“You don't see something until you have the right metaphor to let you perceive it.”
Robert Shaw

Chaos: Making a New Science

Yoga of Groups


Yoga is a solitary practice, it focuses inwards … my body, my breath, my attention. Maybe that is one of the reasons it appealed to me. When I researched Yoga, I also considered martial arts where there seems to me to be more potential for interaction with at least one other human being. But I settled on Yoga.

The deeper I ventured into Yoga practice the more I experienced meditative qualities in action. I became convinced that such qualities are key to good outcomes. Yet in business meetings I felt these qualities were, for the most part, absent. I wondered what could be done to improve the business environment? My naive conclusion was that everyone needs to practice Yoga before we get on with business. That conclusion did not lead me to profound discoveries but, ultimately, away from work and deeper into practice.

Fast-forward 8 years and I had a chance meeting with Sociocracy in Cluj with Andrei Iuroaia. Annelieke and Iulia “convinced” me to go despite my skepticism. It was a one day workshop and I was surprised and impressed (even though the work and presentation did not yet feel mature). I felt then and still feel that this is the most practical (sensible, accessible, inexpensive to adopt… ) framework I’ve encountered for good group decision making.

I haven’t gone deeper because there are currently no social contexts in my life where these tools can be applied. However, I’ve been watching it from the sidelines (and occassionally sharing it where I felt it may be relevant). Fast-forward another 4 ot 5 years and this video is published. In it James Priest demonstrates, in a facilitator role, decision making guided by Sociocracy 3.0:

I am grateful and relieved that this modality of being, discussing and deciding together exists and that it is penetrating into organizational bubbles. It confirms that better group decisions are possible and it softly (yet undeniably) illuminates the flaws and limitations of current modalities. Our current hierarchical societies, on so many levels, seem to take for granted the capacity of a group to come together and make informed, good, safe, gradual decisions. I felt sad that this was not around when I was engaged and working. It feels that this approach would have greatly altered my experience of working with others and my potential to contribute.

From where I am now though, this work shimmers as an expression of Yogic qualities in group settings. I see parallels to my experience of personal Yoga practice. I see a practice space where a group, as a cohesive entity, can explore and discover itself in action and that the exploration itself is the technique through which subtle change is introduced. I sense a clear path of invigorating (awakening ideas – asana), containing (giving the awakened ideas coherent flow – pranayama) and focusing energy (directing ideas toward specific outcomes – dhyana).

Beautiful and inspiring work.

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