By Cecile Gayet, Anusara Elements™ Teacher
As we were discussing the content for the first issue of our ASHY newsletter, Laura, our editor, asked if I would be willing to write a column on Dharma Marketing. I have a special love of brainy quotes and the way words are intertwined into beautiful inspirational sentences, but my first reaction to the association of the words, DHARMA and MARKETING, was one of surprise. Thinking about it, I wondered: can Dharma Marketing be a deeper, meaningful way of looking at things and a more truthful way of connecting with people?
What does Dharma mean?
Dharma is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy, with multiple meanings in the Indian religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism.1 It has a long and varied history, straddling a complex set of meanings and interpretations.2 Dharma as a yogic concept refers to the idea of a law or principle governing the universe. For an individual to live out their dharma is for them to act in accordance with this law.3 Patanjali, the Sage who wrote the “Yoga Sutra”, describes dharma through the Yamas and Niyamas. Dharma is hence defined through ethical and moral guidelines laid out in the first two limbs of Patanjali’s eightfold path.
With all of this in mind, and as there is no single-word translation for dharma in Western languages, one thing we can definitely agree on is that it presupposes an ethical and right way of doing.
Can Dharma Marketing reconcile spiritual and economic goals?
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.4 So many examples, in our world and even in that of yoga, show that unfortunately we are not immune to excesses and distortions of offerings with a so-called value for customers.
Due to outside influences, strategic interests and those of personal gain, many tools, methods and services are subject to the risk of drifting away from the ethical and the right way of doing.
I trust that we can find in Dharma Marketing a balanced action between spiritual longing and economic aspirations. I believe that if we, teachers and students of yoga, commit to be a shining light in the world6, to make choices infused with a meaningful intention connected to the grand purposes of yoga7, we will make a difference and be of service to others!
At the heart of Anusara is the foundational concept of the 3A’s (Attitude, Alignment, Action) and when applied to dharma marketing, it leads the way to authenticity, integrity – transparency – accountability and doing business with soul.
In future editions of this column ‘Under the eye of Dharma Marketing’, we will look at trends and things happening in the yoga world, present fair assessments and suggest alternatives when and if possible, in a word we’ll help you to enjoy your marketing work and do it with Grace.
Satya to all!
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aram_(Kural_book), The Book of Virtue
3. https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/4967/dharma , definition of Dharma
4. https://www.ama.org/AboutAMA/Pages/Definition-of-Marketing.aspx , definition of marketing
5. http://www.ask-angels.com/spiritual-guidance/lightworker/ , definition of lightworkers
6. Anusara Yoga, Immersion Manual, page 3.