Virtual Yoga: A Wellness Initiative towards a Healthier Workforce
I am sure each one of us is familiar with yoga. Originated in ancient India, yoga is a combination of spiritual, mental, and physical exercises. In short, it is good for the mind and the body.
Being associated with several benefits like cardio health, increased flexibility, weight management, it is one of the most influential workouts in recent times.
However, with busy lives and the lockdown mess, it gets difficult for people to stick to their yogic routine. As a result, they often have to skip classes. Enter- Virtual Yoga in the picture.
Yes, things are changing for the better. Especially with COVID-19 doing the rounds, most employees are working from home while some are even furloughed.
So, in these times, has the thought of introducing virtual yoga for employees crossed your mind?
What is Virtual Yoga?
When you hear the term “yoga,” it sounds good. I do not think people need to be informed about the benefits of yoga. But when the term virtual comes with it, many get confused.
However, it is a pretty simple concept. The digital world is transforming yoga by converting physical yoga sessions into online classes.
With virtual yoga sessions, everyone has a chance to practice, from wherever possible. All you need is a proper internet connection.
Why should yoga not become Virtual like everything else?
The scenario in the past year has been different. Studios are shut along with workplaces.
The virtual yoga classes are mostly held on digital platforms. Here, yoga teachers give people access to their yoga practices over live classes or some youtube channel.
In these classes, the innumerable yoga postures and exercises are highlighted with proper directions of use.
And, with the shifting of the entire work to home, yoga at the office is almost next to impossible. Even though things are settling down finally, the need for virtual yoga still remains in demand.
Why do Virtual Yoga?
Yoga is effective, virtual or not. Whether you are organizing yoga at your workplace or virtually through studio classes, the employees will come out as winners.
Because yoga is more of a getaway, your mind seeks amidst all the work. And, after a long day of work, dedicating 30 minutes or so to yoga can do a great deal to mental health as well.
1. Connecting People
When you are a global company, and your reach is worldwide, there is no point in holding physical corporate yoga sessions in each branch.
What you can do instead is bring the entire workforce closer by implementing virtual yoga. Also, when working from home, employees can often feel isolated and disconnected.
This can be resolved through virtual yoga sessions as all the employees will stay connected in one way or another.
Hiring a professional who can give sessions over any online application is how you can go about it. This digital platform will be accessible to every employee while practicing yoga.
That way, employees geographically separated can still interact with and motivate each other towards building focus and present-mindedness. And demographic dispersion is no longer an issue.
Setting a standard schedule every day for yoga at work might make employees disinterested after a certain point in time. Because everyone has their work priorities.
Today could be a light day for A but might be a day full of workload for B. On this front, virtual yoga comes in handy for it does not put any time or place constraints.
Your employees can practice yoga even after going home, and it would be fantastic. When you can get to your own pace, every activity is exciting.
Your remote employees might be having quarantine blues and want to come out of it. The situation is supposed to relax sooner but yet is not.
So, when you introduce the concept of virtual yoga to your staff, they are going to jump on the bandwagon without a second thought.
Thus, to keep your employees moving fit and fine, a virtual yoga challenge will prove to be a fun activity thereby making exercise fun. Also, you do not have to stress out over employee health when they are working towards being healthy.
And, as we know, yoga helps fight depression and anxiety. And staying at home makes one give in to isolation which can be replaced by yoga sessions.
4. Play on Loop
Digital platforms have made our lives so much easier. Whatever happens there stays there, and you can retrieve it as per will. When you hold yoga classes in the office, the yoga trainer will come and make you practice.
But if your employees go home and maybe want to try some poses at home, if they don't remember the exact posture, there is no point.
At such a time, one can fully understand the need for a virtual yoga studio. Suppose everything is launched virtually, during the sessions or online workshops.
In that case, one can easily record it and play on loop to get the hang of the various exercises fully.
How much easier can it get?
5. Cutting Costs
Employees are going to benefit a lot from yoga. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing in store for the employers. Digital platforms have made work faster and reasonable.
If the yoga instructor has to regularly pay visits to the office, there will be expenses in many ways.
