Why is corporate yoga a crucial addition to a companies’ workplace wellness program? Mainly for these six reasons: regular yoga practice is scientifically proven to reduce pain, stress, and anxiety while improving flexibility, strength, and overall fitness. The key to having your employees reap the enormous benefits of a corporate yoga practice is to help them understand that they don’t need special skills to enjoy yoga. Certified yoga teachers know how to start newcomers off slowly and adapt poses for all levels of practitioners. There are, in fact, a variety of corporate yoga classes that employees can feel comfortable doing in the workplace, including indoor mat sessions, outdoor yoga classes, and yoga classes that employees can do at their desks without having to take a long break or even change out of work clothes.
“If you can breathe, you can do yoga.”
Part of creating a well-attended corporate yoga program is to stress how accessible yoga classes can be. It’s important to understand what employees know about yoga in order to break down any barriers they might have about giving it a try. For every person that embraces the idea of doing yoga poses and breathing exercises, there is another who thinks yoga is only for young, super-fit people who can stand on their head or twist like a pretzel while rattling off complicated Sanskrit terms for all the poses.
Focus on building a corporate yoga program that is fun, accessible, and provides a way for employees to walk away feeling great. Let them know that you don’t have to be a great athlete, a certain age, or certain body type to take part. A good way to help employees become more comfortable with yoga in the workplace is to emphasize that athleticism, strength, flexibility, and meditation experience aren’t required —these benefits are the result of regular practice. Be sure to stress the advantages they’ll receive, such as achieving better posture while sitting at a desk, gaining better focus, or using breathing techniques to manage stress.
Yoga is for Everyone
With so many styles of yoga out there, it’s also important to educate employees about the types of yoga classes that could work best in a company environment, and then survey your employees to find out what yoga classes they would prefer. Body Techniques’ corporate yoga programs, for example, offer movement and meditation to help employees de-stress and experience calm awareness both on and off the mat. Employees leave refreshed, relaxed, and resilient. Beginner classes provide fundamentals of poses and breathing, correct alignment, and ways to adapt the pose to each person’s needs. Yoga Therapeutics address issues like injury recovery and chronic pain, and Vini Yoga is a therapeutic-style technique that is carefully sequenced to help employees learn how to transform the neuromuscular patterns in their body into a more relaxed state. The beauty of this approach is that participants can make the class as challenging or restorative as they like, since there are many ways to adapt each pose. More experienced employees might prefer a more vigorous class with flowing poses that build heat, strength, and stamina, or a Hatha yoga class that releases tension through long-held yoga poses and focused breathwork.
Perhaps the strongest reason for incorporating yoga into your corporate wellness program is the ease with which yoga classes can be implemented with a minimum of resources. All you need are floor mats and a group of willing participants with a strong desire for a healthier, more fulfilled life.
Yoga teaches us to move in ways that realign posture, help release tension, and promote more functional movement patterns. While modern technology offers countless benefits, the fact remains that many employees spend hours sitting in front of computers, and the repetitive movement patterns that digital devices demand can cause neck and shoulder strain, back problems, and a shallow breathing pattern that drains employees’ energy levels. Workplace yoga classes are booming because they are a low-cost, preventive healthcare measure, and when done right, yoga can be the key to a winning corporate wellness program.
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