Research in the International Journal of Business and Emerging Markets has looked at the impact of yoga on the skill set and well-being of business executives in transitioning economies. Rather than the practice of yoga being a simple pastime, the researchers found that it can enhance behavior and cultural intelligence among executives.

Anand N. Asthana of CENTRUM Católica Graduate Business School, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima, Perú, has used a statistical tool known as the PROCESS macro to examine a mediation model of the effects of yoga practice. The Asthana demonstrates that rather than being a “woke activity” or a “trivial pursuit,” yoga has a significant and positive effect on the behavior and cultural intelligence of the participants. In other words, the practice improves well-being and attitudes among those executives undertaking the activity on a regular basis.

The implications of this research are far-reaching. As transition economies shift from monopolistic public sector businesses to privatized enterprises with global exposure, the executives operating in those companies must adapt accordingly. Incorporating yoga into executive development programs could offer a useful contribution to their training and progress. Given that “helping” plays an important role in effective collaboration, teamwork, and fostering positive relationships within an organization, the boost that yoga practice gives to this type of behavior could be critical. By promoting helping behavior, yoga can contribute to creating a supportive and cooperative work environment, ultimately leading to improved productivity and organizational success.

It is worth adding that cultural intelligence is an increasingly important part of the interconnected global business landscape. Individuals who can understand and adapt to different cultural contexts are better equipped to communicate effectively with those from different cultures to negotiate with them and to make appropriate decisions in a setting of cultural diversity and at the international level. The current research indicates that yoga can enhance cultural intelligence by cultivating mindfulness, which in turn fosters openness, empathy, and a deeper appreciation of cultural differences.

The research also highlights the importance of life-long learning as part of one’s continued professional development but demonstrates that non-cognitive skills are of great importance as well appropriate technical prowess within an organization.

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