What is Yoga?
As more and more people discover the benefits of yoga, the 3,000-year-old practice is increasingly finding its way into the workplace
“Yoga increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centers the nervous system. Yoga’s positive benefits on mental health have made it an important practice tool of psychotherapy” - (American Psychological Association)
Day-to-day meaning of yoga
Yoga is a process of becoming more mindful of who we are. Yoga practices facilitate balance and health, and unfold our hidden potential. Yoga allows us to be more aware of ourselves and feel connected. As such, yoga is a process of self-discovery. This leads us to self-mastery and self-realization.
**Yoga in the Workplace**
In 2013 alone, about 55,000 workers in Ireland were affected by work-related illness, resulting in a total loss of 790,000 productive days. According to the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), musculoskeletal disorders - affecting different parts of the body used for movement including the skeleton, muscles, tendons and ligaments - is responsible for the vast majority of absences, at 50pc. This is followed by work-related stress, anxiety and depression (SAD) at 18pc. The research, published found the average length of absence in 2013 was 17 days for stress, anxiety and depression and 15.9 days for MSD. The average duration for all other types of work-related illness was 12.8 days. *.
With the rise and rise of work related illnesses and a generation that has never been as stressed or as busy, organisations are looking for ways to incorporate wellness activities into the employees daily work-life as a remedy for the constant barrage of e-mails, targets and stress placed upon employees. Here enters a mindful yoga practice.
“Healthy employees, engaged employees, they are here for the long term,” says Darbie Miller, a Promega human resources officer. “And if they’re here for the long term, the company wins.” *
Stress is an expensive threat to the balance sheet. Mindfulness is an antidote to stress. Just 10 minutes of meditation and mindfulness practice along with the the ego dissolving and opening properties offered by a yoga practice can enhance not just a persons work-life but their general well-being as a whole. A healthy workforce is a productive workforce.
The reason yoga is chosen over different from other fitness classes is because a Yoga class incorporates both mental and physical awareness.
There is a massive emphasis on mindfulness and meditation therefore teaching the employee new ways to unwind and relax while in the office. When we are in a calm state we tend to be more productive and have enhanced and clearer decision making abilities. When we are extremely anxious or stressed state everything gets clouded and overall we are less productive.
“ 67% of employees said participation in wellness programs increased their engagement in their employer’s mission and goals “ *
Countries like Australia and Sweden are setting the trend when it comes to workplace wellness. Instead of just offering a fitness class the goal is to empower employees by giving them the tools and techniques they need in order to alleviate stress and overwhelm both at in the workplace and at home.
It’s a win-win for both the employee and employer.