Sahoja Co-founder, Rajesh Rai, Offers Insight to Yoga Journal on Compassionate Leadership
ATLANTA — When the Yoga Journal put together its insightful article on “What it Means to be a Compassionate Leader,” it profiled five distinct practitioners to examine their perspectives on this quality.
Author Kelle Walsh questioned a collaborator, a teacher (and the student), a caregiver, a philosopher and a mediator for their thoughts and experiences.
“We asked CEOs, entrepreneurs, and leadership experts about how the lessons and benefits found in yoga and meditation can provide a useful guide for inspiring others, and for doing business and organizing institutions better,” explained Walsh. “Even if you aren’t a workplace manager, this shared wisdom can help you set boundaries to protect your health, steer your household through trying times, and have hard conversations about social justice with family and friends.”
For the philosopher she turned to Rajesh Rai — as she described him — human-rights barrister (lawyer) and co-founder of multi-faceted social-media platform Sahoja.
As Rai explained to Walsh, the founding principles behind Sahoja come straight from the yama and niyama, the guiding precepts of yoga philosophy.
Rai says he was particularly inspired by verse II.31 of the Yoga Sutra. This sutra says the yama, or the five restraints that inform personal behavior, are not affected by facts of class, time, place, or circumstance.
“The yama are universally applicable,” Rai added.
That means, he says, that they can be applied to all areas of a business. For example, when choosing vendors for Sahoja’s marketplace and the nonprofit organizations it supports, Rai inquires about how employees are treated and whether there is a non-discrimination policy in place, something he feels is a basic principle of the yama ahimsa (nonviolence).
A longtime student of yoga, Rai is encouraged by growing interest in “a meaningful economy,” one that works for all. Improving society overall through common positive goals are key factors for Sahoja — a new social media community dedicated to connecting good people to share good ideas, buy from companies dedicated to doing good and helping good causes. And providing complete privacy and transparency in all interactions.
Sahoja at its core is a social media platform but goes beyond simply providing a forum for conversation. The platform’s various Web pages offer ethical products, healthy advice and the ability to directly benefit worthy causes.
In addition, community members earn points for engaging in good deeds and for purchases made in an online marketplace of goods and services that are ethically sourced and delivered. Select nonprofits receive monetary donations based on how members choose to allocate those points.
The yama of satya (truthfulness) applies to the financial transparency of these same vendors and organizations, Rai says.
Aparigraha (non-possessiveness), he explains, is practiced by making sure all involved in the platform benefit — from the founders and members to the vendors and nonprofits. The platform’s name embodies this spirit — Sahoja, which is a Sanskrit word his team interprets as “stronger together.
And the entire enterprise is built on the foundation of asteya (non-stealing), which Rai likens to having positive impact.
“We need to preserve these ancient ideas and also allow them to adapt to the times we’re in,” he says.
Sahoja means stronger together. When we engage together online for a purpose, we can change the world. Join us!