One will find CEOs, entrepreneurs, and Hollywood stars all turning to a new trend: yoga and meditation. After years of skepticism, only recently is this trend seen as a holistic way to cure some of the world’s most common ailments. Yoga has shown to help reduce stress, depression, anxiety, and in some cases chronic back problems. This alleged mysticism has certainly made me a better professional—and I’m not alone in this as yoga is not alone in being backed by medical science.
According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, more than 24 million U.S. adults practiced yoga in 2013, up from 17 million in 2008 (making it roughly as popular as golf). Many companies are offering classes to help their employee’s de-stress. In addition, many physicians are recommending it as a pain management treatment.
Yoga can even be looked at as a way to understand market research. Take a minute and get some insight on big market research topics and how one can connect the mind, body, and soul to it.
“I mean the whole thing about meditation and yoga is about connecting to the higher part of yourself, and then seeing that every living thing is connected in some way.” –Gillian Anderson
Analyzing The Body
In yoga, one must perform a series of poses. They range from as easy as lying down to as complex as trying to get the feet to touch the forehead while holding a handstand. In all poses, one must always be aware of the body. An individual must analyze his or her body in order to find the depth of a stretch or to what extent the pose can be performed. Yoga poses are deliberate and are meant to push the body to its limits
This is akin to the main findings in big data. When conducting an analysis one must be sure that the data files are consistent with one another. Any inconsistencies (e.g. numbers included) should be explained.
Analyzing data is as well a priority in market research, as it grants the necessary answers to benefit the “body” that is a business. As one does with bodies in yoga, one must also analyze the data, test it to its logical limits, and decipher to results for further “workouts.”
Catching The ‘Trap Questions” in The Busy Mind
Meditation and yoga go hand in hand in their goal of a clear path of reasoning. In the typical yoga class, one will persistently hear the instructor coo, “Focus on your body and let everything else go.” Much like trap questions in surveys, this is done so to refocus participants and help keep them on task. Trap questions are safeguards in the form of unrelated questions, sprinkled at certain intervals of the survey. This hopes to adjust the focus of respondents or remove those who have no interest in providing usable data. Like trap questions, yoga uses meditation before and after class to help students focus their attention on their movements.
“I was beginning a journey learning more about myself and, surprisingly, more about business than I learned at one of the top ten business schools in the country and 20 years of professional experience.”
— Mark Hughes, CEO of C3 Metrics, on the benefits of yoga
Removing Respondent Bias in The Ego
In Western culture, the word ego refers to characteristics that often make someone seem intolerable in the eyes of others, such as arrogance, selfishness or and an inflated sense of self-importance. One of the goals of yoga is to be able to control and point out when the ego surfaces. When conducting surveys, removing respondent bias is important to gain useful data.
One of the most common biases in surveys (like in our ego) is social desirability. People like to present themselves in a favorable light. They will be reluctant to admit to unsavory attitudes or illegal activities in a survey. Instead, their responses may be biased toward what they believe is socially desirable. Yoga attempts to cut that by preaching that inner acceptance and control of the ego is part of the yogic process.
Eliminating Fatigue in The Body
After a day chained to a desk and dealing with outside stresses, yoga is often used to revitalize the body. An evening performing yoga helps release the day’s tensions and fatigue. Like yoga in market research, it is paramount to eliminate respondent fatigue in the survey experience.
Getting information from the participants is important. However, one cannot overload respondents with surveys with long questionnaires, long matrices question blocks, or complicated wording. While in yoga, the body is always aware of its aches and pains as it stretches and relaxes.
As market research experts, we must also be aware of our participants’ aches and pains throughout surveys or risk fatigue. Yoga, according to the Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, might improve quality of life by:
- reducing stress
- lowering heart rate and blood pressure
- help relieve anxiety
- improve overall physical fitness, strength, and flexibility
With these issues in mind, one can conclude that yoga helps eliminate fatigue, just as researchers should avoid fatiguing their participants.
There is a reason why almost 10 percent of Americans have turned to yoga. Many people like me in high-stress jobs tend to turn to this as a method to reduce stress and to add to their overall physical fitness. There are claims after claims that yoga helps connect oneself with the world, and part of that world may involve sessions of meditative market research.