Companies around the world are bringing yoga into the workplace. Group classes taught during lunch break, before or after work contribute to more than employee well-being. These classes also contribute to the bottom line. Studies have shown that places of employment with yoga classes have lower insurance premiums, lower insurance costs, higher employee productivity, and fewer days lost to illness.
Health Benefits of Yoga
Yoga promotes unity of mind, body and spirit. Health benefits of yoga include lowered blood pressure, increased immunity to disease, improved sleep, greater flexibility, more focused concentration and more. Yoga helps stabilize the mood, increases self-awareness and self-actualization, better social adjustment and memory. All of the benefits gained from practice of yoga benefit employees in the workplace as well. The number one benefit of yoga, and why it is useful to incorporate into the workplace is that it helps to greatly reduce stress, which will raise productivity and employee satisfaction.
A study by Northwestern National Life reported that workplace problems cause the highest amounts of stress in ¼ of workers in the United States. An article published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine relays that people who work 12 hours or more a day have a 37% increase of illnesses over those who do not work 12 or more hours a day. Incorporating yoga programs into the workplace can help ease workplace stress and will ultimately benefit the company.
Starting a Yoga at Work Program
Because of insurance concerns, employers interested in starting yoga program at work should contract with a certified yoga instructor. Employees, and any other participants should be required to sign a waiver that is kept on file in Human Resources, absolving the company of liability. After such paperwork is in place, everyone will be able to enjoy the yoga class in peace.
To encourage participation, poll employees about their preferred class time. Depending on the nature of your business, morning may be better than lunch, or lunch may be a better time than dinner. Set aside a private space for the class where students will not be disturbed or watched by non-participants. Privacy is important for full enjoyment of the class.
Yoga at Your Desk
The most beneficial yoga programs are classes where participants can fully concentrate on the class. If such a class is not an option at work, employees can still incorporate elements of yoga during their workday. Several yoga positions lend themselves well to “yoga at the desk.” Neck rolls, seated spinal twist, cat-cow stretch and eagle arms are among the many yoga poses that work well at work. Deep breathing and meditation can also be practiced at your desk, and will benefit you throughout your work day.