Yoga is understood as a discipline of life that is practised to improve the complete health of an individual – for both the Mind and Body. But can this rewarding practice be exercised as a productivity-boosting tool in the workplace?
The Ministry of AYUSH on 24th March 2021 has constituted a high-level Interdisciplinary Committee to explore this question and other aspects related to the Productivity dimension of Yoga.
The committee was chaired by Dr H. R Nagendra, Chancellor, SVYASA and its other members included representatives from AIIMS New Delhi, IIM Bangalore, IIT Bombay, various leading Yoga institutions, the corporate sector and the AYUSH Ministry.
How does Yoga improve an individual’s productivity?
“Yoga is a stressbuster,” says Dr Ishwar V. Basavaraddi, Director, Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, while talking to Prasar Bharati.
He says one has to be stress-free in order to work efficiently. The first thing that Yoga does, is free up the clutter of our minds.
Workplaces often become areas of extreme pressure. How will Yoga help them bring peace to work?
With ever-increasing work pressures (cubicle stress), internally clashing priorities, and never-ending to-do lists, escalating stress is a situation one can’t escape. A mind that can handle stress, and find relaxation in the most chaotic hours works better, and Yoga helps one achieve this state.
Dr Basavaraddi states that the first criteria to work well is to have interest, followed by Action in Relaxation. Therefore Yoga can be understood as a productivity tool in two ways;
Principles of Yoga to develop a genuine interest in the work and Practice of Yoga to reduce the stress of the work.
Yoga practices like Pranayama and Dhyana are known as great stress busters by levelling the breathing patterns and bringing relaxation to the mind. The forward and backward bending practices of Yoga are some physical stretches to help with spine and neck pain issues that come with long sitting hours of desk jobs.
How is this team going to conduct the study of bringing Yoga into the culture of Workplaces to enhance productivity?
In its inception meeting held on 24th March, the committee recognised that there has been an unprecedented surge in the popularity of Yoga in the past five years, globally.
While Yoga has been widely embraced by its practitioners for spiritual connectedness and health benefits it offers, the productivity dimension of Yoga and its role at the workplace in offering benefits to employees to perform better still remains unexplored to a large extent.
Exacerbated by the current pandemic, this dimension becomes especially important given the increasing physical and mental pressures faced by employees, as employers grapple with the situation and try to improve workplace wellness.
Existing evidence bases, including data collected on the impact of Yoga as a wellness intervention, will be used to substantiate the study.
Dr Basavaraddi informs that MDNIY last year conducted research along similar lines and curated a Yoga Protocol of 5-6 minutes that can be exercised in the middle of working hours and evenings to relieve the tension from the body.
In the inception meeting, some of the committee members highlighted that Yoga for productivity is a critically important aspect in the present context when India’s growth aspirations are at perhaps their highest.
One of the primary tasks of the committee, it was recognised, was to review evidence that linked Yoga to productivity and analyse the same. The various possible directions of the productivity dimension could then be identified systematically, and along with these directions, more protocols could be developed.
The committee iterated that it would adopt an approach based on science and evidence in finalising its recommendations.
The Committee Decisions
Various organizations, industries and corporate houses are already hiring yoga instructors to impart workplace yoga for their staff.