Here is just one more reason to roll out your yoga mat and breathe deep: A new study conducted at Ohio State University shows that employees who engage in yoga at work experience less stress and better sleeping patterns than those who don’t. The results which were reported in the most recent edition of the journal Health Education & Behavior had study participants perform just 20 minutes of yoga and meditation at their work desks and take part of one-hour weekly group meetings during their lunch breaks for six weeks.
The study illustrates a few key points about the mindfulness that a yoga and meditation practice can cultivate and the benefits of physical activity.
While no one can escape the stress of project deadlines and the fear of job security, mindfulness practices like meditation teach employees how key their reaction to workday stress can affect how they perceive their lives and the workplace challenges they confront.
Additionally, most employees who work desk jobs lead sedentary lives which is not only a factor in obesity and diabetes but also in mood disorders like depression. Numerous studies have shown the positive mental health benefits and physical benefits such as improved sleep quality that come from engaging in exercise. And while yoga may not be the first form of exercise that comes to mind when one thinks of physical activity, certain kinds of yoga have a strong cardiovascular component to them and most all improve strength and muscle tone.
For the millions of Americans who work, the stress of their everyday office lives takes its toll on their health. But studies like this point to the importance of having workplace policies that encourage employees to take part in mind-body practices like yoga and meditation. Hopefully, as more research is done on the benefits of stress-reducing programs in the office, more and more companies will begin to incorporate such practices as part of their regular employee wellness programs.