10 Best Yoga Challenges For Your Employees To Boost Workplace Wellness And Productivity
Challenges are always fun and a great way to engage and improve, as anyone who has participated, will attest. The Mannequin Challenge and Ice bucket Challenge were probably two of the most popular challenges in today's social media era. In the corporate wellness arena, they push the bar a bit further by bringing the element of employee engagement into it. There is a great demand for various challenges across the global fitness platform, such as step challenges and water challenges. They have successfully helped thousands of businesses make a profit from better employee health returns.
Yoga challenges are also gaining quite a lot of popularity in workplace wellness. They are appropriate for all abilities and are designed to test your mental, physical, and spiritual limits. The challenge will typically be a series of daily workouts to stretch and strengthen your body holistically. Following the challenge properly should leave you feeling stronger, lighter, and more relaxed.
What is a Yoga Challenge?
A yoga challenge is simply just committing for a certain amount of days to do yoga every day. Creating a yoga challenge also helps many people to keep their commitment in line.
As you work on these challenges, you will be building strength, flexibility, and endurance through the use of different yoga poses. Yoga challenges are perfect for everyone, no matter how experienced you are or how new you are to the practice.
Although shorter challenges, such as 7-day challenges, can be great for working on a specific goal, shorter time frames are not enough to solidify a daily yoga habit. Thus, a 30-day yoga challenge is recommended and an ideal way to do a yoga challenge. 4 weeks is a good enough period to see significant progress in health.
Benefits Of Yoga
As yoga involves many body movements, stretching, and mindfulness exercises, once you get started, it will provide you with enough benefits to keep you going. Some of them are mentioned below.
1. Increases Flexibility
As yoga asanas involve a good amount of body activity, they help you stretch your body to seemingly impossible limits. To gain more flexibility, it is worth practicing yoga regularly and consistently. Consistent actions are important for building muscle memory. Take your time and be patient about the results.
If you haven’t heard about yoga’s ability to increase flexibility, you might have been living under a rock for the past twenty years.
Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self. - The Bhagavad Gita
2. Improves Strength
Yoga isn’t just about stretching and bending, it also requires a surprising amount of strength. Physical strength is important to prevent injury, increases immunity and metabolism, and help make everyday tasks easier.
Doing the complex asanas smoothly requires a great deal of mental strength too. Yoga helps one become calmer, in control of the situations, and mentally strong too.
3. Boosts Immune System
Any form of movement is great for keeping the immune system healthy. In yoga, you stretch your muscles, mental endurance, and willpower. This allows the parasympathetic nervous system to do its work of resting and calming the body.
In contrast, when we live a sedentary lifestyle, the sympathetic nervous system related to the fight or flight response of the body causes stress and inflammation, leading to a decrease in immunity.
4. Helps to Focus
After doing yoga for a few days, your mind will be quieter and clutter-free. It will make it easier for you to direct the energy positively. In yoga, they say you develop one-pointedness concentration through practice. You train the mind to become aware of the present.
Research has shown that after a yoga session, you are generally better equipped to focus for more accurate processing of information. Thus, it helps one to learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively.
5. Reduces Anxiety
In today’s fast-paced world of business, more and more people are likely to remain stuck in a cycle of anxiety. The mind and body are so closely interlinked, that any kind of mental stress is enough to gradually affect the employee's health.
By doing breathing exercises like Anulom Vilom, improving posture, and doing mindful meditation in a safe space, you can reduce anxiety effectively.
6. Boosts Brain Power
A habit of yoga in the daily routine creates a healthy daily pattern that makes the brain work harder and create healthy neural connections. In yoga, twisting asanas and exercises that generally involve crossing limbs over the body are great brain exercises too.
By practicing yoga regularly, the concentration power develops and the brain stays more in control.
7. Clears the Toxins
Regular practice of yoga helps to clear toxins from the body. It helps the body rid itself of toxins quicker when things are moving inside and outside. Being aware and mindful of your thoughts too can help to ‘detox’ the mind of any ‘toxic’ thoughts.
8. Helps to Express Gratitude
Yoga inculcates health habits like developing gratitude and having a positive attitude towards everything. Waking up every morning and performing Surya Namaskar, is a great way to express gratitude and be thankful for every good thing happening in your life.
Starting your day with optimistic thoughts helps to lay down the foundations for the positive events of the new day.
9. Regulates The Body Clock
It is natural for humans to rise with the sun and sleep when it is dark. However, we have been able to hack nighttime since the advent of electricity and the light bulb.
After doing early morning yoga for a few days, you are likely to start noticing that your body clock comes back into balance and there is an improvement in your sleeping pattern.
As per Ayurveda, the ancient 'sister science' of yoga, the hours between 10 pm and 2 am are the body's natural time for rejuvenation. The hours between 6 am and 8 am are best for ‘spiritual practice and exercise, thus it is advisable to wake up early and start your day with yoga, a morning walk, or moderate exercises.