Necessary amenities have to be arranged, while online sessions will save the company many costs. So there is a considerable cost advantage as personalized sessions demand to incur more charges.
Work from home or not, virtual workout sessions are helpful at all times. If your employees are on vacation or leaves, they can still maintain their health routine.
All it takes is 30 minutes of their lives which is sparable considering the health benefits coming out of it.
As I call it, yoga on the go is way more accessible, even if not effortless enough. But this cannot happen with physical classes since a person on a holiday trip to some faraway place is demographically restricted.
They cannot just go to the yoga studio or office. So, in times like this, virtual yoga enables and motivates one to stay fit.
7. Best Access
If you choose to hire some yoga professionals to teach yoga in the workplace or take membership to a studio, options become limited.
The case is entirely different when it comes to virtual sessions. Every choice is accessible- from best to best.
A skilled yoga teacher with plenty of experience hailing from some other world region will also be accessible due to the worldwide web presence.
All you need to do is some research and get the best expert for your team.
For people like me who are publicly shy, walking into a yoga class can sometimes be intimidating. The constant fear of not getting the poses right or making mistakes can lead to anxiety issues.
The only thing coming from that is stress and panic. Also, in a room full of people, the thought of what if I cannot follow the yoga instructions properly prevails.
But when the classes are held virtually, people are more confident while being in a state of comfort and solitude as they do not have to face many people. So, practicing yoga becomes easier and soothing.
9. Safety Concerns
Amid the benefits mentioned above, one of the leading causes behind virtual yoga is overlooked. As social gatherings are avoided, and social distancing needs to prevail, virtual yoga becomes Covid-19 friendly.
Safety comes first, so it is better to avoid any event which involves a large crowd.
Now, the virtual yoga concept does not sound so bad, does it?
10. Stress Relief
With the present state, the world is in, anxiety and stress among workers are skyrocketing. This can mean downfall in terms of productivity, focus and motivation.
At a time like this, employees deserve a mental break long enough to clear their minds.
Virtual yoga can help with this. Adding online yoga sessions to the routine of your remote employees will keep their spirits high by having benefits on both physical and mental health.
Besides everything, virtual classes are easier to set up.
Every good thing has its fair share of cons as well, and there is no denying that. Let us dive into some of the shortcomings of virtual yoga.
When we attend yoga classes physically, things become easy. Yoga trainers demonstrate the asanas right in front of us, making things easier to grasp. Most importantly, while doing the poses, they are present around us to correct.
However, during virtual yogic sessions, we see the trainers on a virtual platform. A situation may arise where we might end up trying a pose incorrectly, potentially leading to injury.
Our back, head- all are prone to hurt in the absence of an expert physically who could otherwise spot and fix our poor techniques and postures.
This will make yoga harder to learn and dangerous for the body at the same time. Personalized yoga training is what one needs to generate the desired results.
As an employer, to offer yoga sessions, you have to take memberships or hire a yoga expert yourself. But the job is not done yet.
Making sure that employees use their memberships to the fullest is the toughest of all.
When you have planned a specific schedule for your employees to practice yoga in the workplace, that works. Employees come to the office and do yoga at the time slot booked during breaks.
It is that simple.
But when the office shifts to home, the entire routine messes up. Many people work during the evening instead of day and whatnot. Amidst these, a yoga class is not that tough to skip.
Having a strict schedule is good, but it takes a lot of fitness motivation to be strict with oneself. And, that does not come easy, which is why we often tend to postpone our workout sessions.
The accountability kind of disappears, which does not happen with yoga studio classes.
Tough to follow
One of the biggest challenges of virtual yoga is the fact that it is hard to follow. I mean, when we have to look at the trainer showing the poses and do it together, mistakes happen.
Multitasking is fine but doing yoga requires one to be calm.
But the thought that if we are doing it right keeps haunting us, thereby ushering us to keep checking the screen, it becomes chaotic. This problem does not arise when we are learning in person.
In the trainer's presence, we do not have to wonder anymore whether we are correctly doing the asana or not.
