Adoption of Yoga way of life should be a Corporate policy - 1

The top management of any corporate is always concerned about improving the employees’ performance. Over several years, management researchers have chalked out different means and methods to identify the factors that influence performance. It has been seen and well proved that many a time, individuals with average intelligence often do very well in professional as well as in their personal life whereas those with high academic excellence and intelligence fail both in personal and professional life.

There is vast knowledge and experience in India on the impact of yoga way of life in enabling individuals not only to lead a happier life but also to excel in performance. The epic Bhagavad Gita explicates on yoga and shows how yoga begets high efficiency in work, thus opening up possibilities of various connections with one’s performance. With a view to find impact of yogic way of life on ‘Emotional Intelligence’ of managers, the researchers at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B) carried out a detailed study with a sample of 60 managers from one business enterprise and found encouraging result. It was found that yoga enhances employees Emotional Intelligence (EI) and significantly improves managerial performance in organizations. Using data collected from 60 managers, the study shows that employees who maintain a strong spiritual factor are more tolerant to failure and less susceptible to stress. The paper ‘Impact of Adoption of Yoga Way of Life on Emotional Intelligence of Managers’ published in the November 2010 issue of IIM-B management review says “A systematic adoption of the yoga way of life can result in better EI among employees, thus paving way for better performance”.

In the study, the researchers divided employees of a business enterprise into two teams – Yoga group and Control group. While Yoga group was given 30 hours of yoga practice under an expert and 25 hours lectures on yoga philosophy spread over six weeks, the Control group was given training in normal physical workout for an equal number of hours and lectures on success factors in life based on modern thought like Six Sigma, Interpersonal relationship, attitude, effective communication etc. The EI and physical parameters like weight, body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure (BP) were measured for both groups before and after the study. The results showed that yoga helps managers perform better professionally as well as personally. Systematic exposure to yoga helped managers to become more self-aware and self regulated individuals. The Yoga group whose average EI before the study was 5.50 could enhance the group’s average EI after the study period to 5.97 while that of the Control group’s average EI virtually reduced from 5.61 before the study to 5.55 after the completion of study period. This study has proved that yoga could very well replace Six sigma and become the new mantra for corporate managers, says a Times of India report on the study in its 2nd November, 2010 issue.

A similar study conducted by IIM Ahmedabad on 84 executives of a leading Indian corporate and published in quarterly magazine of the institute ‘Vikalpa’ says that adoption of yoga way of life significantly reduces job burnout and stress. The said study said that according to an estimate, stress costs American industries more than USD 300 billion annually, stemming from reduced productivity, compensation claims and increased absenteeism. The corporate scene in India is no different with stress and burnout at workplace causing a number of victims to seek professional therapy, the study said.

Several studies in the past have established that yoga addresses the issue of stress, but no empirical data co-relating the yoga way of living specifically reducing stress at workplace, has been done till recent time, said one of the researchers from IIM-Ahmedabad. The Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, Bangalore quotes various research data on impact of yoga on health and disease on their website and stresses that practicing the yogic lifestyle can bring about a complete transformation in one’s personality on physical, mental and spiritual levels which strengthens one’s stress coping skills.

To be continued...