Corporate Yoga

Corporate Yoga

Corporate Yoga is the extended concept of working peacefully in the midst of a hectic corporate environment. An international report by the World Health Organization reveals that depression is the most disabling illness for the corporate sector, second only to cardio-vascular diseases. Yoga increases energy levels and boosts employee morale, making them more productive in their work. Also, when your employees are free of any kind of pain or health problems, they will be present more often and be more attentive, focused and productive. Yoga helps in reducing stress level and tension in the physical body. – It helps in the attainment of perfect equilibrium and harmony. – It helps in weight loss. – It increases flexibility and muscle strength.

Reviving Workplace Wellness

The same study by The National Business Group on Health also found that there is now a trend towards enhancing onsite programs aimed at stress management and holistic wellness. Since almost about 50% of corporate healthcare costs are said to be lifestyle related and therefore, potentially preventable, organizations not only want to spend on cure but also invest on prevention and good health. It is in this respect that the ancient science of Yoga has found preference in the corporate world as a comprehensive wellness prerogative, replacing all other healthcare investments.

A growing number of businesses are finding that offering Yoga to their employees is a low-cost, preventive and holistic healthcare measure, making the discipline a resonating success with human resource teams looking for strategic returns on their wellness investments. Regular practitioners of Yoga would stress that its many benefits include emotional wellness, improved strength, flexibility, balance and postural alignment amongst others.   

In the boardrooms of companies, Yoga adds dimensions such as stress reduction, energyenhancement, enhanced creativity and focus and healing for employees and convenience and increased productivity for the employer.

Why Yoga?

Yoga is not just about being able to perform complicated poses and movements. It is a holistic approach to physical and mental health, as well as a person’s well-being and personal growth. Corporate Yoga is the extended concept of working peacefully in the midst of a hectic corporate environment. An international report by the World Health Organization reveals that depression is the most disabling illness for the corporate sector, second only to cardio-vascular diseases.   

Long hours, multi-tasking, stiff competition, rigorous commute, irregular eating habits, sedentary desk jobs and bad sitting postures, all combine to create a pool of highly stressed, inefficient and thus despairing workforce. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that U.S. employers lose $70 billion a year due to absenteeism, lost productivity and disability caused by mental distress. 

The benefits of corporate Yoga to encounter this malaise are unmatched by other wellness programs, as the very crux of the Yogic discipline is a mind-body balance.  It is the only form of exercise known to increase flexibility, strength, balance, concentration and breath capacity while reducing stress and anxiety.  Yoga also helps boost morale and interpersonal communication – which for an employer means no more bickering teams or dissatisfied individuals, power struggles or dirty politics. 

There is conclusive evidence supporting the fact that offering even one Yoga session in a week brings about noted changes in employee behavior by helping them manage stress better, enhance clarity and creative thinking, improve communication skills, cultivate leadership and teamwork, and increase overall effectiveness in the workplace.

Yoga, Anytime, Anywhere

Perhaps the strongest reason for incorporating Yoga into your employees’ wellness routine is the ease with which a corporate Yoga program can be implemented with any kind of resources. The only equipment required for a session of Yoga are some floor mats and a bunch of willing participants with a strong desire for a healthier, more fulfilled life.  A Yoga program can be conducted just about anywhere such as a conference room or an empty lunchroom. 

What is even most interesting now is the development of online Yoga training that is fast gaining popularity with organizations across the globe.  The offering has added a new perspective to corporate wellness by making available world class Yoga training by experts in the confines of an office cubicle in any corner of the world.  Live and interactive Yoga sessions delivered right to the company’s conference room with an assembly of participants is a glove-in-hand fit for most corporations as the sessions can be personalized to suit the timings and space constraints of companies as also the individual needs of participants. 

Yoga in general is geared for people of all levels and age groups and can be tailored to address the needs of people with completely different fitness levels. Although it may sound simple, the creation of a yoga program, if you want it to be successful, requires serious commitment. 

Here is what you must keep in mind while developing a corporate Yoga program:

  • Assess Employee Interest This is to ensure that there is sufficient interest and that enough number of people will sign up for Yoga classes once organized. You could ascertain this by sending out an email on the intranet and asking employees to confirm attendance or send an expression of interest.
  • Find a Yoga provider This is an extremely important process, as your Yoga instructor needs to be an experienced and capable person. It is recommended to find someone with at least five to ten years of experience in teaching Yoga. Once again, online Yoga sessions are highly beneficial since the issues of geographical and other boundaries become irrelevant on the worldwide web and one can choose to get trained by experts in the practice. Certain online offerings for example make it possible for one to organize a class instructed by gurus directly from India, the land of Yoga. If you can find someone to assist in nutrition and diet schedules as well, the overall benefits can be maximized.
  • Personalized sessions Do ensure that participants get to spend individual time with the instructor. It is important for every employee to take back something positive at the end of each class. Continuous monitoring through pre-assessment and post-assessment measurements to track improvements is essential.

