Prevention of Back Pain
Costs of Back pain:
Long periods of sitting during the workday can cause the muscles to become tight and weak, resulting in poor desk posture. This greatly increases office workers’ chance of back injuries, muscular degeneration and pain.1
The costs of back pain in the EU are very considerable and have been estimated to exceed €12billion each year.2
How Yoga Helps:
Yoga strengthens the muscles and increases joint mobility. This helps desk workers sit with better posture for longer periods during their workday, and therefore lowering their risk of injury and pain.
A 2012 report published in the journal Occupational Medicine describes an eight-week study on office workers. It gave one group a single 50-minute yoga class a week while allowing a control group to remain sedentary. The yoga group reported significantly less back pain and stress, as well as greater self-assurance, serenity and concentration. By comparison, the sedentary control group reported more hostility, sadness, stress and back pain.
Costs of Stress:
The cost of missed workdays due to stress / depression according to EU-OSHA calculations, adds up to a bill of 94 billion Euros a year. The same source suggests that stress is a factor in between 50% and 60% of all lost working days. This represents a huge cost in terms of both human distress and impaired economic performance.
How Yoga Helps:
Yoga trains employees to become more aware of their own physical and mental state and this increased awareness can help them to change the way they respond to stress and anxiety. They learn to focus their minds more effectively so they can concentrate on the task at hand – a vitally useful skill to have in a fast-paced workplace where multitasking is a way of life.
One study shows that yoga can regulate the body’s stress response systems. This decreases the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and calms breathing. There is also evidence that yoga practice helps increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s ability to respond to stress more flexibly.3
Another study of 131 people showed that 10 weeks of yoga helped reduce stress and anxiety. It also helped improve quality of life and mental health.4
Improved Productivity and Mental State
All employers want a highly functioning, focused and positive team, so how can yoga help achieve that?
Evidence: Yoga stimulates brain function
A 2012 study compared the stimulation of brain function caused by yoga practice to that caused by other forms of aerobic exercise. Following yoga practice, the participants were better able to focus their mental resources, process information quickly, more accurately and also learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively than after performing an aerobic exercise bout.7