How effective is Yoga at work

Updated: Jul 17, 2018, 11:12 IST | mid-day online correspondent

Yoga programmes at work helps one to increases their productivity at work, reduce health costs, improve their vitality, increase a feeling of self-esteem and diminish absenteeism at a workplace

How effective is Yoga at work

Health is the most valuable asset for anyone who has a hectic work life. With a team of healthy employees, any company can grow to the heights and achieve success. Many of the highly successful companies give focused attention on maintaining the health of their loyal employees and organise wellness retreats as reward programmes. A well-designed programme should not only focus on maintaining physical health, but also should target mental and emotional health yoga, breathing and meditation etc. Dr. Manoj Kutteri, Wellness Director at Atmantan says, "Yoga programmes at work helps one to increases their productivity at work, reduce health costs, improve their vitality, increase a feeling of self-esteem and diminish absenteeism at a workplace."

The most common forms of work-related illnesses are

  • Safety-related – due to being non-compliant on safety measures
  • Physical – exposure to radiation, high noise levels etc.
  • Biological – this can be caused by bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or human-borne.
  • Chemicals – usually due to exposure to toxic chemicals or allergens
  • Ergonomics – these are posture related which usually take a longer time to manifest.
  • Psychological – internal or external stress related

In recent times, the prevailing laws and regulations have helped to manage the first 4 of the hazardous reasons to some extent. However, the last two; postural and stress-related incidents are still on the high. This is where yoga works for maintaining health at work.

Physical fatigue and body aches are a common occurrence these days. Most of this can be attributed to lack of movement at a workplace. Sitting is regarded today as the new smoking. Long sitting beyond 6 hours increases the risk of death by up to 40% when compared to those who sit for less than 3 hours. 45 mins of yoga practice every day can greatly reduce the harmful effects of long sitting.

Physical Health

  • Low physical activity is a major health issue among people who work for long hours. Regular practice of yoga can help to prevent metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, to manage stress effectively, to maintain flexibility, to promote mental relaxation and to improve cardiovascular fitness. It also helps in postural corrections which plays a major role in maintaining physical health. Workplace yoga is trending now in many big organizations. Besides yoga, a good positive eating will help boost health and well-being.

Mental Health

  • Mental health includes emotional, psychological and social well-being. Mental health is important in managing the day to day stresses we go through at work. A positive mental health helps us to know our full potential and to work productively to make meaningful contributions. A deranged mental health can give them anxiety and depression-related symptoms. Mental health can be promoted by
  • Developing the positive aspects of work and your strength.

  • Introducing mental practices such as yoga and meditation techniques.

Some of the most common work-related injuries are

  • Wrist/ Hand pain – repetitive strain injury is very common at work especially those who use the computers for long hours
  • Low backache – depending on the nature of work, there can be a huge demand for a stronger back. When they are not strong, one can go into persistent pain on the lower back.
  • Knee aches – Knees and hip are prone to inflammatory pains due to long hours of sitting. Also, it weakens the gluteal muscles. Hips and knees are also more susceptible for injury due to the weight gain among the sedentary working class.
  • Eye pain/ inflammation – those who look at the screens for extended hours can suffer from dryness of the eyes due to blockage of oil-secreting glands.
  • Stomach pain – most of the sedentary jobs causes weak digestion due to minimal physical activity. This, in turn, results into indigestion, hyperacidity, bloating and constipation.
  • Headache – neck stiffness is one of the main cause of most of the work related headaches. Besides this headache can also be induced by poor stress management.

Preventive yoga to manage physical injuries

  • Loosening exercises – one of the most important practice to prevent body ache is to practice loosening exercises for joints. This can start from the toes and progressively move upwards by practicing all possible movements on each joints; flexion, extension, circumflexion etic wherever possible.
  • Cat cow stretch – this incorporation of cat pose and cow pose synchronized with breathing helps in caring the entire back and also it gives the body a good destressing stretch.
  • Tree pose with toe stand –it is huge hip and knee opening practice when performed jointly. It helps to strengthen the abdomen and glutes and also creates strength to maintain good posture.
  • Reclined spinal twist – there are different variations to the spinal twist and they are a great way to squeeze out the day to day stresses and body aches. It stretches the spine, chest, shoulders, and massages the vital organs too.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation – it is a method of inducing deep muscle relaxation by tensing up the muscles and simultaneously relaxing them. It is a great tool in inducing a deep relaxation of the entire body. This method also helps in managing work-related muscle tension that might be causing routine aches and pains.

Mindfulness in the workplace is something of a growing trend. The understanding that work efficiency is optimum when one is happy, physically relaxed, and mentally clear. Yoga is the best way to bring that mindfulness and a workplace yoga class is a relatively simple addition that need not involve great expense.

Stress at workplace today is a major consideration in many organisations and an introduction of yoga at work can be a potential benefit to both employers and the employees. Organisations show a higher productivity when they have a team of less stressful employees. Yoga practices also teach one how to live in the present and to be mindful of their own surroundings.

Yoga improves cardiovascular fitness by lowering resting heart rate and improving oxygen uptake during exercise. The breathing techniques in yoga, known as Pranayama, helps you slow down and deepen your breaths. It is a great tool in promoting stress adaptation by activating the body’s parasympathetic system.

  • Prolonged sitting weaken the spine; regular practice of yoga helps to maintain the natural curvature of the spine and prevent hunch back.
  • Yoga also helps to deal with anxiety and depression, create an inner peace, weight management, improved flexibility and balanced breathing.
  • Yoga helps to increase the energy levels by improving the blood supply to the brain.
  • Sun salutations are great yoga practices that improve the metabolism and prevent most of the musculoskeletal disorders. It also helps to keep the body weight in check.
  • Regular yoga practice helps you recognise your social domain and helps to build great connectivity with the team.

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