Students at an international business school in Spain are to be guinea pigs for an academic's theory that yoga and meditation make for better business decisions.
Ashok Ranchhod, a principal lecturer in management at Southampton Institute, is to carry out his research in Spain because he felt British students might not take his ideas seriously enough.
He is spending four days in Barcelona training a group of business students at the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa in yoga relaxation techniques while a control group continues with its conventional course. He will return in April to see if there are measurable differences in the quality of decisions being taken by the two groups.
"I want to find out whether there is any truth that yoga and meditation can increase effectiveness," he said.
"Some of the more conventional ways of thinking are perhaps not yielding better results in terms of quality of life and improvements in the workplace. Our study will determine whether there may be another dimension that businesses are not looking at."
He felt the international students would be more open-minded than British students. And even if the research shows yoga makes no difference to students' performance, he will continue to practise the techniques he finds useful himself.
"It is a release of tension and stress and enables clear-thinking," he said. "If your mind is jammed up, yoga and meditation helps to clarify certain things. It gives you the ability sometimes to stand back and look at things in a more detached and holistic way."