Pre-Challenge Checklist for Employees
Employees participating in the Yoga challenge must be provided with a guide or toolkit that mentions the dos and don'ts while doing the asanas safely.
It is an important part of preparation from the employer’s end to make sure the safety and wellness of employees are not undermined.
When you do yoga asana, ensure that your body is stable and you do not feel any pain or discomfort while holding that posture.
It must be comfortable for the body while repeating the postures. Even a slight tremble in the body implies that you’re not comfortable.
Remember, it is meant to be a fun challenge and not a competition. So never strain in any of the asanas.
They are best to wear loose clothing while doing the asanas.
Try not to eat anything two hours before you start with the asanas.
Hydrate yourself! Drink at least two glasses of water before you commence your yoga session.
Preferably, use a yoga mat over which you do the asanas.
Employers must look to involve and engage remote employees too in the yoga challenges. You can conduct the challenge for them through Zoom or Google Meet.
10 Easy Yoga Postures To Incorporate In Yoga Challenge
Include such asanas that are easy and fun to do. By incorporating complex yoga poses, it can be too daunting for all employees to attempt. By having easy-to-do asanas in the challenge, you encourage greater participation and more engagement in the event. The following 10 yoga postures are recommended if you are looking to bring a yoga challenge to your corporate wellness program.
1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
It is a resting pose and one of the easiest yoga asanas to do. This pose is one of the great ways to unwind. You can do this pose in the morning or right before going to bed. It will help you to get calm, and get a sound sleep.
How to do it?
- Rest on your knees. Kneel on your yoga mat, resting your buttocks against your heels.
- Put your both hands upwards and inhale gently.
- Hold your breath and posture for 10 seconds.
- Slowly bow forward and exhale as you rest your forehead on the yoga mat.
- Repeat the asana a few times.
2. Half Camel Pose ( Ardha Ustrasana)
Each yoga pose has its unique benefits. The Half Camel yoga pose is a great way to stretch the back and shoulders. It improves flexibility and helps to strengthen the core muscles.
How to do it?
- Start in a kneeling position with your hands on your hips.
- Then, arch your back and look up towards the ceiling.
- Next, put your one hand on your foot.
- Finally, reach up with your other hand and place it near your head, parallel to the ground.
- Hold the pose for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.
Repeat the asana a few times.
3. Chair Pose ( Utkatasana )
Another basic and easy to do yoga asana is the Chair Pose. If done correctly, It provides a number of health benefits.
The pose gets its name from the fact that it resembles a chair, with the hips and thighs at a 90-degree angle and the arms parallel to the ground. From this position, the body is able to build strength and stability while also stretching the muscles of the back, shoulders, and chest.
How to do it?
- Inhale and raise your arms overhead. Keep the arms parallel.
- Exhale and bend your knees so that your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Press the heads of the thigh bones down toward your heels.
- Stay for 30 seconds to a minute. Exhale and release your arms to your sides and go back to the standing pose.
The key to success in Chair Pose is to find your center of gravity and to breathe deeply. Once you have mastered these basics, you will be able to hold the pose for longer periods of time and enjoy the benefits. Additionally, Chair Pose helps to improve balance and coordination.
For beginners, it is important to start slowly and focus on maintaining proper body alignment. With practice, Chair Pose can provide a gentle way to ease into yoga and build strength and flexibility.
4. Warrior Pose ( Virabhadrasana)
Warrior is one of the most popular yoga poses, and it can also be one of the most challenging one to do. The key to success is maintaining a strong foundation.
How to do it?
Start by placing your feet hip-width apart and turning your left foot out 90 degrees.
Next, bend your left knee so that it stacks directly above your ankle.
Then, reach your arms up overhead, keeping your shoulder blades down and your core engaged.
From here, you can either gaze up at your hands or keep your eyes focused on a fixed point in front of you.
As you continue to breathe deeply, pressing firmly into both feet, you will begin to feel your body open up and your energy levels rise.
5. Triangle Pose ( Trikonasana)
If you’re looking for a yoga challenge that will help improve your flexibility and strength, look no further than the Triangle Pose. This classic yoga pose is perfect for beginners and experienced yoga practitioners alike.
How to do it?
- Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides.
- Step your right foot out to the side, about 3-4 feet away from your left foot.
- Turn your right foot out so that it’s perpendicular to your left foot.
- Raise your arms out to the sides, parallel to the ground, and then bend your body to the right, reaching your right hand down toward the ground.
- Try to touch the ground with your hand, or place a block under your hand if you can’t reach the ground.
- Hold this position for 5-10 breaths, then slowly return to standing and repeat on the other side.
Yoga is not a work-out it is a work-in, and this is the point of spiritual practice to make us teachable to open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are.
6. Low Lunge Pose ( Anjaneyasana)
Yoga challenges are a great way to push your practice to the next level and see results quickly. The Low Lunge yoga challenge is a perfect example.
How to do it?
- Take a wide stance separating your legs and place your hands on the hips.
- Turn your right toes outwards at 90 degrees.
