As workplace wellness gradually becomes the norm, employers are now riddled with the need to offer creative and comprehensive wellness facilities in order to bring about a real difference in employee health and more importantly, motivation.Since almost about 50% of corporate healthcare costs are said to be lifestyle related and therefore, potentially preventable, organizations not only want to spend on cure but also invest on prevention and good health.It is in this respect that the ancient science of Yoga has found preference in the corporate world as a comprehensive wellness prerogative, replacing all other healthcare investments.
The goal of implementing a wellness program within an organization is to reduce healthcare costs. And while that goal has remained constant as the corporate wellness industry has grown over the years, other priorities by employers have surfaced, too, such as boosting in-house productivity, optimizing human resource investments and boosting employee engagement. Employees spend a lot of time in the workplace, and correlating wellness goals with work life balance is mission critical to driving business outcomes. Providing a robust corporate wellness program gives the organization the competitive edge that it’s looking for to attract and retain top talent.
From an IT professional perspective, to say that one’s daily schedule is hectic is an understatement. Skipping breakfast on most days and going straight to battling the traffic, to grabbing a drink as soon as one reaches the office and then it’s chaos from there. Even the lunch routine usually comprises of a quick bite to give a sense of filling. The drive back home is exhausting so the moment we get home, we would rather order some fast food or hotel food and head straight back to bed; most times after checking mails and answering calls. Such a routine will not guarantee us a healthy life. We have a relationship with our laptop more than we do with ourself. Sitting hours together in front of the computer can cause eye, shoulder, hands, back problems etc.
Yoga, in Sanskrit, means to completely know yourself and to be at peace in yourself. It is not possible to define this peace except to say it is freedom from all suffering, freedom from doubt and freedom from confusion. Yoga as a regular practice helps in daily life as it brings balance, relaxation, discipline, health, happiness, and a sense of peace to everything in our lives. If we think we are running short of time for exercises, squeezing in just a couple of minutes of yoga every morning will improve productivity at work and also provide a healthier lifestyle. The following are a few simple yoga exercises which we can easily try.
The literal meaning of the term “Surya Namaskara” is Sun Salutation i.e. to bow down to the sun in respect. An individual can do any number of sets but ideally atleast 12 sets of Surya Namaskara is advised. They have to be done preferably looking in the direction of sunrise and reciting the surya mantra, “Om Suryay Namah:” before every set. There are people who do 108 sets or more. You are your best judge and can choose any number of sets starting from 12 sets depending on availability of time, health condition, age, etc. Gradual increase can be done.
Here is the detailed insight of 12 steps on how to do Surya Namaskara yoga. Different teachers have different ways of teaching this sequence. Some incorporate other asanas in the sequence to make it a more intense workout. The others stick to the basics. Either way, there is no hard and fast rule or fixed time that you must stay in each asana. However, about 30 seconds in each asana is ideal.
Step 1 – The Prayer Pose / Pranamasana (Top Center pose in the figure)
Start the Surya Namaskaras by standing at the edge of your mat. Keep your feet together, and make sure your weight is equally balanced on both the feet. You must now relax your shoulders and expand your chest. Inhale and lift both your arms up. Then, exhale, and bring your palms in front of your chest in a prayer position.
Step 2 – The Raised Arms Pose / Hastauttanasana
Inhale and lift your arms up and back, making sure your biceps are close to your ears. Your effort through this pose must be to stretch your whole body, right from the heels to the tips of the fingers.
Step 3 – Hand To Foot Pose / Hastapadasana
Exhale and bend forward from the waist. You must ensure your spine is erect. As you inhale, bring your hands down on the floor and beside the feet.
Step 4 – The Equestrian Pose / Ashwa Sanchalanasana
Now, Inhale, and push your Left Leg back, as far as you possibly can. Bend your Right Knee, and place your arms next to your feet. Turn your gaze forward.
Step 5 – Stick Pose / Dandasana
Exhale. Take the right leg back and bring the whole body in a straight line. You then shift the plank forward and bend your elbows straight back, hugging them to your body. The toes are still tucked.
