Artikel: ‘Meditating in a tailor-made suit’

'Happy employees, less stress, better performance: no wonder there is growing interest in business yoga lessons. Company fitness is not current anymore, people have a bigger need for relaxation than training their muscles.’


A group of people in office clothing is sitting at an oval meeting table with their eyes closed; the yoga instructor is wearing a smart suit. They rub their hands together and fold them concentrated against their chest, after breathing in deeply they chant a mantra. A while later they put their hands on their shoulders and twist their upper bodies from left to right to loosen the spine. Subsequently they stretch their arms in the air, while practicing an active, fast form of belly breathing. ‘This is an unusual picture in a company’ says Joost van Dijk, founder of Business Yoga, with a smile. He shows recordings of a Business Yoga session with a division from ING Bank. The breathing exercise teaches people to deal more effectively with pressure.

The techniques used in Business Yoga derive from Kundalini Yoga, a dynamic type of yoga with a focus on breathing and meditation. ‘It goes beyond the physical and has a maximum effect in the shortest amount of time,’ says Van Dijk. He started with Business Yoga seven years ago. Many large Dutch companies are among his clients: ING Bank, Achmea, the Police Department of Amsterdam, universities and some smaller companies. Besides group training he offers individual training programs to a variety of clients such as artists, doctors and lawyers.

 

Since a few years employers invest more in the health of their employees, because sick employees are expensive –especially in the long term. Business Yoga can help in reducing workplace absenteeism, because of beneficial effects on RSI, stress and burnout. This claim is supported by over 600 research projects on Internet database Medline. They describe the beneficial effects of yoga on blood pressure, digestion, bodyweight, stress, depression, rheumatism and sleeping disorders.

Joost van Dijk and his colleagues do not only work with groups but also coach managers individually. ‘Next to the regular Business Yoga lessons we provide individual coaching and spiritual management and guide processes of change. With yoga techniques we help people break with their fixed patterns to open the way for essential change; this leads to more team spirit and innovation. After six months the working atmosphere on a department has significantly improved; people don’t take a sick day as quickly, and there are less burnouts while reintegration back into the workplace happens faster,’ lists the Kundalini specialist the advantages. ‘Participants function better on all levels - also at home. They become more authentic, living from their heart.’

An accountant of ING Bank reports after sixteen weeks: ‘I notice that I’m more peaceful than before. I get feedback from my colleagues that I exude calmness and seem more tuned into “receiving”. Another comment: ‘Yoga is the talk of the day at our department.’

tekst: Elke van Riel | Yoga Magazine  ‘07 Nr 3 translation: Annelieke Dirks

 

Would you like to know more? We will be happy to visit you and explain the Business Yoga concept.
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