It’s no surprise – sitting for long periods of time can have a negative effect on your health. For many of us, a day at work includes slouching over our desks, straining as we look at phones and computers, and tensing our hands as we type and scroll day in and day out. This sedentary lifestyle increases your risk for back pain, anxiety, heart disease, and more. So how do you and your employees combat your desk-bound lifestyle?
Yoga is a 3,000-year-old practice that incorporates breath control, meditation, and physical movement.
Breath control, or pranayama, is the practice of consciously taking very slow, deep breaths. It may feel awkward, but controlled breathing calms your nervous system which reduces anxiety, boosts immunity, and increases concentration. To practice, take a deep breath through your nose to fill your lungs and expand your belly. Pause, then slowly exhale through your mouth for five seconds. It may help to pace your breaths with the GIF below. Feeling relaxed yet?
Meditation is a mental exercise that involves focusing on your breath, and your breath only. For many people, it’s nearly impossible to stop focusing on their to-do lists, even for five minutes. Meditation allows you to pause, recognize what your mind is doing, and then mindfully choose what to think about.
Physically moving from one posture, or asana, to another, is the piece of yoga you’re most likely to be familiar with. These postures include everything from standing, or sitting to twisting or even inverting in a headstand. Asanas increase strength and flexibility, while also encouraging you to focus to move deeper into each pose.
Each of these elements work together to alleviate pain and discomfort, and give employees a refreshed sense of focus for the day. Companies such as Forbes, GE, Apple, and Google recognize the value of yoga, and offer classes to employees to promote overall wellness, but all companies and their employees could greatly benefit from this accessible practice.
The basic benefits of yoga are:
- Alleviates discomfort that comes from sitting all day
- Calms the nervous system
- Helps people manage stressful situations
- Improves posture
- Restores emotional balance
- Improves posture and breath
- Improves focus and mental acuity
Incorporating yoga into your daily work routine is not only good for your health – it is good for your company. A British study found that employees of a government office who participated in one 50-minute yoga class per week reported significantly less back pain, lower stress and heightened self-assurance, serenity, and concentration. The study’s control group, who did not practice yoga, experienced more hostility, sadness, stress, and back pain.
Yoga improves concentration, decreases stress, and increases energy levels. These benefits help employees get more creative, approach their work with a more positive attitude, and clear through mental clutter to meet deadlines and focus on important tasks.
Whether for 15 minutes between tasks, or for a 45-minute lunch break, practicing yoga at work is an excellent way to encourage a healthier lifestyle for your employees, while improving productivity for your company overall.
At Employers Advantage, we now offer Office Yoga as a service! We can meet online or in-person to guide your team through a revitalizing flow to help them press “restart,” both physically and mentally. Reach out to us now to learn more!
– Kate & Deanna