8 tips to successfully introduce Yoga at Work

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As workplace wellness becomes integral to many company’s cultures it’s becoming increasingly important to introduce a health programme which is accessible to everybody & elevates physical and mental wellbeing.

Making holistic wellness part of the company’s culture often requires some creativity and commitment and for obvious reasons many organisations are turning to yoga as a low-cost and easy to roll out solution.

Yoga is a form of mind-body fitness that involves a combination of physical activity and an internally directed mindful focus on awareness of the self, the breath, and energy.(1) This targets strength, balance and flexibility whilst also helping to combat anxiety and assist with depression.

Studies have shown that attending just one weekly yoga session increases overall effectiveness in the workplace and increases positivity in employee behaviour.

For an office environment it has the added benefit of requiring minimal space and and very few resources (just a few mats).  As yoga becomes much more mainstream, employees who would never even consider stepping foot into a yoga studio are giving it a go with very positive results.

The question is how to encourage non-yogis to attend the initial class and how to keep them enthusiastic for more?  Check out these simple tips to get a programme up and running and keep a programme running successfully.

Here are 8 tips to help you get underway:

  • Gain support from management leading by example makes a big difference.
  • Introduce the concept and assess employee’s interest.
  • Find a yoga provider that teaches a class aimed at your employee’s level and ensure that each employee can speak individually with the teacher to discuss any specific requirements.
  • Run a trial yoga class – placing posters up and sending out emails to staff.
  • Gain support from employees and establish programme responsibilities. Eg. If there is one person who is a good social organiser or really enjoyed the trial class get them on board to ignite enthusiasm throughout the team.
  • Get employees thoughts on times and what type of class they would prefer – lunchtime, morning or afternoon, which time and day works best for most people and how much time is available for a class (a 45-60 minute class over a minimum of a 10 week period is a good starting point).
  • If there is not enough or no financial support from management to support the classes find which employees might be interested in attending the classes; many employees pay for the classes themselves or split the costs with management and receive classes that are very cost effective.
  • An optional extra can be to select incentives and rewards.
    A few ideas include healthy lunches or a regular healthy morning tea with the participants, public acknowledgement, time off incentives, a massage,  gift certificates or movie certificates. Most local cafes are happy to contribute an incentive eg. free juice or wrap if you promote their business.

The feedback from organisations that have implemented yoga classes have reported positive business outcomes including happier and more focussed employees, employee retention, increased employee satisfaction and better team-work and productivity.

It is always recommended to utilise a qualified yoga teacher – Seeking a teacher that is Yoga Australia Recognised ensures that teachers offer the highest standard of teaching recognised by the Australian peak body.

(1) Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life, Catherine Woodyard