As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than ever are struggling with their mental and physical health. For many organisations this situation is creating uncertainty and impacting businesses and employees in a number of ways. Since the beginning of the lockdown, the lucky ones who kept their jobs are now unable to implement boundaries between work and home lives.
There is a growing body of research to back up yoga’s mental health benefits and in my personal experience more than ever people are looking to incorporate yoga in their lives as a tool for self-development, not only to rip physical benefits.
80% of people undertaking Yogatherapy at Blue House Yoga, enquired with work-related problems. Yogatherapy a technic using the continuous practice of yoga, breathing exercises and one-to-one talk therapy, CBT based.
As we move forward it is crucial to establish a healthy work-life balance in order to lead well-rounded and fulfilled lives, managers and business owners are not always able to tackle emotional issues but research commissioned by Mind.org suggests that work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives. They surveyed 2,000 people and found that over half of managers (56%) said they would like to do more to improve staff mental wellbeing but they needed more training and/ or guidance and 46% said they would like to do more but it is not a priority in their organisation.
Yoga has the potential to promote long-term improvement to work-life balance and real positive change rather than quick-fixes. Below some strategies to implement the practice in peoples lives.
Format: Online Yoga
Working online enables teachers to charge a fraction of what they would in a face to face environment. This is not a new concept, take for example "MasterClass" the educational platform in which anyone can afford lectures pre-recorded by experts in various fields including Martin Scorsese for example. But the problem of pre-recorded sessions is that it does not allow engagement and that is why online tools fail to hook most of us because it does not offer the real human interaction and feedback, so when offering online yoga classes chose the ones in which real-time interaction is possible.
Continued yoga practice improves self-awareness and invites mindfulness which will help organise the priorities of life and nurture gratitude.
Chose a teacher that implement spirituality in their sessions. Albeit we are in 2020, streaming yoga classes via zoom it's always good to remember that yoga is not a physical exercise, but a spiritual practice, the physicality is a bonus.
Combining Yoga & Psychology
To effectively help different work cultures and to implement long term positive improvement in both your workplace and home life, I started implementing principles of psychology when delivering my online sessions. Psychology is an approach that helped me to translate and amplify many of the principles of yoga to my clients. From the beginning of my career, people looking for my services were not precisely the typical 'creative type', much opposite, I work closely with clients that had success in their careers for being analytical and data-driven. It is pointless to mention passages of the 'Bhagavad Gita' when trying to convey the importance of spirituality to a lawyer at his lunchtime! But I notice that it was much easier to grab their attention if during my sessions, for instance, I mentioned Maslow's hierarchy of needs that has at the bottom of the priority our need for self-actualization.
Despite my personal interest in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, I thought it was more adequate to first pursue qualification as a CBT therapist to address problems at the workplace. Last year I completed a level 5 CBT course with distinction and for 2021 I plan to finish my research in the effects of yoga on the symptoms of anxiety. This research combines my passions and is a requirement that I must meet in order to conclude my BSc in psychology with the University of Derby.
CBT is an effective and relatively quick method for managing anxiety whilst yoga is highly transformative but gradual in nature and progression in the practice takes time. Therefore they are complementary.
Bringing Yoga to the Workplace
Ensuring you have a healthy work/life balance is the responsibility of the individual as much as the employer. In fact, employers who promote mental and emotional harmony and flexibility in the workplace boost their team’s motivation, productivity and retention. Studies have shown that employers who offer flexible working benefit from a 75% reduction in recruitment costs and sickness absence rates also fall by 25%.
This is a result of individuals being able to manage their own time and incorporate self-care to boost mental health and refresh the body and mind. It is important to remember that work is just as important as life; it installs purpose and also provides a sense of importance and belonging.
When it is not possible to have flexible hours in your workplace online yoga becomes even more attractive as it can be accessed from home but still as a team what boosts social satisfaction and reinforces the feeling of belonging to a group. Studies show that companies that provide team-building activities have an 85% improvement in internal communication, increased creativity and employee satisfaction. This is because the activities invite social engagement and reduce stress from the workplace.
Online yoga stimulates cognition, self-esteem and reduces anxiety. Yoga and CBT can teach your staff how to change their perceptions and see their cups, indeed as half full.
To know more about bringing daily online yoga into your workplace, or to find out more about our wellness strategies request today your brochure.
Daniela da Silva