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SEBINS Blog:Yoga in the Board Room
Yoga in the Board Room

We are seeing it more regularly, that business owners, corporations and public agencies that recognize the value of happy, less-stressed employees may offer yoga to their staff.

These multilevel classes occur in company fitness centers or even empty boardrooms.

Workplace yoga usually emphasizes relaxation, but the practice also addresses physical concerns such as back pain, carpel tunnel syndrome and posture problems.

 

Positively Affecting Performance

From a physical perspective, yoga provides greater flexibility and strength. The practice can help people better manage their weight and improve quality of sleep.

 

The University of Maryland Medical Center lists depression, anxiety, osteoporosis, asthma, chronic back pain, irritable bowel and high blood pressure among the numerous conditions that may be managed with the regular practice of yoga. All of these conditions can negatively affect performance in the workplace.

 

Yes, It Has Been Studied!

 

Yoga’s proven ability to reduce stress can make workers more productive and happier. When workers are under a lot of stress, they are less productive and more likely to suffer health problems.

A study published in the January 2011 issue of the “Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health” examined the ability of yoga to enhance emotional well-being and resilience to stress among employees at a university. The researchers found that after 6 weeks of just one 60-minute class per week, employees reported improvements in feelings of clear-mindedness, composure, energy and confidence.

In an April 2012 issue of the “Journal of Occupational Health Psychology,” Duke University researchers found that employees who participated in mind-body interventions such as yoga and meditation reported greater improvements in perceived stress, sleep quality and heart rate.

 

Hatha Style Yoga 

Most classes in a workplace setting are taught in a mild Hatha style, which broadly means the physical practice of yoga.

A typical workplace class might begin with gentle meditation, breathing exercises and floor-based stretches. You might then move through a series of Sun Salutations – a warm-up sequence of postures that improves circulation and links breath with movement.

 

You would then move on to more dynamic postures that address common areas of tension, including the back, shoulders and hips. Class closes with Savasana, or Corpse pose, in which you lie on your back with closed eyes. This final five to 10 minutes of stillness fosters deep relaxation that provides a sense of freshness and rejuvenation.

After a session of workplace yoga – lasting from 30 to 60 minutes – you may feel ready to take on the challenges that await you at your desk.

 

Attract people with a Wide Variety of Abilities

You don’t need a fancy fitness center or deep pockets to offer yoga to employees. Yoga teachers are usually willing to work with the space given, even if it is the floor of a conference room. Ask employees to bring their own mats. The teacher may be willing to work on a donation basis. Unlike classes taught in a studio or fitness center, workplace classes attract people with a wide variety of abilities.

Participants should tell the teacher about any physical limitations or apprehensions they may have at the onset of class so that she may address them by offering modifications throughout the practice.

While yoga is a great example of changing the culture of your workplace, it is not the only option. The approach is to encourage and reward behavioral changes amongst your employees.

Visit www.SEBINS.com for a list of additional activities sure to get your employees moving