Rest – The Moon Pose / Shashankasana
Sit with legs folded backwards, heels apart, knees and toes together (sit in vajrasana – posture #6 anticlockwise from the top). Adjust your hips between the heels. Slowly raise your arms over the head.While exhaling, slowly bend forward and stretch your palms on the floor with abdomen pressing against the thighs.Then bring your face downwards and touch the floor with the forehead without raising the buttocks. Inhaling slowly, return to an upright position, and then reverse the process.
Step 6 – The Salute With Eight Parts / Ashtanga Namaskara
Gently bring your knees down to the floor, and Exhale. Take your hips back, and slide forward, such that your chin and chest rest on the floor. Raise your buttocks slightly. You will notice that the hands, feet, knees, chest, and chin touch the floor. Eight parts in total.
Step 7 – The Cobra Pose / Bhujangasana
Now, slide your body forward. Raise your chest up in the Cobra Pose. Your elbows must be bent, and your shoulders must be placed away from the ears. Turn your gaze upwards
Step 8 – Downward Facing Dog Pose / Adho Mukha Svanasana
Exhale, and lift up your hips and tailbone. Your chest must face downwards to form an inverted V.
Rest – The Moon Pose / Shashankasana
Sit with legs folded backwards, heels apart, knees and toes together (sit in Vajrasana – posture #5 clockwise from the top). Adjust your hips between the heels. Slowly raise your arms over the head.While exhaling, slowly bend forward and stretch your palms on the floor with abdomen pressing against the thighs.Then bring your face downwards and touch the floor with the forehead without raising the buttocks. Inhaling slowly, return to an upright position, and then reverse the process.
Step 9 – The Equestrian Pose / Ashwa Sanchalanasana
Inhale, and push your Right Leg back, as far as you possibly can. Bend your Left Knee, and place your arms next to your feet. Turn your gaze forward.
Step 10 – Hand To Foot Pose / Hastapadasana
Exhale, and bend forward from the waist. You must ensure your spine is erect. As you Inhale, bring your hands down on the floor and beside the feet. Exhale.
Step 11 – The Raised Arms Pose / Hastauttanasana
Inhale, and lift your arms up and back, making sure your biceps are close to your ears. Your effort through this pose must be to stretch your whole body, right from the heels to the tips of the fingers.
Step 12 – The Prayer Pose / Pranamasana
Keep your feet together, and make sure your weight is equally balanced on both the feet. You must now relax your shoulders and expand your chest. Inhale and lift both your arms up. Then, exhale and bring your palms in front of your chest in a prayer position.
Meditation is also a key facet of yoga. Compliment your above yoga asana practice with about 10 min meditation for Inner Peace. Learning to meditate in yoga involves more than sitting still for a few moments each day. Your mind might be shifting through a barrage of thoughts and worries.The first step to successful meditation is practicing it often. Also, getting the hang of how to meditate can be quite challenging, whether you’re a beginner to yoga or you’ve been taking yoga classes for a while. Considering that serious yogis spend a lifetime honing the art of meditation, there’s no sense in pressuring yourself to perfect your own meditation technique after just a few sessions.
An easy way to learn how to meditate is to focus on the here and now. When you’re mindful about being in the moment, there’s no room for your attention to be pulled towards distracting thoughts about the past or future. Whenever you become aware that your thoughts have drifted, simply redirect your mental focus back to the present.
One more thing to keep in mind is that meditation isn’t about trying to stop your thoughts. It’s more about being aware of them and then simply allowing them to come and go. All you need is a comfortable space where you are likely not to be disturbed and do the following:
- Set aside just a few minutes at first. Choose a time of day when you’re able to meditate without interruption. You might coordinate your meditation so you do it right before or after a physical yoga practice.
- Sit with good posture either on the floor as shown above, cross-legged, or in a chair if it’s more comfortable.
- Close your eyes and home in on the rhythm of your yoga breathing.
- As you become more familiar with how to meditate, increase your practice by a minute or two at a time.
There are various other types of yoga asanas, but for a beginner the above asanas are good enough to start with. Given the busy schedule of an IT professional, squeezing the yoga time and the consistency of it would be very much important in reaping the benefits. There are some yoga poses suggested to be done at workplace as well for which you can go through the following link: