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The Spiritual Business: Breathing Life into the Body, Mind, and Spirit of Organizations

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By Henry Richardson

Spirituality and business are generally thought to be in opposition. Spirituality is considered private, sacred, unbounded and religious in nature. Business, on the other hand, is thought to be practical, contained and at times cut-throat. However, spiritual practices like yoga and meditation have shown positive benefits for employees and organizations. In this paper, Henry defines “the spiritual business” and utilizing the definition of spirituality to give insight into how businesses may overlap management and leadership training with spiritual principles. Spirituality, coming from the Latin word spiritus, is defined as that which breathes life into living systems. In this paper, Henry uses this definition to explore how spiritual practices not only breathe life into individual living systems, but also breathe life into larger living systems like organizations. Yoga and mindfulness are ancient techniques that provide frameworks for how to most effectively generate sustainable energy for individuals. Henry applies these same frameworks to show how organizations can effectively breathe life into employees and the entirety of the organization. Henry looks closely at the benefits of yoga, the research on mindfulness and the effectiveness of appreciative inquiry for creating a sense of life for whole system flourishing. Utilizing the analogy that a healthy human is made of a vibrant body, mind and spirit, the spiritual business aims to breathe life into the body, mind and spirit of an organization.

See Henry’s full capstone on Penn's Scholarly Commons website.

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