A guest post | by Carolyn Fallon
Stressed at work?! Who isn’t these days – but after reading about meditation in the workplace, I thought about other ways to bring work mates and I together. A new study from the United Kingdom shows that yoga at work actually helps with stress levels. The study followed 74 British government workers from ages 25 to 64 who took part in 50-minute yoga classes once a week, during lunchtime or after work. Not only did yoga help with back pain, but it actually helped workers get along better too.
When I introduced the idea at my job, only a few people were interested. However, through some magical memos and hype, I was able to get a few more interested in joining a yoga group for 15 minutes once a week in the morning, which eventually became 30 minutes at lunch twice a week. Once people saw others getting into it, they asked questions and found themselves actually experiencing the same benefits as those from the study.
Yoga at Work: Getting Started
One thing that I did first was send out at a memo. It was kind of silly email but it actually had some great poses that everyone could do in the privacy of their office, like the cat-cow stretch and eagle arms. By doing just these little exercises, people got more interested when I sent out a second memo to try some different poses in our carpeted break room.
Benefits of Yoga
News got out around the office about yoga time. Some were skeptical about the effects, but that just made me more determined. I sent out more emails with yoga tips and exercises that people could do at home, as well as what yoga routine we were going to try that week. Since most people sit at a desk most of the day, it helped to tell them how yoga could give them a good workout without having them leave the office. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Glenn Axelrod explains how yoga is an excellent way to increase strength, balance and flexibility, which were all great selling points to my colleagues.
Eventually we moved into an empty conference room that had lots of windows and light. My boss was really supportive, particularly because we included some newer folks at the office, and it made them feel welcome to join in a stress relief activity. It allowed people to take their minds off of work, focus on their bodies and stretch cramped muscles. My manager noticed a difference on days with yoga and days without, and he looked into inviting a real yoga instructor to the office for an after-work meeting.
The Meeting Changed Everything
Managers have a way of getting people to like something, and while I didn’t really want people at my office to be forced into the idea, it was nice to have an instructor around to help with yoga poses and make people feel more comfortable joining in. Even better, my boss was doing the tree pose in his socks and got a laugh trying to balance on one foot. That really settled people and invited more to join in, because it wasn’t about being impressive; it was about doing something together within
the office and relaxing our minds.
Work life is so much easier now that we have yoga together. The conference room is now officially the “yoga place” and we’re encouraged to do yoga every day, though we get together twice a week as an office to do 20 – 50-minute sessions. All in all, yoga truly helped the new people fit in, and the veteran office members also opened up. It
was a great new way that made people less stressed from day to day, while also allowing workers to reap the physical health benefits as well!
This post was written by guest-author Carolyn Fallon, check her out over at: Full-On Fit. Tweet her at @CarolynFallon.
Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor.
What do you think?
Would you do yoga at work?
Have you done yoga at work?
Does your office do any fitness/team building activities together?