Fitness comes in many forms

THE West is finally catching on to what the East has known for years – yoga has enormous benefits for mental and physical fitness.

In recent years yoga has become almost mainstream, as the pursuit moves from the realms of the mystical into sports clubs, gyms and community centres across the nation.

Yoga has become such a big part of the hard-working executive lifestyle that some Perth companies are bringing yoga classes into the workplace.

Ernst and Young will begin yoga classes later this month as a component of its wellness program.

According to human resource manager Tony Ackland, the classes were chosen because of strong interest from the employees. He said yoga also was a popular choice from a company point of view.

“It’s readily accessible and low impact and therefore a very low propensity for injury and liability,” Mr Ackland said.

“It works on muscle tone and flexibility and people who participate are less inclined to suffer residual injuries that we get by being in the same position every day.

“There is a clear commercial benefit for us. It introduces diversity into working lives and reduces the loss of working time due to injury.

“It also helps build inter-office relationships. We have a lot of divisions and a range in structure.”

Yoga At Your Place business owner Genevieve Stynes said inquires about in-house yoga classes had gained momentum in the past two years.

“It’s picked up in the last two years because people are more aware of the benefits of yoga; it helps relieve stress and provides the ability to relax,” she said.

“The feedback I receive is that people have more energy after the yoga session and it picks up productivity levels.

“It is really beneficial for RSI suffers and those suffering from computer aliments because they stretch muscle areas that they wouldn’t otherwise be doing.”

Five Elements Yoga business owner Melanie Creedy said employers would benefit from employees taking up yoga because the exercise helps concentration levels and posture.

“It works on focus and concentration. Some very good sports people tell me that after two or three classes their cricket is better or their swimming is better because they have more focus. We work on posture and aligning the body,” she said.

“It’s more than physical wellness, it is emotional wellness. You don’t get that at the gym.

“Stress is often the cause of many ailments and people are not taught how to de-stress.”

Ms Creedy said holding the classes at the workplace ensured greater participation than if employees could choose an outside venue.

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