connecting. Ie: Clients are more likely to be drawn to “Five Yoga Postures to Strengthen Your Glutes and Decrease Lower Back Pain” than to say: “Yoga for the Whole Family to Experience Health + Wellness” 

Last year, after experiencing a severe foot injury, I started researching specific healing experts. I was ready, and I had a strong desire to find the “right” people to accompany me on my healing journey. 

Here’s what my initial search found: 

Practitioner One:
“I’m a meditation + yoga teacher, specializing in healing body, mind, and spirit, in men, women + children. I practice modern meditation with yin yoga, vinyasa flow, and restorative yoga.”

Practitioner Two:
“I’m a mindful yoga therapist, trained in injury and trauma recovery, specializing in treating foot, ankle, knee, and hip injuries.” 

Practitioner Three:
“I’m a naturopath, specializing in treating digestive problems, reproductive health issues, sports injuries, and anxiety.” 

Which option seems more attractive? Which option jumps out, at you, with clarity? 

Practitioner Two. She described her services with truth, clarity + confidence. She’s a specialist. She’s a specific expert, in ONE field. I immediately read her website, and called her. 

If you’re questioning HOW to find your niche market of clients, take your time. This is the most important element of your business. Being able to connect with your ideal students or clients will shape your entrepreneurial future. 

On the Concept of Dharma and Purpose: 

The more deeply you’re willing to explore yourself, your calling, and your true purpose in this world, the more equipped you are, to serve your students and clients in an emotional, spiritual, and straight-up practical sense. 

Satya, otherwise known as “truthfulness” in yoga philosophy encourages us to think, speak, and act with integrity. 

Satya, is seeing and communicating things as they actually are, not as we wish them to be.

Satya is never a static concept. Your truth changes. Truth and purpose will grow and expand, in relation to life experiences and education.

What you’re authentically able to offer clients in the first year of your practice will be very different than what you can genuinely provide in 5 or 10 years, if you work consistently at focusing your skills.  

Practicing Satya requires staying open to truth in the present moment, as it reveals itself.

Be cautious of jumping ahead of yourself. What can you offer, right now, in this moment, that authentically matches your current capacity and knowledge, while still honouring your life purpose?

As explained by Irene Petryszak the former Chairman of the Himalayan Institute, Yoga Sutra (2.36) states that when we perfect Satya, we gain the Siddhi (power) of manifesting our speech—what we say comes true.

This is it. When we work from a place that honours our truth, we become truly powerful in our selves.

More on Dharma in a blog to follow :-)  

If you can offer your gifts to the world, authentically, clearly + confidently, you’ll have clients for life — and will be stepping deeply into your own Satya. 


join me for a free webinar on connecting with your niche clients. 

Thursday, June 8th, 2017. 2pm. EST.


Check out my free webinar on Thursday, June 8th, 2017 on finding your ideal niche clients with ethical and truth-filled intentions. 

Much Love, Carla. xo