Should Yoga change to meet the needs of the corporate world? While not all Yoga schools are alike, people usually come to traditional classes with similar expectations. As the practice extends to health centers, schools, and businesses, however, the idea of Yoga as a physical exercise is becoming the norm for many people. Corporate classes provide a new arena for Yoga instructors, but they sometimes leave them struggling to figure out what is expected of them.
Yoga Instructors in the Workplace
Corporate Yoga instructors often develop their own niche, preferably one that capitalizes on their skills and passion. Students range from athletic types expecting physical exercise to beginners who have never tried Yoga. Others may also be dealing with chronic illnesses or recovering from recent injuries. Instructors need to show up with a plan to fit the company’s attitude and goals, as well as the students’ needs.
• The Classroom
Some companies have recreational areas, but many use empty meeting rooms or cafeterias for classes. Students may bring their own mats and props, but the instructor may also need to supply some or all of them. If furniture needs to be rearranged or moved, arrangements need to be made beforehand so the space is ready when students arrive. Students also need to dress in layers to accommodate building temperature. When possible, options to fluorescent lights are preferable.
• The Rules
Company policies and attitudes toward Yoga vary from one corporation to the next. Discussing issues like insurance, waivers, and etiquette prior to preparing for a new class clarifies everyone’s goals and attitudes. Establishing guidelines and giving written copies to students before or during the first class helps to avoid confusion and awkward situations down the road. When possible, welcoming students individually or contacting them by email is a good idea.
• What to Teach
Is the company open to meditation and breathing exercises, or do they only want an exercise class? Having props and teaching students how to adapt poses makes the class more comfortable for everybody, regardless of condition or experience. A detailed description of universal poses presented in a consistent sequence helps students to relax and stay in the present moment. Exercises should also be tailored to help students deal with work-related issues.
• Public Relations
Yoga training sessions create healthier, happier employees. Reducing stress and stretching tense muscles relieves anxiety, builds morale, and increases productivity. Yoga also helps employees deal with chronic illnesses, reduces absenteeism, and creates a feeling of goodwill within the corporation. When dealing with large corporations, having a website and professional brochure lends to an instructor’s credibility, and periodic feedback keeps everybody up-to-date.
Corporate Yoga offers instructors an opportunity to build their reputations within the community. For teachers who design workshops or provide hard-to-find services, it can also be a lucrative endeavor.
Communication and willingness to adapt are the tools to success in this area of Yoga.
© Copyright 2013 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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