Yoga In The Workplace – Spark Response say Namaste!
Our lovely client Yogamatters kindly arranged for a yoga instructor to visit Spark at the end of September. The session was organised to give Spark employees a chance to experience yoga using Yogamatters products. Plus, as Spark always strive to provide the best possible working environment for our staff, we thought that yoga would be a great way to improve employee wellbeing. So, what are the three main benefits of bringing yoga to the workplace?
- Reduced Back Pain
If you work in an office, the chances are you have experienced back pain from sitting at your desk all day. A study conducted for the Occupational Medicine journal in 2012 proved this by splitting employees into two groups, the first group were given a yoga lesson each week and the second group were not given yoga lessons. The first group (who had participated in yoga) reported significantly less back pain and lower stress levels, whereas the second group (who didn’t partake in yoga) did not notice any changes. As absence due to back problems costs British employers more than £3 billion each year, it is now more important to bring yoga to the workplace than ever!
- Improved Mental and Physical Wellbeing
The NHS reported that yoga may reduce symptoms of depression when it is practiced over a significant period of time. Yoga also reduces the physical effects of stress on the body. By encouraging relaxation, yoga helps to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia.
- Gains in Productivity
Numerous studies have proven that yoga can improve concentration and overall productivity. A great example of this is the US-based Insurance company Aetna, who offer free yoga classes to their 55,000 employees and have reported annual savings of $2,000 (£1,520) per head in healthcare costs and a $3,000 (£2,280) gain per person in productivity. The yoga sessions have significantly improved how employees feel health-wise which has directly impacted productivity levels.
Feedback from the Session
The yoga instructor went through some basic yoga poses that allowed people to push themselves as much as they wished and finished with some relaxation exercises. Spark employees thoroughly enjoyed the yoga session, particularly because the lesson catered to those who are experienced at yoga and those who had never tried it before. One of our employees said:
“It was a very relaxing gentle session combining relaxation and exercise that suited my needs and capabilities. It made me focus on me and I found it a very positive experience.”
Another participant said “I felt a bit apprehensive as I hadn’t done any sort of yoga class before, so this was my first experience. I was pleasantly surprised and I’m really glad I joined in. It was nice to be surrounded by a group of people who were at different levels and our teacher was great – she adapted the class to suit everyone. Using some of the main props such as blocks, belts and blankets also gave a great insight in to why they’re used during classes and how they can benefit your practice. A great class all round.”
Spark would love to continue offering yoga after work to improve our employee’s wellbeing – watch this space!