- Rotate your upper body towards your right.
- Bend your right knee and lift the back heel off the floor.
- Exhale lowering the left knee and resting the lower leg on the floor with toes pointing back.
- Inhale, raise your arms joining the palms above the head.
However, by persistently practicing this pose, you will eventually be able to hold it for extended periods of time without feeling any discomfort. Not only will you see an improvement in your yoga practice, but you’ll also notice a difference in your overall stamina levels.
If you’re looking for a yoga challenge that will help you take your practice to the next level, the Low Lunge yoga challenge is a great option.
This aids in working on your flexibility, balance, and strength all at once.
7. Crow Pose ( Bakasana)
While yoga offers many benefits, it can also pose some challenges. One of the most challenging poses is Crow Pose, which requires a great deal of strength and balance.
The key to Crow Pose is to maintain a strong core and to keep the weight evenly distributed between the hands and feet.
How to do it?
- The hands should be placed shoulder-width apart, and the feet should be hip-width apart.
- Place your hands on the ground and slowly walk your feet up to your arms until you are balancing on your hands.
- Hold the pose for 10 seconds.
- Get back to the original position of crouching slowly.
Holding Crow Pose for even a few seconds can be difficult, but it can also be very rewarding. The challenge of the pose helps to build strength and focus, and it can also be a great way to release tension from the body.
8. King Pigeon Pose ( Rajakapotasana )
King Pigeon yoga pose is an advanced yoga move that provides a deep stretch for the chest, shoulders, and thighs. It can be a challenging posture for you, due to its intense level of backbend. But once done correctly, it can provide some great benefits.
How to do it?
- Get into a low lunge position with your back knee down.
- From there, bring your hands to the floor and shift your weight forward so that you’re resting on your forearms.
- Then, begin to straighten your front leg and simultaneously lift your back leg up into the air.
- If you’re feeling balanced and stable, you can begin to arch your back and open up your chest.
- Remember to keep breathing throughout the entire yoga pose, and only go as far as you feel comfortable.
- With regular practice, you’ll eventually be able to achieve a full King Pigeon yoga pose.
9. Tree Pose ( Vrikshasana )
Many people give up yoga because they find it too difficult or think that they’re not flexible enough. However, yoga is for everyone, and there are modified versions of even the most challenging poses. If you’ve ever tried yoga, you know that some of the poses can be quite challenging, but with regular practice it eventually gets easier.
How to do it?
Take a moment to feel both your feet root into the floor, your weight distributed equally on all four corners of each foot.
Begin to shift your weight into your right foot, lifting your left foot off the floor. Keep your right leg straight but don't lock the knee.
Bend your left knee and bring the sole of your left foot high onto your inner right thigh.
Press your foot into your thigh and your thigh back into your foot with equal pressure. This will help you keep both hips squared toward the front so your right hip doesn't jut out.
Focus your gaze on something that doesn't move to help you keep your balance.
Take 5 to 10 breaths, then lower your left foot to the floor and do the other side.
The benefits of tree pose include improved concentration and focus, increased flexibility and strength, and better balance. The challenge of the tree lies in its simplicity. Because the pose is so basic, it can be easy to lose focus and topple over. It requires a lot of mind and body coordination. However, with practice, anyone can master the tree pose and enjoy its many benefits.
The key to do a tree pose is finding your center of gravity and maintaining your balance. Once you find your center, you need to be able to hold the position without wobbling. If you can hold a tree pose for more than a minute, you are doing it correctly.
10. Shoulder Stand Pose ( Sarvangasana )
One yoga challenge that many people find difficult is the shoulder stand pose. In this pose, the body is upside down, with the head and shoulders resting on the ground and the legs perpendicular to the floor. This can be a daunting position for beginners, but there are a few things you can do to make it more manageable.
How to do it?
- Start by lying on your back with your legs straight.
- Use your hands to slowly lift your hips and lower back off the ground.
- Tuck your chin into your chest and press your palms into your lower back for support.
- Finally, raise your legs straight up into the air, keeping your core engaged.
- Although it takes some practice to perfect this pose, it provides a great workout for the core muscles and can help to improve balance and flexibility.
Yoga With Vantage Fit
Vantage Fit is an AI-powered corporate wellness platform that provides one-stop solution to all your workplace wellness needs. You can use the Vantage Fit app to log your yoga sessions. This will help you to keep track of your regular yoga regimes and also motivate you to keep the continuity.
Apart from yoga, you can also use the other features provided in the Vantage Fit app. Some of the most popular features of the Vantage Fit platform are the step tracker, guided mindfulness sessions, and heart rate monitoring.
Regardless of your skill level, yoga challenges provide an opportunity to connect with your co-workers on a deeper level and have some fun in the process. In addition to helping you improve your yoga practice, yoga challenges can also help to build trust, communication, and teamwork.
There are a variety of yoga challenges you can attempt, from simple balancing poses to more complex inversions. So what is stopping you from getting started?
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