Yoga in the workplace is good for business, and that’s why hugely successful organisations like Virgin, Nike, Google, HBO, Forbes and Apple, along with scores of other Fortune 500 companies, consider them essential additions to their employee wellness programmes.
And it’s not just larger companies who reap the rewards. Yoga helps any sized business, in any industry – just as it helps all people, regardless of age, ability, gender or body type. Investing in regular classes promises to keep employees engaged and enthusiastic while reducing sick days brought on by poor mental and physical health.
“Stress-reduction and mindfulness don’t just make us happier and healthier, they’re a proven competitive advantage for any business that wants one.” – Arianna Huffington
Five benefits of yoga in the workplace
Fewer sick days from burnout and work-related stress
Every year, burnout costs businesses millions of pounds due to sick days, workplace accidents and reduced productivity.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines burnout as a syndrome linked to chronic work stress, and in 2018 it impacted 595,000 people in the UK alone. Those who suffer experience exhaustion, mental detachment from their jobs and difficulty completing basic tasks.
The boom in burnout isn’t surprising. Nowadays, we live increasingly hectic lives, juggling careers, partners, children, ageing parents, finances and health. Alongside this mounting responsibility, comes crippling anxiety that leaves people struggling to function and feel their best. It’s an epidemic that caused approximately 14.1 million sick days in the UK in 2018.
We need a cure, fast.
To remedy the situation, a growing number of employers, encouraged by waves of positive research, are using yoga and mindfulness practices improve their employees’ mental health.
The research includes this 2015 study published in the Workplace Health & Safety journal, which set out to examine the efficacy of yoga to improve self-care and reduce exhaustion among nurses. The results found that nurses who performed a weekly yoga session for eight weeks experienced substantial reductions in warning signs for burnout – they also reported higher levels of self-care, less fatigue and more intimate and caring relationships with their patients.
Alleviates back pain
One of the main reasons people start yoga is to help with back pain, which is also the most common complaint from people with desk jobs.
It’s no mystery why office workers suffer so terribly (I feel your pain – I’ve been there). They often spend long periods, without breaks, sitting at desks and jutting their heads forwards, which has led to a very unpleasant condition called tech neck. As well as this, sitting all day causes the psoas muscle (a deep-seated core muscle connecting the lumbar vertebrae to the femur) to tighten. All this contributes to poor posture and weak, crumpled back muscles – and when you’re managing this kind of discomfort, it’s impossible to focus on anything else!
Fortunately, yoga focuses on strengthening and lengthening these muscles while restoring the body’s natural range of movement. With a few simple postures, employees can find immediate relief from these distressing aches and pains. There’s even some research to suggest that yoga may be as effective as physiotherapy for lower back pain!
Boosts energy levels
Yoga promotes flexibility, balance, strength and relaxation, but did you know it also boosts energy levels? It’s time to swap your morning cappuccino for a few rounds of cat/cow.
Firstly, any form of regular activity, including postural yoga, boosts endorphins (one of our happy hormones), cardiovascular health, endurance, the chances of high-quality sleep, aerobic fitness levels (linked to cognitive function) and much, much more.
In terms of how yoga specifically impacts vitality, take a look at this University of London study, which found that yoga “power poses” (open, expansive postures such as backbends) gave participants a healthy dose of energy and self-esteem.
“As a longtime practitioner of yoga and a person who’s been involved in physical fitness my whole life, I can tell you, yoga helps you achieve altered states of consciousness. It is not just stretching. The only way you can say that it’s stretching is if you haven’t done it, or that you haven’t done it rigorously for a long period of time.” – Joe Rogan
Makes your team more creative
There’s some exciting research suggesting postural yoga, as well as other forms of exercise, improves our ability to think creatively.
Physical activity stimulates the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus – the region responsible for imagination and story-telling. It’s also the realm of hypothetical thinking, which is crucial for assessing potential outcomes and managing risk.
Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, also encourage a fertile state of empty-mindedness and boost alpha brain waves. These brain waves are associated with “the zone”, the magical place where we’re able to perform tasks skilfully and efficiently, without force.
Improves team spirit and morale
Nothing brings people closer together than making it through a sweaty and stretchy yoga class – honestly, it’s the perfect opportunity for employees to bond in a relaxed setting where everyone is equal.
There’s no hierarchy or competition, everyone is doing their best, and people are rooting for one another – it’s a microcosm of the kind of workplace environment you want to create for your team.
“I truly believe that if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.” – Richard Branson
Want to book a corporate yoga class?
Please provide the following information:
- Are you looking for a morning, lunchtime or after work class? How frequently?
- What’s your preferred days and time?
- Is this a one off class for a corporate event?
- How many employees do you have?
- Are you looking for a specific kind of class (relaxation based, fitness focused)?
Once you’ve provided these details, I’ll get back to you with prices and any other information you’ve requested.
As well as yoga in the workplace, I also offer private one-to-one lessons at your location.