Lacks the Social Element
Even though virtual wellness programs keep employees connected while working from home, that is not all. The socializing factor goes missing here. When you attend live yoga classes, the feeling is way different.
There you can have chats before and after sessions making it more interactive. However, on the virtual platform, one has to unmute the call, say something and then wait for the opposite side to unmute their call and respond.
Such a hassle.
Why do employers choose Virtual Yoga?
What do you think are the main reasons behind organizations rooting for virtual fitness platforms?
Employers these days are concerned with employee health. So, with remote working on the go, virtual sessions are best for corporates who are looking to-
Provide employees with a positive environment to get them rid of the stress of WFH
Prove the workforce how much they care about employee wellbeing
Uplift employee morale and promote mental wellbeing
Motivate employees to stay fit and active even while working from their homes
The idea of online yoga sounds appealing but does not hold value if you cannot execute it properly. And the fact that employees are about to attend it virtually, there are some basic things to note down for employers and employees alike.
Laptop/ Tablet/ Cellphone- Without an electronic gadget as such, the entire concept of Virtual Yoga will not be possible.
Good Internet Connectivity- A stable internet connection is a prerequisite as the yoga trainer will give classes from the place of his desire. The Internet is the only thing that can keep all employees connected. Nobody would want their video to pause while the expert is demonstrating poses, right?
Software applications- With the availability of digital platforms like Zoom, Skype among others, these days, virtual meetings have been possible. Similarly, fixing a common platform is essential for all your employees and the yoga trainer for holding virtual yoga sessions.
Space-We all desire a sufficient quantity of room to practise Yoga in, freely. So asking your employees to choose a proper place to practice yoga is necessary. That way, there will be no hindrance to movement.
Clothes- as they say, there is an attire for every occasion. You would not want employees to wear a pair of jeans and do yoga because that’s not feasible. Their body movement will be restricted. As a result, they cannot do the asanas with total flexibility. So, wearing comfortable clothes is a must during workouts.
How to set up Virtual Yoga?
What is your ultimate goal for your team? Physical fitness? Mental fitness? Or all of them?
Here is how you can carry forward the virtual yoga session effectively.
Hire a yoga trainer or take membership of some studio that offers online yoga sessions. Also, be clear with your employee needs- the kind of flexibility, experience, and health. It is more advisable to go with the general plan so the common asanas can be practiced by everyone.
Ask your employees to try the poses at their own pace after the classes too. They can simply record or download the virtual sessions and practice at their convenience.
Suggest your employees to use the props available at home instead of buying things to do the challenging asanas.
During a virtual yoga live session, the trainers might not spot specific wrong postures by the participants. This issue can be resolved with you advising the employees to record the poses and send it across to the instructor to see for himself and rectify the errors.
Once you execute the program in the manner mentioned above, you are all set.
Virtual Desk Yoga
Now, as the name implies, desk yoga has something to do with desks. It’s that simple. Also, it is not centered around virtual or live yoga sessions.
Basically, it can be practiced from your workspace. Now that can be either office or home.
Desk yoga does not need a mat or proper yoga wear, for that matter. It consists of a 30-minute session of standing and seating stretches with an added touch of mindfulness and meditation.
This turns out to be very helpful to address the problem of our conventional way of working. We live a sedentary lifestyle which leads to physical health issues. Desk yoga can help with that.
During work, our bodies need a break from that seating position and require some movement. Hence, desk yoga.
And in virtual desk yoga, it is the same thing, except it takes less time and the classes are attended from the desk. Also, the desk yoga poses are mostly about stretching and meditation.
This is a great way to get our bodies moving in between work to feel refreshed and relaxed while going back to work.
Wrapping it Up
When yoga sessions are accessible at a fingertips, it’s easier to practice, even if it is for 5 minutes.
So, just introduce a virtual wellness program in the form of online yoga classes, informative health workshops, and virtual meditation sessions. This way, by bringing a holistic wellness experience, you can prove to your employees how much their wellbeing matters to you.
In the end, all you need to ensure for your remote employees is that they lead a healthy, focused life and, above all, stay connected. And, once this pandemic fuss is over, get ready to see your employees return with a fit body and mind.
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