What's Yoga Got to Do With It?

by Rona Berg

Dr. Mehrad Nazari, PhD, MBA, knows a thing or two about taking an enlightened approach to business, a subject he shares with readers of his new book, Enlightened Negotiation: 8 Universal Laws to Connect, Create, and Prosper (Select Books, New York).


Dr. Nazari, a long-time practitioner of yoga and meditation, has found a way to integrate the principles of yoga and meditation with the practice of business. As the founder of Enlightened Negotiation®, an education and consulting firm, he is dedicated to promoting progressive business practices and unifying personal, professional and spiritual objectives. We invited him to to share a few tips on what it means to negotiate business in an enlightened way.

What was the inspiration behind the development of the concept of Enlightened Negotiation?

I found my inspiration for developing the concept of Enlightened Negotiation on my yoga mat.

The art of business negotiation had been the central point of my professional life for many years – from my own studies and earned degrees to my work as a university professor teaching the topic. But it wasn’t until I started deepening my personal study of yoga that I realized the similarities in both processes.

Strength, flexibility, and mindfulness were the first three laws that I realized are common threads for both negotiation and yoga. From there, the other laws followed.

In an age where collaboration and understanding seem to be in short supply, how can this book help?

I believe if you want to bring about a change, the first step is to create awareness for your goal, in this case, collaboration. The second is a matter of education– learning how to achieve the harmony we all innately desire.

This book is rooted in the belief that we can change the current state of our society by implementing mindfulness into our daily interactions – whether they are business related or personal. The goal is to achieve a common state of understanding, or what I call a win-win-win for all.

Do these concepts apply only to business, or can we successfully use them to better our personal relationships as well?

The underlying principles of business and personal negotiations are the same; whether we negotiate a personal matter, a business transaction, or even an international conflict, they all share some common characteristics.

The approach or vocabulary may vary slightly given each unique setting, but the techniques to solve these problems consciously are universal and have the power to shift perspective and promote peace in all facets of our lives.

The concept of using “enlightened” negotiation strategies is new - can you give us some additional context?

Beneath our name, gender, age, title, degree, and bank account, we are first and foremost human beings. There are certain universal laws that we must obey in order to survive and thrive together. Sadly, we live in a time where respect for these universal laws has eroded.

Knowing how to drive a car is not enough. We must also know the traffic laws or the results could be costly and catastrophic. The same theory applies to knowing, understanding, and applying the universal laws of humanity to our personal and professional interactions.

Enlightened Negotiation outlines a path to restore those universal laws back into our daily interactions, and enables us to celebrate our differences and move beyond them.

What do you feel is the most important take-away from this book?

To look at the larger picture! We are on this planet for a higher purpose. This book encourages us to be mindful of that and shows us how to achieve it daily in a natural way.

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