I have lost count for the number of times I have come close to losing my cool on a co-worker or boss in the work place. Counting backwards from 10 has never worked. Walking over to the water cooler for a sip of cold water to calm down does not do the trick. Going for a walk to get a breath of fresh air sounds good in theory, but it sometimes makes the situation worse because I would contemplate getting in my car never to return again. The only thing that kept me from running away were bills that needed to be paid. I would then find myself even more worked up and stressed out, wanting to unleash on something or someone. It wasn’t until I took the advice of my doctor to start attending yoga classes that I learned how to find peace within.
Through breathing techniques learned in yoga, I was able to achieve a sanctuary in my mind to escape to for a few moments. Kicking my heels off and not caring who was watching, I would stand up near my desk, close my eyes and breathe into the half-moon position, stretching to both sides releasing all of the stress and tension from the day. Bending over into the rag doll position, I could feel the tightness in my muscles let go to relax. Slowly lifting up and moving into the balancing stick position, my boss and co-workers would begin to look at me like I had lost my mind. If they only knew that it was yoga that was detonating a human explosion.
In doing more research on the perks of doing yoga in the workplace, I discovered many businesses are moving towards making yoga mandatory in corporate America. According to the Reading Eagle, yoga in the workplace has been proven to de-stress employees which, in turn, boosts morale and increases productivity. Studies at the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have also shown fewer absences due to employees actually wanting to go to work. Promoting health and wellness, yoga could possibly lead to fewer doctor visits, bringing healthcare expenses down for the employee as well as the employer.
Though studies on yoga in the workplace are not conclusive, those that practice yoga will attest to the benefits of this exercise in the corporate world. Yoga was put to the test when my manager and a co-worker were listening to an r&b song playing over the speakers throughout the office. Expressing a dislike for the genre of music, my co-worker asked who dances to this kind of music. My manager immediately responded, “N*ggers.” There was a pause when they suddenly realized I was sitting there. They rushed out of the office, bursting into laughter when they reached the hallway. Another co-worker asked quietly if I was okay. No, I was far from okay. There is not a word in the Webster dictionary to describe that level of fury. I closed my eyes and I listened to my own breath. Say whatever you want about yoga, it saved lives that day.