Duration and length of sessions Six to eight week Yoga sessions with 15-20 classes work well but you could alter it depending on your budgets and requirements. For fresher’s, signing up for even a one-week program with two or three classes is plausible. While it is possible to accommodate effective Yoga poses even in a 15-minute session, a 45 to 60-minute devoted practice works best for Yoga as it helps participants establish proper breathing and connect with the instructor. Eventually you need to remember that corporate Yoga should be designed to increase well-being for employees’ optimal health, productivity and performance. It must thus be made accessible to people at all levels and offered in a safe and comfortable environment to pursue balance, healing and inner strength. All You Need For Corporate Yoga Companies love to choose yoga as a staple program for their office simply because it’s an easy program to implement. No other equipment or special space is necessary besides a yoga mat and comfortable clothing. Most Corporate Yoga classes won’t have you working up a sweat either, so employers don’t have to worry about providing shower facilities to staff, like they would for more vigorous forms of exercise. At Innergy, we have successfully run yoga programs in empty boardrooms, A/V rooms, unused office space, lunchrooms or even a less than glamorous basement storage room – whatever works. The idea is to use the space that you have and make it work.

Workplace Yoga is also ideal for all ages as well as levels and is often taught with a variety of options included, allowing for variations in fitness levels, flexibility and past experience with yoga.

If your office is serious about starting a Corporate Yoga program, then there are a few things you should know first.

Here Are 6 Things You Should Know Before You Start A Corporate Yoga Program At Your Office:

  1. You may want to survey your staff first – It’s important to first poll your staff to see what’s important to them. Put together a simple 5-10 question poll using a free survey platform like Survey Monkey, then send the survey out to all teams by email. This allows you to really see how much interest there would be in a program like Office Yoga. It’s also the first step in letting your staff know that you are actively seeking wellness programs like yoga to better assist them in navigating the corporate world of stress and deadlines. This preparatory phase will start to build enthusiasm and a sense of curiosity for what’s to come.
  2. Figure out the logistics – Like where classes will be held, if you need to book the space ahead of time, if you need to make any changes to the room like cleaning it first, changing the lighting, moving tables, etc. Also, how often will you have classes and what day and time?
  3. Determine who your Corporate Yoga provider will be – Research yoga companies in your area and look for one who specializes specifically in office yoga. They should not only have a team of experienced yoga teachers, but the company should also assist you with marketing materials to promote the classes (flyers, emails to circulate, even the survey we mentioned in #1,etc) as well as communication with employees (when classes are cancelled or rescheduled for example – what will the process be?). If it’s important to you, make sure that the yoga teacher or company you hire is professional and will deliver a style of yoga your employees will jive with. Yoga traditionally is made up of not only physical asanas (yoga poses) but chanting, meditation, imagery and more. If your workplace would prefer a class that introduces these elements of yoga more gradually, or skips them altogether, then do ensure you research several companies and ask them what their teaching style or philosophy is well ahead of time.
  4. Your company doesn’t have to pay for it. You have three options when it comes to payment: 1) Company pays 100% 2) Staff pay 100%, splitting the cost equally among all participants OR 3) Company subsidizes a portion of the cost. A professional corporate yoga company will be able to help you make sense of these options, assisting you in choosing the right one for your organization.
  5. You WILL have to work hard to get staff to attend – It’s not that employees don’t want to come to yoga, but more likely that the majority feel intimidated, are new to yoga or are scared of looking bad in front of co-workers. They may not know that Corporate Yoga even exists at their workplace, perhaps they tried yoga before but had a bad experience or they could simply feel too busy/rushed/stressed to attend. Rather than feeling like you need to “drag” your employees to yoga, you simply need to ensure they know that your office offers this beneficial program AND that your Corporate Yoga classes are accessible to everyone, even absolute beginners. Rather than just setting up the program and assuming it will run itself, send out regular reminders to staff via email or through your company’s intranet. And if management attends the classes, in our experience we have seen that staff are more likely to attend too!
  6. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have at work – no really!

Benefits of Yoga

  • Improve flexibility and strength. Yoga stretches your muscles.
  • Stand up straighter. Many poses in yoga can strengthen the core muscles in your stomach and back.
  • Ease stress and anxiety levels. Yoga involves breathing exercises that force you to pay attention to your breath.
  • Reduce low back pain.
  • Improve sleep.
  • Yoga improves your posture.
  • Yoga helps to keep your joints healthy.
  • Yoga is a powerful mindfulness practice.
  • Yoga reduces stress.
  • Yoga lowers blood pressure.
  • Yoga helps you to make healthier life choices.
  • Yoga encourages your body’s natural healing process.