01/11/2013 08:32 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

The World of Spies, Wealth Creation and Yoga


Yoga, India's greatest and most well known export, is relevant to every aspect of life and what hits the news. In Sanskrit, yoga has 32 meanings. These include business, wealth, friendship, union, to deceive, rules, carrying out war and even spying!

The USA is brilliant at wealth creation and has created a $10.3bn industry out of yoga, according to 2012 figures released by Yoga Journal - it is certainly practising one aspect of yoga with excellence.

However the USA doesn't fair so well regarding the yoga of spying. It finds itself in the uncomfortable position of getting caught for allegedly spying on other leaders - allies or not. It's surely naive to believe for one second that they are the only ones at it. As John Lyly the 16th century poet reminded us: "All's fair in love and war." It sometimes makes me wonder if reality is based on James Bond, '24' and The Bourne Supremacy, or the other way around.

Meanwhile in the UK, the yoga of employment is in the news. Should the unemployed do something in return for being supported by the taxpayer? The flat hand is also a mudra from yoga. It means the helping hand. Helping others is our nature but surely those being helped can also contribute to society positively.

As for the yoga of wealth, the judgement of how much it is ethical to earn is constantly discussed even if those rewarded earn their money through hard work, honesty and sacrifice. Somehow celebs and footballers are exempt from criticism compared to those who earn far less and financially assist or employ others.

The next financial crisis in the UK to affect wealth will be about mortgages. Firstly, interest rates will eventually go up bringing a mass of arrears. Secondly, those who knowingly entered into 'interest only' mortgages they could never repay, with or without the collusion of their IFA, will cry foul and find a way to sue the mortgage provider. This is highlighted in the Telegraph which indicates 1 million people will not be able to repay their capital. Even suitability is a meaning of yoga.

Regarding responsibility, what kind of world do we live in when we are told to go to a doctor before going on a diet, but not told to see a doctor before overeating or consuming damaging amounts of alcohol or drugs? Dependence is another meaning of yoga. Have we forgotten how to listen to our own bodies and do what is good for us or do we cover our problems by devoting ourselves to overindulgence which can only mask our hidden misery? Even devotion is another meaning of yoga.

At what point do we as individuals take the rap for our own actions and mistakes? A true yogi will take the pragmatic approach that mistakes are made for correction, never to make the same mistake twice and to learn from the mistakes of others.

And what about the yoga of war? Regarding yoga's meaning to fight, this is the basic meaning of India's foremost scripture the Bhagavad Gita. It is meant to refer to fighting our inner enemies - our negatives and not to manifest these externally. Aggression comes from inside. We cannot be warlike if we are calm inside.

Even in spiritual circles people do battle claiming that their yoga is more authentic than other yogas and that their guru is greater than other gurus. The same battles occur between religions. Yet I am sure that if Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Mohammad were having lunch together, there would only be love, respect and admiration for each other. The word religion has a similar meaning to yoga deriving from the Latin word religare which means to join.

So what is the remedy? Remedy is another meaning of yoga. I was lucky enough to have been taught yoga and meditation, by a great Kriya Yoga master from India called Paramahamsa Hariharananda. He told me that life is not a broken dream, to concentrate on my positive qualities and to never give up. He explained that our negative qualities of anger, pride, cruelty, insincerity, jealousy and unhappiness reside in the right hand side of the brain. If these are overactive then they will manifest and override our positives on the left hand side of the brain.

Practice of real yoga promotes our positive qualities and reveals our true nature: to be calm, strong, loving, humble, peaceful and united with others. Fifteen years later I am still practising every day. When I fail I try again.

Which type of yoga are you practising?

David Green is the author of The Invisible Hand: Business, Success & Spirituality. The book shows how meditation helps us to become more successful and content - both materially and spiritually.