Yoga works by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. In other words, it activates the “relaxation response,” which counteracts and balances the effects of stress, under which most of your employees are likely to live every day from events that happen at home, at work, or in between. When a mind-body system can return easily to the relaxation response (we call it “resiliency”), it can work with optimal efficiency and clarity. Because the way stress manifests in each person is different, yoga is uniquely positioned to give each employee exactly what they need to feel better and BE better.
Physically, yoga relieves the niggling aches and pains caused by repetitive movements and poor body positioning, which are a distraction to those who experience them (e.g. the low back, neck/shoulder strain, etc. that come from working in office environments). It can also improve posture and breathing function, increasing your employees’ energy, and alleviating their afternoon fatigue. If some of your employees are dealing with difficult times or emotions inside or outside of the office (e.g. anxiety from looming deadlines or children’s busy schedules, depression over caring for aging parents, etc.) yoga can help clear and focus their minds, bringing employees back into the present moment of their work day. In sum, yoga reduces the devastating effects of chronic, low-level stress that impact your employees’ ability to work well and work smart.
The photo to the left shows what your competition is doing at 2 pm on Wednesday afternoon to keep their employees happy, healthy, and motivated for the rest of the day and the week. What are you doing?
Do you or others have concerns about offering yoga at your workplace?
- I work collaboratively with management and HR to design yoga programs are practical and meet the needs of your business. We can do one class so you can see what the response is, or you can try out a 6-8 week program to learn how consistent practice can make a difference (truthfully, that’s the real way to go about it, but I’m not about to tell you how to run your business)!
- I can make sure we start and end on time so your employees get back to work, even if that means the class is only 30 minutes. You don’t need a large dedicated space, time to change into special clothes, or much time to rejuvenate your employees with yoga. In fact, they don’t even have to leave their chairs. They don’t need to be fit or flexible. You just have to model the way by being curious and open, seeing and experiencing for yourself the benefits of a consistent office yoga practice.
- Yoga is as simple or as expansive as you want to make it. It can just be about some physical movement and breathing (the core aspects of yoga that make it effective), or you can add on “concentration meditations” (i.e. training in mindfulness*) to really boost your employees’ brainpower and focus. These can be done at the same time as yoga, or offered as a different company perk.
*“‘The main business case for mindfulness is that if you’re more focused on the job, you’ll become a better leader,’ [William] George, [a member of the Goldman Sachs board] said.”
“Yoga” isn’t just about physical movement and breathing: it’s also a way of life–and guides how people treat themselves as well as how they interact with others. For a taste of what this means, read my “Yoga’s Place in the Workplace” Blog Series (published under my LinkedIn profile) or my talk called “Body Language for Leaders“.