This article first appeared on www.zenyogastrap.com
Today, unique company benefits are quickly becoming the norm. Many employees no longer see these benefits as luxuries offered only at cutting-edge companies – they expect them and might even see them as the deciding factor in choosing which company to work for. Among a plethora of employee benefits like ping-pong tables and cooking classes, workplace yoga is gaining unprecedented popularity and is being offered at numerous corporations, such as Apple, A&E|Lifetime, POSSIBLE, IFC, the World Bank, and HBO, to name just a few.
Why are so many companies willing to spend big bucks on providing workplace yoga? After all, it takes away precious working hours, and a yoga instructor along with all the yoga equipment aren’t cheap. Why would companies spend valuable resources to encourage employees to exercise?
Maybe the right question to ask is rather: why shouldn’t we destress employees right where they feel the most stressed – the workplace?
Reduce workplace stress
In addition to improving flexibility and physical fitness, yoga has been known to be one of the most effective exercises in reducing stress. Studies by the American Heart Association have found that those who do yoga regularly are happier and calmer than those who don’t. Yoga also significantly improves productivity, efficiency and concentration, at the same time boosting creativity and innovation. This in turn increases job satisfaction, mindfulness, and improves the general wellbeing of employees.
Many yoga practices focus on Pranayama, the regulation of the breath through certain techniques and exercises. The importance and multiple benefits of breathing exercises are often overlooked for their seeming simplicity, and unjustly so. According to the National Institute of Health, Pranayama not only helps reduce blood pressure through relaxing the muscles, but also improves mental concentration, provides pain relief and induces the feeling of well-being by triggering the release of endorphins. Deep breathing exercises also help the lymphatic system work properly, which in turn encourages the release of harmful toxins.
It is obvious, then, why companies are willing to provide workplace yoga – it reduces employee turnover and produces happier, more satisfied employees with higher productivity and enhanced creativity. Everyone loves a win-win situation, and workplace yoga is just the thing you need to improve both company culture and the overall productivity of the organization.