If you are thinking of new ways to provide health and wellness at work – you might want to consider workplace yoga.
Our lives are becoming increasingly strained under huge mental loads at work which often result in long hours sitting in the same position at our desk with few breaks. You don’t need to be an expert to realise that this sedentary and stressed lifestyle is really very bad for you.
Workplace yoga can provide much-needed support to staff that might be feeling the effects of mental and physical fatigue. *There is well-documented science showing that yoga relieves stress and anxiety and can reduce depression as it decreases levels of the stress hormone – cortisol. The physical benefits of yoga are exceptional – especially at work. Providing strength, flexibility and balance as well as improving sleep and reducing some chronic pain – such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
At Moaning Cow, we provide yoga, mindfulness, meditation and massage as part of our services and here we give some insight into the art of yoga practice through the eyes of our very own instructor -Berenice.
What type of yoga and meditation do you specialise in?
“I specialise in and teach mostly Hatha yoga in terms of asana (postures). I add a bit of flow or focus on static Hatha yoga, depending on the people I am teaching. I also lead Yoga Nidra (conscious relaxation) and Pranayama (breathing exercise) sessions.
When teaching yoga I focus on the therapeutic benefits of asana and apply it to the specific needs of clients (stress, lower back pain, insomnia, asthma etc). For meditation, I teach techniques that are directly inspired from the ancient Indian traditions.”
What is your favourite pose?
“My favorite asana (pose) is called Sirsasana. It is the headstand – I love it and perform it every day.
It has been my most challenging pose because, after falling on my head and staying in hospital for ten days when I was ten years old, I’ve been scared to stand upside down.”
“Sirsasana was a beautiful lesson – It taught me how to overcome my fears, approach them step-by-step and learn to trust myself more and more. It is also great to calm the nervous system – bringing balance and harmony back and is also very efficient at boosting the energy thanks to the sudden blood flow to the brain. “
Why do we dedicate our practice?
“In yoga philosophy we talk about Bhakti yoga. Bhakti in Sanskrit (language of ancient India) means ‘devotion’.
Have you noticed how much better you cook when you prepare a meal for your friends? Probably because you did it with pure love and full devotion to them and anything done for others with devotion is better than when it is done for ourselves.
I dedicate my own practice to life in general. Feeling grateful for being alive one day at a time. I’m grateful for my health, my breath, my daily practice, for being part of this world, for my family and friends and for the beautiful (and sometimes not so beautiful) experiences that life throws at me. Dedicating my practice, surrendering and feeling grateful help me to go through the day as the best version of myself.”
Yoga in our western society is very different from its original roots. You learned traditional yoga in India – what is it like and how different is it?
In western societies, we mostly view yoga as a way to exercise – we reduce it to only its physical form: to the sequence of asana.
“Though yoga is much more than the asana: in India yoga is viewed as a way to harmonise body, mind and soul. It is our behaviour and attitude (niyamas); the way you act in society and morals (yamas); the postures (asana); breath regulation (pranayama); concentration and control over the senses (dharana and pratyahara) and meditation (dhyana).
All of these lead to a state of bliss, of oneness called ‘samadhi’, that is the ultimate purpose. So talking with honesty to a colleague or sitting down for two minutes and concentrating on your breath – you are doing yoga. No need to be in a yoga studio and perform warrior – is everywhere, anytime!”
Berenice trained at the Hari Om Yoga Vidya school in Rishikesh, India and she joined our team this year from France.
To hear more about how we can support your health and wellness at work, email the team now at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7129 7310.
Photos by Unsplash