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Do you feel you don’t have time to get to your yoga class as consistently as you’d like? In our busy lives, as we juggle work, family, and other commitments, sometimes we just don’t have enough time to keep up with our practice. But why not bring your practice to work? As yoga becomes more popular in our society, yoga classes at work are becoming more common as well. Office yoga classes are held before or after the workday hours, at lunchtime, or sometimes during a break in the work. Even a short 15-minute practice can boost your comfort and productivity at the office. If you would like to begin a yoga program at your workplace, here are a few steps to take to make this happen.
Talk to your coworkers to line up support, and then get your boss or human resources office on board. Yoga has been shown to be beneficial in many ways: practicing yoga promotes good health, increases concentration, and increases energy. Yoga classes may be attractive to a company because they could potentially lower benefit costs, as yoga can help support the immune system. Yoga is a great equalizer in the office as well. It brings co-workers together who might not otherwise meet and connect.
Once your boss has agreed, begin to search for a space. Unused conference rooms are often a good bet, as long as you can move the furniture to the side during class. Some offices are in buildings that have on-site gyms, and maybe you can make arrangements with the gym management to use a portion of the space a couple times a week. If you work in a building with other businesses, see if you can team up to find adequate space in one of the other offices, or even occupy a wide (and not heavily trafficked) hallway. If there is absolutely no space in your building, you might find something nearby. Some small yoga studios can be used during off hours, for example.
Then find a teacher. The first place to check is with your current teachers or yoga centers. Many yoga teachers would love to come to a workplace setting. However, if you can’t find a teacher, or you want to offer some “trial classes” for your coworkers, just load your laptop with some great yoga DVDs that you can share with your colleagues. Gurutej Kaur has a series of DVDs that would be great for the workplace, including Kundalini Yoga for Mental Clarity and Kundalini Yoga for the Immune System. Or try Rodney Yee’s AM-PM Yoga for a gentle Hatha practice.
As you get going, make a point of deepening your knowledge. Remember that there are plenty of resources available to keep you and your coworkers motivated. You may want to bring in some books to inspire discussion and a deeper practice. Yoga for Body, Breath, and Mind is a good introduction to yoga philosophy, breathing, postures, and meditation. For more information about yoga and diet, check out Foods for Health and Healing.
It’s important to be inclusive. Have some mats on hand for anyone who doesn’t have one of their own, and maybe bring some snacks or tea to share after the practice. Yoga classes at work are a great way to help you get through the work day, and they don’t need to be over complicated or time consuming. Give it a try, and let us know how it goes.