Workplace Yoga

I set up a weekly lunchtime yoga class soon after joining Planit-IE. I offered to take the class so I could practice teaching yoga, get to know my new colleagues and bring people together in an authentic way that reflects my personality – focusing on health and well-being. The session has been met with such enthusiasm and there are around 7 regular participants. Each week the class evolves and improves as everyone becomes more comfortable with each other and their own practice of yoga improves.

The Sanskrit word ‘yoga’ means ‘union’ or ‘yoking’. Its aims are to bring about the union of the human spirit with the spirit of the universe. I feel that bringing this holistic philosophy into the work place reflects a more intelligent way of working and an understanding that people benefit from incorporating a stress relieving practice, like yoga, in to the business day.

The space within Planit-IE’s Altrincham studio is so suited to yoga. The wooden floor boards are perfect to practice on for balance and the whitewashed walls give the room a calming, zen-like quality. The under-floor heating will also be ideal for the upcoming winter days.

I have devised a 20-week lesson plan for the class. The ‘asanas’, or poses, in the plan can be progressed and adapted for each person and I make sure to demonstrate the variations of each pose so that the class remains safe and suitable for all abilities.

The plank challenge is fun and we have reached 2 minutes. Each week we add an extra 5 seconds. I’m not sure if we will progress beyond 3 mins, but it could be possible!

We always start with a seated warm up (Pawanmuktasana in Sanskit) which is designed to mobilise the joints and spine. I then move through to forward flexion and Sukasana Purvottasana, raising one leg and bringing it to the chest. From this mobilisation we move on to the cat/cow poses, which are named Marjaryasana/Bitilasana. We then complete 4 rounds of sun salutations, or Surya Namaskara. The different standing asans follow, such as the warrior poses; Virabhadrasana I, II and III, chair- Utkatasana, tree Vrksasana, dancer Natarajasana. I then move the class though seated, forward flexion poses and we finish by lying down in corpse pose (Savasana), where I give a guided meditation designed to restore the system, and calm and center the mind.

I really hope that my colleagues are enjoying the class and I would love more men within the practice to join. So far one of the partners, Pete, and John, a Principal, has attended. Yoga is a system designed for everyone and is very inclusive; one of the many reasons why I feel it is suitable for the work environment.

I complete this post by wishing you Namastse, an ancient Sanskrit greeting still in everyday use in India and especially in the Nepalese Himalayas. The word is also used as a traditional way to close a yoga class. ‘Nama’ means bow, ‘as’ means I, and ‘te’ means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means “I bow you” or “I bow to you”.

Written by Laura Atkinson, Receptionist