Yoga at work – benefits of a happy, healthy workforce
Yoga is often dismissed as nothing more than prolonged stretching, deep breathing, and perhaps a little “hoo-do-voodoo”. I know I used to think so. Once upon a time I would have berated myself for opting for something as serene as yoga over a run, a pole session, or a HIIT workout. But yo’ better believe that yoga has a place in everyone’s lives, and more so now than ever before.
The practice of yoga can result in physical benefits such as improved posture, core strength, flexibility and circulation. It can also relieve tension and help you manage stress on a day-to-day basis. The benefits of yoga enjoyed by individuals are also being recognised by proactive workplaces for the positive flow-on effects it can have on their businesses. A happy and healthy workforce is an effective and efficient workforce, and enhanced employee health and wellbeing can result in greater productivity through reduced need for sick days and/or mental health days.
I can gratefully say that now I practice Yoga with Kym every Tuesday during my lunch break, along with a bunch of work colleagues. It’s an opportunity to get outside the office, and, in the warmer months, enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.
Kym introduced me to yoga about a year ago, so I’ve asked her to share some of her wisdom and insight about the ancient practice.
What’s yoga all about?
Yoga is a journey of discovery and union of the body, mind, emotions and spirit. The focus is on proper exercise, proper breathing, proper diet, proper relaxation, positive thinking and meditation.
It’s a practice everyone can enjoy and benefit from. My philosophy is that, if you can breath, you can do yoga.
What are the top 5 benefits of yoga?
- Body, mind, spirit connection
- Release of tension and stress
- Improved flexibility and circulation
- Improved posture and breathing
- Improved core strength.
What’s your yoga story?
I first discovered yoga in 1998, while on a working holiday in the UK. At the time I was a busy PA to an investment banker in London. I felt a bit lost and unfulfilled.
It was in my very first yoga class where I had the ‘ah-ha!’ moment. Finding my inner peace and light within, I knew that I had experienced something profound and life changing. I wondered then if others could benefit as I did, so I completed teacher training at an ashram in England in 2001.
Since my initial training I have completed various courses and workshops both in Australia and overseas. I am also a meditation teacher, reiki master and pranic healer. I have been teaching yoga for over 13 years now.
Have you noticed changes in people’s perceptions of yoga over the years?
I remember when I first starting teaching, a lot of people had the perception that yoga was a religion or even a cult. In fact, I was asked to leave a local community hall after they noticed large gatherings of people chanting ‘oms’ and burning incense at one of my classes!
A lot has changed in the world now, with celebrities taking to yoga and meditation and paving the way for others to explore this ancient practice. Yoga is huge business now, a billion-dollar industry with online classes 24/7, and it’s widely accepted and appreciated.
What are your thoughts on the “workplace wellness” movement?
Its wonderful to see the corporate world starting to embrace yoga too. I am inspired to improve others’ quality of life through and yoga and meditation practices. It’s a win-win situation for everyone with reduced stress, enhancing wellness, greater productivity and maintaining mental alertness — so that people can perform, feel, look and remain, well.
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