More and more, people are dealing with increased stress in the workplace, often stemming from longer hours, higher expectations and unrealistic workloads. According to research, the average person spends one third of their life at work, juggling 30 -100 projects at a time. Four out of ten people working at large companies are even facing major restructuring, being left feeling uncertain about their future.
Perhaps this is why nearly half of adults experience symptoms of stress every day. These symptoms can manifest in our bodies and minds in different ways for everyone, sometimes as insomnia, anxiety, frequent illness and feelings of being overwhelmed. Generally, up to 90% of all illnesses are brought on or highly elevated by stress. Recognizing the prevalence of stress in our culture, perhaps the best remedy would be relaxation and peace of mind. Practicing yoga allows us to find calm and stillness in the mind and body. In moments of distress, we need to be conscious of our own well-being and recognize the importance of pausing to look inward.
Yoga poses are great to strengthen and relax the body, but there’s a lot more to yoga! The goal of yoga is to cultivate health and well-being while harmonizing the body with the mind and breath through the means of various breathing techniques (pranayama), poses (asana) and meditation. Learning to listen to the wisdom of our bodies is a powerful thing. Once we become aware, we find the beauty of taking yoga off the mat and into our daily lives. This could show up for us in many different ways, oftentimes, strengthening our relationships with others and ourselves. When we tune in and begin taking direction from the body, we learn to identify how it feels to experience stress, where that stress is stored and how it’s manifesting in our body. With that knowledge, we can work to consciously relax, giving ourselves the time needed to simply pause and BREATHE. This pause allows us to savor life instead of rushing through it.
Many workplaces around the nation are turning to yoga and wellness programs to support their staff and improve workplace culture. Research shows that practices, such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness provide a wide range of profound benefits for both employers and employees, resulting in a win-win situation for all. These benefits range from improved health, increased focus, less burnout and a greater and more divine appreciation and awareness of the present moment.
Practicing yoga principles gives us a way to engage the people and situations we work with in a different, more mindful and patient manner. It teaches us to pause before reacting and to simply rest and breathe after moments of action and distress. If an entire workplace embraced changes like this, imagine how much our work culture would improve and how much more meaningful our work and relationships would become.