In recent time, I have seen a growing number or companies that organize yoga events for their employees. In fact, I have been invited to conduct several such events or camps for corporate entities myself so I can personally vouch for this growing trend of yoga in India. This attempt to improve wellbeing, reduce stress, and improve mental and physical health outcomes of employees is commendable.
Why Companies are Interested in Yoga
Increasingly, corporations are realizing the importance of good health and wellness, because healthy people are happy people. Happy and healthy people fall ill less frequently, take fewer leaves, and are more productive for the organization. The fitness solution has to be one that every type of employee can adopt – young or old, fit or unfit. And this has to be a fitness mantra that works to increase mental as well as physical wellbeing while helping to reduce stress, which is present to a lesser or larger extent in most workplaces.
For all these reasons, corporates find that yoga is the best solution. It is a gentle, low impact, and holistic mind-body solution. Another positive aspect of yoga is that it can be performed by large numbers of people in unison. This makes it a bonding activity for the workforce to participate in together. Even health insurance premia can reduce as a result of doing regular yoga; another benefit to corporates.
Beating Workplace Stress With Yoga and Pranayam
Experts recognize the fact that an unhealthy workforce is a low-morale, low-productivity workforce. Researchers are finding more and more evidence that stress is a silent killer and work related stress is among the most common types of stress today. Hence, companies such as Maruti Suzuki, Intel, Infosys and Snapdeal, as well as government entities such as the Indian Railways are embracing yoga. They have camps where yoga instructors introduce the basics of yoga and pranayam to company employees and then try to make it a part of their corporate culture. This is seen to have a directly positive impact on lowering risk of illness and improving disease consequences and symptom management.
According to psychiatrist and psychotherapist Dr. Manoj Dey, as many as 60% to 70% executives who visit major hospitals for treatment have some or other stress related disease. The number of patients from the corporate world continues to rise each year, it is seen. This is why companies try interventions such as yoga camps to try and increase awareness and create a fitter workplace. We have also seen traditional yoga tweaked to suit various requirements. For instance, those who travel a lot can learn some flight yoga positions. BPO workers with cramped work-stations and stressful jobs dealing with irate customers can benefit from seated yoga, breathing exercises and basic stretches.
More Needs to Be Done
While I generally see a spike in corporate interest in yoga round June (International Yoga Day falls in June) this interest ebbs after the event. Many companies don’t fully understand the benefits of creating a wellbeing policy that includes a culture of yoga. They see it as little more than a mandatory HR policy and an unnecessary extra expense. However, the statistics show that the costs involved are far outweighed by the benefits of yoga. This is the bottom line – and the bottom line is something that any corporate head honcho will be able to understand!