Claire Nettley discusses yoga in the workplace and why you should be doing it!
You’re probably thinking you can’t even fit Yoga in outside of work or on weekends let alone during the day with a bucket load of tasks and a number of clients still to see. However, the vast benefits, simplicity of desk stretches and result of increased productivity might have you thinking twice about a few quick Yoga poses in the comfort of your office or salon.
Yoga is becoming increasingly popular in the workplace with many companies recognising the value of the practice, some even offering classes to their employees to reduce stress and improve corporate wellness during the workday.
One of the many benefits of Yoga is taking time out for yourself — improving brain productivity and developing an awareness of the effects of stress in our lives. Incorporating skills and tools with which to manage this stress can naturally extend the benefits of Yoga from the individual participant to the work environment in which they are contributing.
Some of the vast mental and emotional benefits of regular Yoga practice may include improved concentration, decision-making skills, ability to multi-task, improved alertness, improved productivity and ability to react more calmly in demanding situations. It also helps to reduce costs within the business due to stress-related illnesses and absenteeism.
If that’s not enough to get you or your employee into downward dog, the physical benefits of Yoga are also extensive; it relieves head, neck and back strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, insomnia, high blood pressure and work-related injuries from repetitive motion, and/or lifting and moving objects. This not only reflects positively on what can otherwise be a drab working environment but also creates improved customer service and enhanced employee attitudes while promoting increased wellbeing in the workplace.
Bringing Yoga into your workplace can be as simple as one 30, 45 or 60 minute class up to five times per week. If it’s too much for your after-work routine following the busy holiday season just passed, why not incorporate it into a lunchtime routine?
For those who don’t have the pleasure of Yoga practice at work, here are some of our favourite stretches for a simple in-salon practice but if none of the below is possible on a busy day, a standing quad stretch is your go-to Yoga pose.
The Seated Spinal Twist:
Place your feet firmly on the ground with knees bent, inhale and exhale a few times. Place your right hand on your left knee and as you exhale, twist the upper half of your back towards the left and look out over your left shoulder. Engage your lower abdominals to keep your lower back supported. Stay in this position for a few breaths then repeat on the alternate side.
Simple Forward Fold:
Ensuring both your hips are firmly placed in your chair with both feet flat on the floor, place your hands comfortably on your thighs and inhale. As you exhale, slowly slide your hands down your legs towards your feet. Release after a few deep breaths and repeat throughout the day as required.
Ensuring both your hips are firmly placed in your chair with both feet flat on the floor, inhale and raise both arms up towards the ceiling. Holding on to your left wrist with your right hand, as you exhale lean towards the right so you experience a lateral stretch down the left side of your body. Hold for 2-3 breaths and repeat on other side.
Claire Nettley is President of Yoga Australia, the national, peak body for yoga teachers and teacher training programs from all traditions and styles. www.yogaaustralia.org.au