With the rise of technology and the increased speed of business and life, individuals are experiencing increasingly higher demands from every angle. The world is stressing: ding, you’ve got mail; beep, drive faster; buzz, answer your phone; ping, new message. People are inundated with noise and demands, which require attention and pause to navigate effectively. The problem here is the brain doesn’t prioritize ding, beep, buzz or ping. The brain is a skilled reactor: fight/ flight/ stop/ go/ answer/ ignore. Although more is being required of humans, it doesn’t mean humans are equipped with the necessary skills to manage the heighten volume of stressors.
In America, stress related illnesses accounts for approximately 75% of doctor’s visits, which is both Good News and Bad News. The Good News is the majority of stress related disease can be corrected. Stress-related diagnosis like heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, headaches, depression, anxiety and gastrointestinal problems can be avoided. A matter of fact, yoga and meditation are practices that have been proven to ameliorate the symptoms all of the diseases listed above. Yoga is a stone that hits two birds, providing the benefits of exercise through functional movement and the benefits of mindfulness through breath and staying present. In a world that struggles with the lack of time, this is a practice that allows the greatest benefit in the least amount of time.
And for the Bad News, people associate the practice of yoga with Hindu prayer, which makes sense since yoga did in fact originate in India; however, there have been several forms of “yoga” or mindful movement throughout the world, Qigong and Tai Chi being two. And your physical therapist might even repackage yoga and call it dynamic movement.
The essence of yoga is personal, physical and introspective, providing individuals an opportunity to detach from reaction and experience life as it exists in the moment. The practice is not male, female, Hindu, religious, flexible, inflexible, fit, overweight, right, wrong, good, bad; it’s simply a practice of self-discovery and awareness.
Several companies have caught on to the benefits of yoga and meditation, by investing in building in-office mind body studios, like Promega, Aetna, Zappos and Google, and others transform conference rooms into yoga studios. With increasing work and life demands, it’s clear employers are seeking ways to engage employees, keep them healthy and also prevent burnout. In a world where it’s nearly impossible to block the ding, beep, buzz or ping, the best one can do is learn skills to discern how and when to expend energy. By stressing yoga, we are able to more skillfully navigate the demands of life.