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(1/3) Can Yoga Boost Workplace Productivity?

Updated: Jul 12


People doing yoga

This is an excellent opportunity for HR professionals to explore how practicing Yoga or participating in a Stretch and Mindfulness class can enhance employee well-being and productivity. This post highlights the importance of Yoga (Stretching), dispels common Yoga myths, and promotes the integration of Yoga or Stretching practices in workplaces. Understanding the benefits and breaking down misconceptions, you can create a healthier, more productive work environment.


International Day of Yoga at work?


International Day of Yoga, celebrated on June 21, is a global event emphasizing yoga's importance in promoting holistic health. Initiated by India and endorsed by the United Nations, this day encourages people around the world to engage in yoga practices that enhance physical and mental well-being. For workplaces, celebrating this day is a chance to introduce employees to yoga, fostering a culture of health and well-being.


What's in a name? Everything !


In Australia, Yoga conjures up all sorts of preconceptions, ranging from Yoga being a religious cult, to exclusively for foreigners, to hippies, you need to be flexible, and so on.

The challenge for HR professionals in the workplace is for whatever wellness initiative is being put forward, to be inclusive of all cultural backgrounds. That’s why our recommendation is to replace the word Yoga with, Stretch and Mindfulness.


Though in the delivery of such an initiative, engage your local Yoga instructor!


What are the health benefits of practicing Yoga (Stretching)?


Card on a window sill with "mindfulness" as the written word on it.

For now, and for the sake of the article, let's keep using the word 'Yoga'.


Physical well-being


Yoga offers numerous physical benefits, including improved flexibility, strength, and posture. Regular yoga practice can alleviate common workplace ailments such as back pain and repetitive strain injuries. By incorporating yoga into a routine, employees can experience significant improvements in their physical health, leading to a more energized and healthier workforce.


Mental clarity and peace


The mental benefits of yoga are profound. Through mindfulness and meditation practices, yoga helps reduce stress and anxiety, fostering mental clarity and emotional resilience. Employees who practice yoga regularly often report improved concentration, better decision-making abilities, and a greater sense of calm, which are crucial for maintaining productivity in a high-pressure work environment.


Spiritual fulfilment


Yoga provides a sense of inner peace and connection, enhancing personal fulfillment without requiring adherence to any specific religious beliefs. This spiritual aspect of yoga promotes harmony and unity within oneself, translating to increased job satisfaction and a more harmonious workplace.


3 Myths and misconceptions about Yoga


Despite its benefits, yoga is often surrounded by myths and misconceptions, particularly in cultures where it is less familiar. Here are three common misconceptions:

  1. Yoga is a religion: Yoga is a practice, not a religion. While it has spiritual elements, it does not require practitioners to adopt any particular religious beliefs. It is inclusive and accessible to everyone, regardless of their faith.

  2. Yoga is only for the flexible and fit: Yoga is for everyone, regardless of fitness level or body type. Beginners can start with basic poses (asanas) and gradually build their strength and flexibility. The practice can be adapted to suit individual needs and capabilities.

  3. Yoga requires expensive gear: All you need to start practicing yoga is a comfortable space and a mat. It does not require costly equipment or attire, making it an affordable wellness activity.


How does yoga boost workplace productivity?


Incorporating yoga into the workplace can lead to significant improvements in productivity.

According to research from the 'Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health' indicates that consistent yoga practice can enhance mental focus and workplace productivity by as much as 25%.

Yoga enhances physical health, reducing sick days and improving energy levels. Mentally, it helps employees manage stress and maintain focus, leading to better performance and fewer errors. The practice also fosters a sense of community and teamwork, which can enhance overall job satisfaction, collaboration with co-workers, and customer care.


Encouraging employees to do Yoga (Stretch) at the workplace


Onsite classes/workshops


Organise Stretch & Mindfulness Classes (Yoga) workshops to introduce employees to the practice. These sessions can be led by professional instructors who can guide beginners through the basics and tailor the practice to suit various fitness levels. Workshops provide an interactive and engaging way for employees to start their wellness journey.


Virtual participation options


For remote or hybrid workplaces, offer virtual Stretch and Mindfulness (Yoga) Class sessions. These can be live-streamed or pre-recorded, allowing employees to participate at their convenience. Virtual options make these classes accessible to all employees, regardless of their location, ensuring everyone can benefit from this practice.


Recapping, what is in a name?


Labeling the initiative “Stretch and Mindfulness Classes” rather than a "Yoga Session" can help overcome any skepticism. Focus on the health and productivity benefits, emphasizing that the practice is about personal well-being rather than any spiritual or religious connotations. This approach can make the program more appealing to a broader audience.


Conclusion


Celebrating International Day of Yoga at the workplace is a step towards fostering a healthier, more productive work environment. By dispelling myths and highlighting the extensive benefits of yoga, HR professionals can encourage employees to embrace this practice. The result is a workplace where employees feel physically rejuvenated, mentally clear, and spiritually fulfilled, ultimately driving enhanced productivity and job satisfaction.


Next steps…


Part 2 of this article will contain some practical tips for implementing your own Stretch and Mindfulness Class in the workplace. This will include:

  • Funding

  • Local partnerships

  • Company champions

  • Fostering workplace community


Part 3 of this article includes tips on reinforcing this initiative at home.

  • Importance of sleep

  • Tools

  • Subscriptions

  • Youtube as a resource


 

About Anista Employee Benefits: We aim to facilitate workplace employee benefits and well-being initiatives that are both sustainable and meaningful to employees. The result, a more engaged workplace community, and a happier place to work. If you would like to start a conversation on how Anista may be of service, I invite you to reach out. ~ Dujon - Founder.

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