Yoga is a 5,000-year-old practice that combines meditation, focused breathing, and mindful movement. While the concept of yoga is nothing new, there has been a recent shift towards incorporating these principles in the workplace through office yoga. We were thrilled to launch our own office yoga program, NamaStratEx, in April!
Backed by science
Most people who have taken a yoga class experience a wide range of benefits from their practice, and these benefits not only lead to improved work performance, they are backed up by a multitude of scientific research.
Enhanced physical well-being
Yoga can improve employees’ physical fitness through increased flexibility and physical strength. Many people may believe that they cannot do yoga because they are not flexible. However, these very people can benefit the most from yoga because it will improve their flexibility! The combination of increased strength that comes from holding yoga postures and bodyweight exercises, combined with stretching to lengthen muscles, leads to significant improvement in physical fitness.
Lowered muscle tension
Back pain is one of the most common workplace complaints for people with desk jobs, but practicing yoga can relieve head, neck and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, insomnia, high blood pressure, and more. An 8-week study gave one group a 50-minute yoga class once a week while a control group did not practice yoga. The yoga group reported significantly less back pain and lower stress than the control group, as well as greater self-assurance and concentration.
Practicing meditation and yoga can improve employee morale, job satisfaction, and concentration. In a study of 160 engineers in India, half of employees practiced yoga for one hour daily, while the other half heard lectures in management theory and engaged in light exercise. At the end of 10 weeks, the yoga group showed significantly improved positivity compared to the control group, as well as lowered levels of counterproductive work activities.
Starting off my work week with a calming yoga class is just the right ingredient towards a productive, relaxed mindset!” -StratExian Chelsea Garot
Less stress, more energy
It is not always possible to completely avoid or eliminate stress, and some stress is not always a bad thing. However, yoga provides techniques for employees to more effectively manage stress and has been shown to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Not only do employees get a break from work-related or personal sources of anxiety during a yoga class, they also gain tools to react more calmly in demanding situations off the mat. Studies in the Journal of Occupational Psychology and the Journal of Occupational Medicine have shown that stress reduction programs, such as meditation and yoga programs, have been effective in reducing work-related strain and can improve employees’ energy levels and sleep quality over time.
Office yoga is such a fun way to bring each team together, strengthen bonds and release stress after a long day! I leave feeling rejuvenated.” -StratExian CJ Inglin
Improve your company’s bottom line
High levels of emotional stress in the workplace, along with muscle pain and other physical ailments, can interfere with employees’ performance, productivity, and overall well-being. By providing employees the tools to cope with emotional stress and physical tension that can build up throughout the workday, organizations who offer office yoga actually end up improving upon their bottom line.
Doing yoga after work is a great way to unwind, relax and reverse the negative effects of sitting at a computer all day! It’s also fun to bond coworkers together outside of your typical happy hour event.” -StratExian Emily Quinn
NamaStratEx gives back
An office yoga program is a great way to encourage a healthy lifestyle, demonstrate to employees that you are invested in their well-being, and even give back to the community. For example, as part of our StratEx Serves initiative, all of our yoga classes are donation-based, and all donations go directly to a cause of employees’ choosing.
Low barrier to entry
Along with these significant benefits, office yoga requires very little equipment and can be done just about anywhere. The only things you truly need are a certified instructor and mats for employees to practice on. Employees who are yoga experts can practice alongside beginner students, and employees can also learn several basic postures and then practice on their own while traveling, on their lunch break, or at home.
Many organizations and individual instructors focus solely on providing yoga in an office setting, so whether you are looking to expand your existing wellness program or simply provide a physical and mental benefit to your employees, consider giving office yoga a try.
Latest posts by Madeline McDonnell (see all)
- Ask StratEx HR: Drinking at the Office – A Recipe for Disaster? - June 22, 2017
- Why Your Workplace Needs Yoga - May 18, 2017
- Is It Time to Rethink your Performance Review Strategy? - February 18, 2016