While some stress is normal, too much stress can lead to major health problems like depression and heart disease. With that in mind, more and more companies are offering on-site yoga classes for their employees, because yoga is a scientifically proven way to reduce stress and anxiety. The physical postures help reduce tension, alleviate pain, and promote flexibility.
People who practice yoga at work during lunch break or during their free time are discovering many of its benefits.
How do I know if I have burnout?
Burnout is a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged or excessive stress. When you’re burned out, you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet the constant demands of your work and personal life.
Burnout saps your energy, lowers your productivity, and often leaves you feeling helpless, cynical, and resentful. It has many symptoms, such as difficulty sleeping, irritation, anxiety, memory problems, depression, and irritable bowel syndrome.
The negative effects of burnout spill over into other areas of life, including how you deal with others, so it’s important to deal with burnout as soon as you identify it.
How does yoga prevent burnout?
Yoga is a mind-body practice that can help prevent and treat burnout and other mental health problems. Here are some ways yoga helps a person beat burnout:
- It relaxes the mind. Through regular yoga practice, you develop increased awareness, mindfulness, and concentration while performing tasks.
- Yoga reduces stress and anxiety. Research shows that yoga can help with depression.
- It promotes correct posture and controlled breathing, which helps reduce heart rate – a common anxiety symptom.
- Yoga keeps your mind and body active, which enhances your self-esteem and overall sense of well-being.
- Yoga can help keep the balance between your body’s stress and relaxation responses, which lead to improved mood and reduced anxiety.
How Can Workplace Yoga Benefit Organizations?
Work is one of the most common causes of stress. Long shifts, sedentary habits, poor body posture, and daily demands of work affect employees’ health, and poor employee health can cost employers in terms of healthcare expenses, absenteeism, and productivity.
Below are some of the key benefits of workplace yoga in organizations.
More energy around the office
On-site yoga classes are an effective way to beat mid-day slumps. As stress levels go down, energy levels improve. Even a quick 10-minute daily yoga practice can help employees gain the strength and energy they need to survive long hours of work.
Instead of resorting to unhealthy mechanisms to cope with stress such as snacking on junk food or smoking, employees can be given an option to practice yoga.
Increased focus and productivity
It may seem counterproductive to allocate thirty minutes or so to workplace yoga. However, the benefits go beyond this period. As discussed earlier, this mind-body practice has short and long-term health benefits.
According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, employees who practice yoga demonstrated an increase in productivity.
Improved physical and mental health
We know that yoga increases concentration, lowers stress, and improves energy. That said, it isn’t surprising that practicing yoga more often can improve one’s health and well-being. Yoga can alleviate many health issues like insomnia, high blood pressure, and even issues of depression.
Tips for incorporating yoga into your workplace
Yoga is one of the most effective yet least expensive wellness initiatives that every organization can have. Even setting up a yoga studio at the office is inexpensive, because yoga doesn’t require much equipment.
Here are some tips for introducing yoga to your workplace:
- Choose a spot where yoga sessions can be held.
If you don’t have a dedicated room for it, see if you can use the conference or meeting room for yoga sessions. You may also consider renting a nearby room, if you don’t have an option for a yoga space inside the office. Don’t forget to create a relaxing atmosphere by switching off the bright overhead lighting and using lamps instead.
- Educate your staff about the health benefits of yoga.
Encourage them to participate by raising awareness about it. Additionally, hire a professional yoga instructor that will lead yoga sessions.
- Schedule on-site yoga sessions during a time when everyone can participate, preferably in the morning.
Often by the afternoon, or even late morning, people are engaged in projects that may cause them to skip yoga. If you schedule yoga sessions at the start of the workday, that can work best. If mornings are not possible, another option is lunchtime classes, which are ideal for organizations with predictable and uninterrupted hour-long lunch breaks. Remember, though, yoga is great regardless of when you manage to fit it into your day.
- Keep the yoga studio clean.
Ensure that all yoga equipment is properly sanitized. Encourage employees to clean their mats before and after use and make sure there are plenty of disinfecting wipes available to accommodate that.
- Consider tackling common in-work issues with the yoga instructor.
For example, if most of your employees complain about back pain or low energy, you can ask the instructor to build their classes around those issues.
- Incentivize employee participation by rewarding them with healthy drinks and snacks.
- Gather employee feedback.
Encourage your employees to share their experiences on social media platforms to inspire others, and to provide you with direct feedback, so you can make changes to make the program better.
Prioritize your employees’ health and well-being by giving them access to workplace yoga. The health benefits of yoga aren’t short-term. By regularly practicing yoga, you and your employees can be healthier. Yoga is also a great way to de-stress and prevent burnout.
If you’d like direct assistance with learning more about the benefits of yoga, why not book a yoga retreat at Sewall House? We can help you in your yoga journey, and advise you on the best way to create a yoga program for your workplace.