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Yoga for Corporate July 27, 2008

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I spent 11 years in Real Estate and Facilities Management so I understand how the corporate world operates and the everyday demands that are placed upon people in organizations expected to perform. Our world is already chaotic and teeming with personal responsibilities without the additional stress from pressure and expectations at work.  There are deadlines to meet, long hours to work, executives and shareholders to impress, projects to juggle, policies and procedures to uphold, pressure to perform and people to make happy.

It’s no wonder people are completely overwhelmed. Stress is killing our society and draining our spirit as a collective whole. Evidence is quickly accumulating to suggest stress is related to cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, psychological disorders, work place injuries, cancer, and impaired immune function. The Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine stated that employees with high levels of stress incur 50% more health care expenses than those without. Think about that for a moment. What is that doing to a company’s bottom line?

Many companies are starting to look at the rise in health care cost, absenteeism, the moods and energy level of their employees, productivity, and work compensation claims. They are looking for solutions and yoga is becoming more and more widespread as a means to address some of these issues. Yoga use to be viewed as “stretching for old people,” but as it’s becoming more mainstream, people are starting to recognize the insurmountable benefits associated with the practice. In fact, Nike, HBO, Forbes, and Apple all see the benefit of yoga and offer on-site classes as a regular employee benefit. 

It’s a lot more than just stretching. It can be physically challenging in a way you wouldn’t expect, as it strengthens, tones and lengthens muscles you wouldn’t normally use in any other exercise regimen. It increases flexibility, promotes cardio and circulatory health, brings mental clarity, sharpens concentration, boosts self-confidence, centers attention, and relieves symptoms of potentially life threatening illnesses; such as arthritis, chronic fatigue, diabetes, asthma, and obesity. There are numerous other benefits, which can be found at the following link, but the bottom line is yoga is an innovative approach to managing stress. 

Companies who bring yoga in to the work place are going to see a team of healthier employees with a happier disposition. Employees will be more rested, have more awareness and will not be as affected by the happenings of the day. They will make better decisions because they will not feel as burdened by their daily responsibilities. They will have more energy throughout the day and will be able to better focus on their projects. They will be more creative and not as distracted. Their communication skills will sharpen. Not only will work performance improve, there will be an increase in the overall effectiveness of the team. Companies will not only boost morale, they will ultimately boost the bottom line.

There’s no reason for corporations to pay a fortune in health insurance premiums and potential claims. Many insurance companies are actually offering reduced rates to organizations who offer some type of wellness program to their employees so check with your provider. Offering yoga as an employee benefit will cost you a nominal amount compared to what you’ll save in the long run and you will have a more harmonious environment for people to perform.

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