Corporate Yoga Classes
I am no stranger to the corporate world. I worked in the City of London in the Lloyd's insurance market
for 17 years. In a busy work environment full of deadlines, meetings and stress we can lose sight of
ourselves and how our bodies feel. Sitting at a desk (even with a good chair) for hours produces major
compression in our lower backs.Our breathing can become shallow and our shoulders round forward
over our desks and computers as we concentrate on typing that letter, email or report.
I was lucky, my employer gave me a gym membership as part of my salary package. I was actively
encouarged to leave the office and attend a class or go to the gym at lunchtime. It was during that time
I discovered yoga classes. Most employees are not as lucky as I was. With many people not even leaving
their desk to eat, stress levels at work are on the increase. If you want to read more, here's what the British
academy were saying back in 2010!!
In response to this and because of my own personal office experience I decided to start my Corporate Yoga programme. I have been teaching two classes a week within the Corporate environment for over 4 years now. Rather than employees leaving the office to go to the gym, I go to them! We have been given the use of a conference room and the employees have been given dedicated time to attend class. It is interesting to observe just how often people arrive to class very stressed; their breathing shallow and fast, shoulders hunched and faces showing signs of strain. When they leave their posture and faces show a completely different story!
I try to make the classes fun and different each week. We mainly work on bringing
mobility to the spine and encouraging the shoulders to relax. Sometimes the class is
faster paced and athletic, others quieter and more relaxing. Office environments are
never the same each day and neither is our physical response. A variety of movements
helps to keep minds active and bodies responsive. At the end of each class we finish
with a period of relaxation. Here we try to create a sanctuary of calm to release any
remaining tension still being held within the body. It not only allows us to absorb what
we have done during our yoga practice but provides a final few minutes of respite
before work begins again. Routinely during this time people have becoming so
relaxed they fall asleep
Don't take my word for it though, here are some thoughts from two of my Corporate clients about their lunchtime yoga practice.
" I am much more calm and can see things in proportion after yoga. It helps me deal with difficult situations at work. The fact that it is at lunchtime and on site makes it easier to attend regularly. I get the benefits of regular exercise as I would find it much more difficult to attend a class in the evening. It also means I get to know colleagues in a different way, including those I don't directly work with. It makes the workplace feel more friendly. The fact my employer allows us to use the meeting room is one of the things that makes me feel that it cares about my wellbeing, which makes me more motivated".
Ramona Herdman, National Lottery
"Since starting yoga in the office at lunchtime almost three years ago I have attended twice a week. As a result I have been more composed and focused, improving my personal productivity and that of my team."
Andrew Bowen, Head of Commisioning Academy Strategy, Crown Commercial Service
So if you work in or run a company that wants to actively encourage and promote the wellbeing of your staff please give me a call to discuss a lunchtime yoga programme. All you need on site is a small conference room with space for us to play!