The Benefits of Yoga in the workplace

Author : Elsa Rodrigues

These days it’s commonplace to see people walking around with a yoga mat on their back. Yoga has become one of the more popular wellbeing activities in the workplace, and in daily life of many of us.  These are all strong indicators of the benefits it is having on people’s lives

At Spectrum.Life, it’s one of the most commonly booked classes among our clients. Let’s look at the reasons why.

First of all… why not?

Yoga classes are one of the easiest fitness classes to run onsite. All you need is a good teacher, a small room and some mats. It’s easy for employees too, because unlike other higher intensity classes, you don’t work up as much of a sweat, so there’s no urgent need to hit the showers after!

The physical benefits

The physical benefits of having regular workplace yoga classes are well known. Yoga helps you to increase your flexibility and strength, which ultimately leads to improved mobility, muscle tension release and posture. Ultimately, Yoga is a form of physical therapy and whether your employees spend most of their sitting or standing, it will help to undo a lot of the strain their work environment puts on their bodies.

Yoga can be especially helpful for people working desk-jobs or those working in Retail. Typically, people working in roles like this can experience carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back pain, inflammation of the shoulders and even headaches and migraines. All of these ailments can cause absenteeism and significantly reduced productivity, but they can also be managed and even prevented by Yoga.

The mind & the nervous system

The effects Yoga has on the mind and the nervous system are more subtle, but their impact is just as strong. These effects come from the breathing techniques that are associated with Yoga and are more obvious to the participant when they start to realise the connection between their breath and their movement.

It’s a common teaching in mental health practice and Yoga practice that how you breathe impacts how you feel and that how you feel impacts how you behave and react. The Yoga breathing performed during a class, which is a slow and controlled breath, will bring the body down from “fight or flight” mode to “rest and digest” mode.

The “fight or flight” mode is the body’s reaction to stress, danger, emotions. The physical signs are typically fast breathing and increased heart rate, which are the result of a release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline into the system. We all know these as symptoms of stress or anxiety.

It goes without saying that even if we love our jobs, stress often goes hand in hand with work. From examining the mental benefits of Yoga, it’s easy to see why it’s a good idea to include it in a wellbeing programme.

Yoga helps us to develop self-control skills through simple and achievable techniques that are transferable from the Yoga mat to the workplace, and all areas of life. The benefits will begin to have a ripple effect on work life and home life. With more control and less emotional exhaustion, the employee will have the capacity to improve performance at work and avoid burning out.