In May 2013, 3PLQS joined the ranks of Forbes, Nike, Apple, Google and other Fortune 500 companies by offering employees a chance to practice yoga at the office. For almost seven months, employees have signed up for lunchtime classes offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays (choice of two classes each day). While not everyone takes advantage of the opportunity to step away from their desk to stretch and de-stress, employees who do practice regularly are already appreciating the many benefits of yoga.
According to Charlene, a Call Centre Specialist with TQS Logistics division, practicing yoga has helped her better manage stiffness, pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis of the spine. “Although I was very afraid to start yoga, I pushed forward to try it and give it all I have. To my surprise, I am truly amazed at the benefits of incorporating Yoga into my daily lifestyle. I have now become addicted to practicing and really could not do without it,” she says. “Yoga has made me feel stronger, more flexible, along with a feeling of release in the body and mind. I also sleep much better at night.”
For Joseph, a Business Analyst with the TQS Technology division, yoga had been on his ‘to do’ list to complement his more intense workout sessions at the gym. While he admits to being a bit leery of its benefits at first, he quickly embraced his practice. “The sessions were hard initially (in fact they still are most of the time) but my body learned to adjust. I learned that practicing diligently on the fundamentals improved my overall wellbeing,”
Ivona, a Web Designer for 3PLQS, thought yoga might help alleviate some issues with her hip and shoulder. “I’ve noticed subtle changes in my body, with my hip and shoulder problems I have to be really careful when doing some poses. But I am feeling stronger overall, my arm strength has improved and I am becoming more flexible. Yoga is hard, very challenging but it is rewarding too. You feel better after each class and less stressed.”
Some days, the biggest challenge is showing up on the mat to practice. Not surprisingly, last minute work emergencies arise and conflict with class schedules. Because classes are small, participants are able to communicate with everyone and either delay a class or rearrange their schedule to take the later class. There are times when someone will have to skip a class, but it doesn’t happen often. Most participants have discovered that rather than take away from the work day, yoga actually helps rejuvenate energy levels for the afternoon work schedule.
“Some days your day may run a bit longer or it may be more hectic but if it’s important to you, you will find a way (to practice yoga),” Charlene says. “I am very grateful and thankful for yoga and hope to aspire to a greater lifestyle because of practicing.”
As an employer, Chris Mattice, President of 3PLQS, chose to offer yoga within the workplace as a means to promote employee health and well-being. “Employees need time to step away from their desk to stretch and relax. Yoga is the ideal activity for this because it offers the chance to do both. It also has an added side benefit of allowing employees to interact in a non-work situation. Overall, I’m very pleased with the results,” he says. Chris also takes the time join a class as well as encouraging employees to step away from their desk to keep their commitment to yoga. “Personally, I have noticed an improvement in my own flexibility as well as a greater sense of ease in managing stress.”
Moving beyond the six month mark, yoga has definitely integrated into the corporate culture. And yogis are discovering how a yoga practice reaches beyond the mat. Sometimes it’s just a simple matter of breathing mindfully.
According to Ivona, “I started to be more conscious about my breathing and using breathing exercises throughout the day. It helps me relax and de-stress.”
Yoga brought subtle changes to Joseph’s day-to-day life. “I have made a conscious effort to apply yoga practices in my everyday life. All of a sudden the 400 series highway traffic stress could be alleviated by focused breathing,” he says. “Yoga really has penetrated into my life. I enjoy mornings when rather than moving around stiffly after waking up, I can do a few rounds of Sun Salutation to limber up.”