OUR TEAM CULTURE
The ‘Shanti’ i.e. peace culture
is (and always has been) the way of life for me.
The ‘team’ culture
is the way of work for us.
We are a team built around a shared desire to help people through spirituality, health sciences and leadership. We come from several countries, and we have many different religious faiths, cultural practices, and political beliefs which stem from a varied set of traditions and norms. Every individual is different and unique. Yet, as a team we share values, goals and attitudes… whether written or unwritten. In this community we unite around the aspects we agree on, which are our common purpose, and we accept any other differences we may have.
We invite you to join us in shaping a future where where nature and humanity thrive in harmony, each uplifting the other, where mental wellness and thriving businesses go hand in hand. Learning to take responsibility not only for yourself, but for society as well, is a sign indicating that you want to live a life of meaning and substance.
We are an inclusive organisation
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King Jr.
All reasonable people want to eliminate racism and discrimination in the world. However trying to reduce racism by hyper-focussing on race is self-contradictory. Focussing on race is the exact opposite of Martin Luther King Jr’s dream, and will only increase division and polarisation. We cannot achieve a world where no-one cares about race, by hyper-focussing on race.
We believe the ultimate goal of any inclusivity initiative should be to achieve a world where no-one cares about the colour of a person’s skin, their gender, their sexual preference or their religion. Indeed we want to live in a world where these are amongst the less interesting things about them.
We believe that the best way to achieve inclusivity is to focus on our shared humanity, equality of opportunity for all, and treating each person as an individual, not as a stereotypical member who is defined by some group based on their skin colour, gender, scexual preference, ethnicity or religion, but rather is defined by their unique individual skills, knowledge, beliefs, preferences and behaviour.
Because of this we welcome people who support our culture and mission regardless of their ethnic background, skin colour, religion, politics, disability status, sexual orientation or gender identity.
However, just as two individuals may or may not be compatible with one another, not all individuals are compatible with our team.
Your character (which grows out of your values and attitude) plays a vital role in having a positive outlook towards life’s events. Life’s trials and tribulations provide you with an opportunity to work on many levels
– to rethink your life,
– to rethink your values,
– to rethink where you’re going,
– to rethink what your career should be, and what your relationship with other people should be.
We wish you well.
OUR HISTORY… OUR EXPERIENCE
It all started in 1972, as the Shanti Niketan (Haven of Peace) Centre which supplied people with in-person teaching in Melbourne, Australia. Endeavours such as retreats, vegetarian cooking, take-home frozen meals, Yoga teacher training and Ayurveda education were also all subsidiaries of the Centre.
Over the past fifty years the projects have grown, and Shanti Yoga has expanded. With a magnificent residential eco-retreat centre on 70 acres, in the mountains of the Scenic Rim of the Gold Coast, and a Campus in Southport, we offer retreat accommodation, meals, Ayurvedic treatments, products and medicines, sound therapy, aroma therapy, yoga, nature walks, government approved vocational courses with payment plans, massage, facials, pedicures and beauty treatments and products.
During the shut downs of COVID 19, our students and patrons nudged us to head towards looking at being a fully remote company and to bring our training online. The rationale being that going online would democratise Shanti Yoga and Ayurvedic education and made it more accessible to a larger number of people.
We have started by diversifying our offerings into websites:
– Shanti Yoga
– Health Institute Australasia
– Nirvana Wellbeing Retreat
– Yoga University Online
– LearnDash – the student portal
All of these are subsidiaries under the company name, Health Institute Australasia Pty Ltd.
OUR VISION AND VALUES
We are here to focus on making the world a better place.
However, our work culture is not a place for ideological debates. It is a place for people who value wisdom, community and leadership to come together, unite around and celebrate our joy in helping people through these practices.
Our values help guide us in making decisions about how we do the work with the breath, the natural world, healing, meditation and Ayurvedic and Yogic science.
Because of your love of these, you are welcome here regardless of any other thing that we may disagree on.
