Workplace Yoga Reduces Pressure on Employees
One in six working people suffer from stress and other symptoms related to mental illness, researchers noted in the Occupational Medicine journal. A new study found that those who practice yoga in their workplace may feel less stress than others who don't.
According to Reuters, Yoga is one of many approaches a growing number of employers are using to combat stress and improve workers' mental health, but research to date has offered a mixed picture of how well these efforts are working.
For the current study, researchers examined data from 13 trials with about 1,300 participants. Some workers in these trials were randomly assigned to participate in workplace yoga. Yoga didn’t appear to influence heart health, but workplace yoga did have a positive effect on mental health and in stress reduction in particular.
"Yoga at work could be one of the chosen programs to reduce stress levels, and usually requires low investment, with minimal equipment,” said Laura Maria Puerto Valencia of the Bavarian Health and Food and Safety Authority in Munich, Germany.
It’s hard to say, however, how much the yoga itself is responsible rather than the workplace culture at companies that were willing to give workplace yoga a try, Puerto Valencia noted.
"Usually a company that allowed or planned a randomized controlled trial of yoga at work is interested in reducing stress levels, increasing job satisfaction and productivity; in consequence, it could be a place with a lower stress environment (compared to) other companies in general," she explained.
Still, more companies are expanding their approach to occupational health to include not just efforts to avoid accidents and injuries but also services to promote mental health, as well as good eating and exercise habits. And the results should encourage companies to include yoga as part of their approach to workplace wellness.
Mind-body medicine can include a range of health practices that combine efforts to focus the mind, control breathing and move the body in ways that promote relaxation. Yoga is often a component of this approach to wellness.
Regular yoga practice has long been linked to better sleep, lower blood pressure and improvements in mobility and flexibility.