Every occupation has its pros and cons. While a corporate job is secure, respectable and offers a consistent growth trajectory, it also tends to make our lifestyle sedentary and monotonous. Years go by and while we do make savings, we often forget to insure our health in the most reliable way that exists out there – a regular healthy session of yoga which can see us through stress, changing seasons and challenges of the modern human life of the cities. Probably the 15 odd attendees of the corporate yoga-cum-theatre workshop at TCS knew this well, why else would they be willing to sacrifice a Sunday morning for a session like this! Read on to get a quick glimpse of what these special sessions of yoga for office workers in TCS entailed.
(These sessions were taken over various weekends in the recreation room of TCS, Gateway Park branch. The room was used as a yoga room for the purpose of these corporate yoga classes)
1. Conditioning and mental focus
All good things begin with a well-focused mind. And that is one of biggest benefits of yoga. Being able to bring one’s self to focus before any activity is a hallmark of achievers and high performers. And so, for any office yoga session, this is a must do. Hence, we began with a short observation of body and breath, a calming chant of omkar and beautiful, bright smiles – the perfect preparation for a healthy and beautiful session to follow.
2. Body awareness and warm up
From my experience with not just yoga but also dance training for over two years, I can say with some confidence that initial warm up must not be underestimated in its importance. So this had to be the first thing to start with – to open up the body, ready it for the asanas, and to prevent injuries. The idea here is to cover all the key joints and critical injury sites during the warm up session – neck, shoulders, wrists, hips, knees, ankle, hamstrings, sides of the waist. These Laghuasanas (minor poses) are a great way of re-establishing correct posture and alignment in the body especially since a lot of the working professionals suffer from cervical, back and knee pains.
3. Asanas for balance, spine and extremities
Balance comes easy to few, but those who know the art of balance, have a lot in their favour – in life, success, health and even wealth. At the center of all yoga practices is a well-balanced mind. And the importance of mental balance for corporate employees can never be over-emphasized. For the session at TCS, we laid a lot of emphasis on balancing postures like Garudasana, Ekpadasana and Talasana. It was a welcome challenge for neuro-muscular coordination hitherto bored of mouse and keyboard tapping! Human body is miraculous, and determined effort showed results. From wobbly at the start, the group slowly reached stable! We were all itching to attempt longer duration of such poses. 🙂
4. Relaxation session
For modern living beings, often, pauses are more difficult to achieve than activity. Physically we may be sitting at one place, but our mind is engaged in all sorts of gymnastics which saps our energies and makes us feel tired and dull as we go about our lives. Yoga puts a lot of emphasis on the difficult but very, very critical art of relaxation. Thus, after working out the muscles of the whole body in various ways, we switched over to a well-deserved relaxation session where we consciously let our breath rates slow down, our muscles loosen up and our minds feel lighter by simply surrendering our entire being to the gravitational pull of mother Earth.
5. Breath work
Breathe in. Breathe out. From the belly! Most of us do not breathe right, with awareness and well enough to get the most out of the atmospheric oxygen and the respiratory process of our bodies. So it was highly important to educate and enlighten the group members about the importance of deriving the maximum from the magic that breath creates for our life-quality and life-span. The group was made to learn and practice different breathing techniques such as Yogendra Pranayam 1, 2, 3 and 4. As part of these practices, they had fun breathing deep with the belly instead of merely using the upper chest. They were made to practice breath equalization and the trick of putting to use various breathing muscles. The calming effect of these techniques was a welcome gift to their bodies right in the morning!
6. Recreational yoga games
The best dessert to a group yoga meal is a refreshing game session. These games exercise the mind in alertness, creativity and memory. The good thing is that the group enjoys healthy bonding and positivity of having fun and joy together. The silent ones become more participative and the over-active ones become more facilitative. Such activities are great at enhancing trust, co-ordination and enthusiasm in the whole group. The group wanted more and more of such games as they brought back the childish glee and delight which most of often lose away in the daily drag of office and home.