The traditional philosophies of Yoga, Ayurvedic science and Mindful leadership are at the core of The Mission.
Our unwavering north star and ultimate goal is always our mission. This mission of ours is the only mission. Any ‘side mission’ is based upon the extent to which this side mission is instrumental in helping us achieve our mission. Our mission is core to our culture. It underpins who we are, what we think, what we build, and all of our key decisions we make. It creates HIA’s core identity. It inspires unity among the team and informs fast and easy decentralised decision making, which is critical to our success. Thus every team member must believe in our mission.
In keeping with our over-arching vision, our mission is
– To return natural healing, yoga, meditation and Ayurvedic science to their rightful place at the forefront of humanity’s approach to health, wellness and happiness.
– To provide accurate and transformational wisdom, guidance, and support for anyone in search of natural healing, mind-body wellbeing and Ayurveda.
– To fully integrate natural healing and Ayurveda as a blessing and a privilege rather than something irrelevant.
Our fundamental tenets are based on
– living a life of service to others
– thinking of every event (be it large or small) as a blessing and a privilege rather than something irrelevant
– remembering that everything you do matters.
– not supporting intolerance or racism.
– celebrating all approaches to divine consciousness whilst encouraging every team member to adopt science-based best practice.
At Health Institute Australasia we use science and spiritually based tools to help Yoga students, teachers and Ayurvedic practitioners become healthier, happier and more successful as human beings on the planet. We use these tools because these are the most effective ways known to humankind to advance our knowledge of how the world works and our place in it.
Science is the most effective tool known to humanity to progress our understanding of empirical questions about how the world works.
Freedom of speech, civil discourse and open inquiry are crucial for science and the progress of ideas. We must be able to discuss and debate ideas, if we are to replace them with better ideas,
We help Yoga teachers and Ayurvedic practitioners become happier and better by being more skilled and knowledgeable about anatomy, physiology, communication, critical thinking, wellness, leadership and curriculum topics. In helping our learners become more successful we raise their standard of living, allow them to earn better wages and provide better services for their clients. We enable them to feel a sense of pride and legitimacy as we equip them with essential living and business skills to thrive for a lifetime.
This helps them build their confidence and increase their impact in their chosen profession. By so doing, we enable our learners to help their clients more joyfully and more effectively increase the wellbeing, health, longevity and happiness of a very large number of people.
Leadership is a journey of personal growth. A business can never outgrow (+ the )(+its) owners limiting beliefs. It is the process of setting up a business, and taking risks to achieve personal and financial (– in)growth. Through leadership we will make the world a better place by raising people’s standards of living, and helping them create better products and services that deliver more happiness and better results (-to)(+ for) their clients.
In our community we disregard any differences we may have outside of our shared love for yoga, Ayurvedic science and leadership. We focus on our shared humanity and we treat each other as individuals, not as members of this or that group.
HOW OUR VALUES AND MISSION SHOW UP
IN OUR WORKPLACE AND COURSES
Here are some examples of how our values might affect how you work or study and your experience with Health Institute Australasia.
Our work-life goal is to enhance team morale while prioritising the well-being of our team, and unlocking the pathways to a happier, healthier workplace.
By crafting an enjoyable and efficient work environment, we alleviate or minimise workplace stress and elevate productivity, leading to a more vibrant and motivated team.
We treat each person as an individual without regard to or discrimination for or against any person based on their race, skin colour, religion, gender identity, ethnic background, political affiliation or sexual orientation, disability or financial status, age or physical appearance.
WE FOSTER DIVERSITY
By striving to provide equality of opportunity based on merit, we see diversity as greater than a checklist of obvious physical features. We oppose judging people by their skin colour, ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, age, size or appearance.
For team members, given the multiple countries and languages represented within our organisation, we place a strong emphasis on team cohesion around culture and our mission.
WE TREAT ALL PEOPLE BASED ON IDIVIDUAL MERIT
We seek out candidates who are aligned with our culture and mission, and who have the ability, knowledge, and skills that are most suitable for the job or task. We strive to evaluate people on merit regardless of their group identity.
PROCESS AND SYSTEMS, RULES AND REGULATIONS
We abide by all labour laws and do not support illegal activities in the workplace.
Processes and systems should only and always help us do the work faster. They should never slow us down or make it harder to accomplish our Mission.
Therefore we try to avoid bureaucracy i.e., committees, approvals and risk-averse mindsets where no-one wants to take sole responsibility for a decision.
We don’t seek consensus. Instead we designate a single person to be the individual directly responsible, who will make decisions; this individual decides who needs to give input, and who needs to be informed. After people give their input the individual responsible makes the decision quickly and we disagree and commit. This means once our input has been heard, we accept the decision and implement it as if it were our own, even if we privately disagree.
The speed of decision making and the speed of execution are critical advantages to any business. We have not always been successful in this regard. Moving faster means we put things into the world fast, and get feedback fast. This allows us to adjust and iterate fast, which in turn means our products will improve faster. This means better results and experience for our learners. We aim to decide quickly, implement quickly and iterate quickly. We strive for short cycle times between decision, implementation, review and adjustment so we can learn faster.
We embrace a growth mindset, and celebrate mistakes or decisions that don’t turn out as expected and view them as learning opportunities. We embrace challenges as chances to develop new skills, and use setbacks as opportunities to learn and improve. By having a growth mindset, you will be more resilient in the face of obstacles, and you will be more likely to persevere and ultimately achieve your goals.
We strive to make our offerings as effective as possible. We will ask awkward questions and engage in open investigations in a spirit of mutual enquiry. We do not use politically correct language where it conflicts with scientific accuracy, nor strive to make our offerings as historically accurate as possible.
To maintain cohesion in such a diverse environment, we acknowledge that we all see the world through our own cultural lenses, we assume good intent and we strive to be thicker-skinned.
Misunderstandings will occur and mistakes will be made, but we don’t dwell on them. Instead we move forward with the belief that all people have inherent dignity and that disputes can be resolved through open discussion and due process.
We do not tolerate the use of shaming, name-calling or ad-hominem attacks, gaslighting, bullying, sabotaging, berating, denigrating, undermining, sarcasm, racist slurs, or assault and battery. After a while excuses and justifications all sound the same. And what is excused as rationalisation is often rational lies. Blaming, attempting to cover up, being manipulative such as by using tears as a manipulative tool in order to try to convince another that your story is credible and as a way of deflecting criticism from yourself whilst simultaneously using another person as a scapegoat, putting someone down in order for you to look good, are unworthy actions, and unholy.
The pursuit of religious, political or social justice agendas in our community are not our mission and we do not encourage or reward them. Nevertheless, we respect each person’s right to form their own values and beliefs, and we don’t feel any need to convert others to our values and beliefs.
BASIC PRINCIPLES FOR COMMUNICATING
For diverse people to flourish in a free society we honour toleration and goodwill towards others with different views. Every individual should have the freedom to pursue their own version of the good life… to think, and speak, and act as they wish, and to associate with whom ever they want to, as long as they do not physically or financially harm others in the process.
Neither words nor silence are “violence”. The ideal team member needs to develop a thicker skin, be well intentioned, and assume good intent from others.
Everyone is responsible for their own feelings. We value truth over political correctness, and recognise that while it is not our goal to offend people, this could inevitably happen in the world of authenticity and truth. Thus we do not consider ‘hurt feelings’ to be harm. Being offended doesn’t necessarily make someone right. Being offended doesn’t necessarily make someone “harmed” .
– always work to de-escalate a discussion that becomes emotional
– communicate simply, and do not speak using a lot of buzzwords, jargon, or fluff
– communicate in English, even though the terminology could be in Sanskrit or Latin.
