Workplace Wellness Wisdom

Workplace Wellness Wisdomimage

I taught my first on-site corporate Pilates/yoga class in February of 2011. The company was Genie Scientific, an industrial furniture manufacturing and design company. There were two main motivating factors behind the inception of these classes. The first was to reduce what had been an increase in incidents resulting in workers compensation payouts. The second was the boss, Moya O’neill’s, desire to share with her office staff the benefits she had experienced personally through her work with the Pilates Method. Now 5 years later, there manufacturing staff has gone 1495 days without an accident, another one hour yoga class has been added on to the schedule, and several participants have sought further outside instruction in mindfulness and meditation techniques. It can be said that the classes have been a success.

While the institution of yoga classes in the workplace is rather modern, the intention behind it is not. In fact, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras support the aim behind corporate wellness programs.

Yoga Sutra II.16: Heyam -Dukham -Anagatam –

The pains which are yet to come can and are to be avoided.

What Patanjali is saying here is that yoga is a preventative healing art and science. By adhering to yogic discipline, we can build robust health in body and mind and construct a defensive strength with which to counteract and altogether avoid afflictions that we may not yet even perceive. It has often be the case that people pursue a imagefitness or health regime in order to produce immediate and tangible results. This could be to loose a certain number of pounds, to lower a cholesterol count, or to rehab from an injury. The philosophy of the yogic tradition emphasizes the importance of appreciating the more holistic view of yoga as a practice that will produce benefits seen and unseen, and one that should be practiced steadily throughout life.

This is especially important and unique in regards to the workplace for several reasons. Everyone who is employed is subject to an occupational hazard. For the laborers at Genie Scientific these are physical and specific to the stress on the body from standing on foot for long periods, lifting heavy loads, and working with dangerous tools. For the office staff, the physical hazards are more related to long periods of being sedentary and having poor posture related to the computer. The owner may not be subject to either of these, but she is running a company! Imagine the possible stress. All of these things can be combated with a regular yoga practice to prevent future harm whether it is physical or emotional.

The business world is already waking up to the escalating cost of healthcare and the need for intervention. In 2008, the corporate wellness industry was estimated at $1.6 billion and in 2015 was estimated at $5.8 billion! A recent Health Affairs meta-analysis of workplace disease prevention and health programs found that for every dollar spent on the program, medical costs dropped by $3.27 and absenteeism costs dropped by $2.73. Future pain is clearly being avoided. Patanjali would be so proud.

Consider the success at Genie Scientific and contact me today if you or your company is interested in implementing any kind of corporate wellness. Even one class a week can be a big step toward a happier, healthier, and more productive professional life.image

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