– use scientifically accurate terminology rather than politically correct terminology
– use specific rather than general language e.g., we say “Your email dated X with the subject Y” instead of “the email”
– provide data, and request others to provide data
– do not call someone’s words toxic, hateful, racist, x-phobic, problematic etc. Assume ignorance before you assume malice.
– say why you disagree and calmly challenge ideas with logic, reasoning and better ideas
– aim to resolve personal disputes and kindly permit each other the benefit of the doubt and the generosity of saving face.
– encourage each other to stay out of the weeds and use mindful communication.
– be optimistic, proactive, solution and future-focussed
– define the outcomes and address the biggest constraint/obstacle.
– seek to build successful paths for everything, and improvise, adapt and overcome
– think laterally and generate multiple solutions to a problem.
– understand that every solution is a trade-off, in which we seek to balance an upside with it’s respective downside.
– The right of each person to pursue their version of the good life, as long as they don’t harm others financially or physically
– Optimism, assuming positive intent
– Seeing people as individuals not defined by race, colour, sexuality, gender, disability or religion
– Tolerance of others who hold different views
– Taking responsibility for our own emotions and actions
– Seeing people as resourceful, resilient and anti-fragile
– Saying what we mean plainly
– The process of self-improvement that instills resilience, self-confidence, and a deeper sense of self-awareness. Embracing imperfections is not a sign of weakness; it’s a testament to a person’s strength and commitment to self-improvement. Embrace your flaws, and watch them become your greatest assets in the pursuit of personal growth.
– The scientific method, seeking truth even when it’s uncomfortable
– Trial by law, innocence until proven guilty
– A growth mindset. This means we view challenges and failures as opportunities for learning and growth, rather than as roadblocks or signs of incompetence.
WE DO NOT SUPPORT
– Being driven by ego or the pursuit of power.
– Lies or telling others what they want to hear, being obsequious/ sycophantic
– Treating HIA team members or students differently depending on their role or hierarchical position
– Being only nice, or extra nice, to those who they can gain advantage from or like
– Authoritarianism, namely dictating how other people should think, speak, and live their lives
– Defining people by their colour, race, religion, gender identity or sexual preference
– Intolerance of people with different views
– Arrogance, self-righteousness, or acting as if morally superior to others
– Black and white thinking
– Laziness md expecting others to take up your slack
– Taking no or low risk for most things, regardless of what’s best for our Mission
– Pessimism, catastrophising, defeatism
– Aggrieved, self-pitying or victim mindset
– Responding to mistakes by becoming fearful and over-cautious
– Reacting defensively to critical feedback. When we accept our flaws, we can work with them, learn from our mistakes, and evolve as individuals.
– Cancel culture, bullying, attempts to publicly shame people, trial by public opinion
– Fear mongering, treating people as fragile
– ”Walking on eggshells” for fear of saying “the wrong thing”
– Taboos against questioning beliefs or punishing others for asking questions or their curiosity
CONDUCT BECOMING A TEAM MEMBER
We encourage and suppport team members who are
– Comfortable with computers, modern technology, the Internet and automation tools… or willing to learn.
– Positive and determined attitude
– Do not let fear of risk prevent them from doing what needs to be done
– Be polite and friendly towards everyone
– Speak simply and truthfully
– Hold self and others accountable for communicating clearly and concisely
– Radically transparent, substance-rich communicator
– Driven by purpose, competence, achievement, kindness and compassion
– Be curious and encourage curiosity in others
– Be welcoming and appreciative of critical feedback
– Be proactive in addressesing people directly 1:1 when there is a problem
– Be humble and acknowledge mistakes, learn from them so you don’t repeat them or dwell on them or become fear-avoidant
– Value speed of decision making above fear of making a mistake
– Actively resist scope-creep and irrelevant side missions
– Treat every team member and student the same way regardless of their role, tenure or perceived level of power
• Improvise, adapt, overcome
• Build success paths for everything
• Remove the nonessential
• Strive for excellence
• Make it happen
Thank you for taking the time to read about our culture.
With much gratitude for being on the team.