It may not surprise you that California-based Google has a mindfulness meditation program called Search Inside Yourself. Perhaps more surprising though is that companies such as General Mills, Aetna and Target also offer workplace programs featuring yoga and meditation. In fact, General Mills’ longstanding program was championed by non other than their Deputy General Counsel, Janice Marturano, while she was the company’s lead liaison to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Check out this recent article in the Financial Times to read about the benefits companies are reaping from yoga and meditation programs, including how Aetna used yoga to reduce stress levels in employees and healthcare costs significantly and how Leadership Excellence Magazine ranked General Mills 1st in developing leaders in 2011.
From Yoga Journal Blogs, October 10, 2012
If you’ve ever considered asking your employer for permission to coordinate a lunchtime yoga class, here’s some information that might help you make your case. A study recently published in the journal Occupational Medicine found that yoga in the workplace reduced employee stress and eased back pain.
Study participants, who were employees of the British government, were asked to practice yoga for 50 minutes once a week for eight weeks. They were also allowed to practice up to twice a week for 20 minutes at home with a DVD. When compared with a group that did no yoga at all, the yoga practitioners reported lower levels of stress and sadness as well as less back pain. While this was a small study with 37 participants in each group, it adds to a growing body of research that confirms yoga’s many benefits.
“Integrating yoga into the workplace, at lunchtime or after work, may provide a time-effective, convenient and practical method for reducing the costly effects of stress and back pain,” the researchers wrote in the Sept. 25 issue of Occupational Medicine. That’s good news for employers who want to reduce the cost of health benefits for employers—and good news for stressed out workers, too.
Researchers said further study is necessary to see if yoga can reduce the number of sick days employers take.
By Jessica Stillman
A new study shows even small amounts of meditation relieve stress and boost health. No wonder many business bigwigs turn to it.
Science and religion are often at odds, but at least occasionally there is convergence. Buddhist monks and devoted yogis have long contended that meditation reduces stress. A recent study agrees, even if the practice is stripped of any particular spiritual belief.
The randomized, controlled study was carried about by a team including a Duke university psychologist and an Aetna executive among others and was recently published in Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. The research assigned 239 employees to either weekly yoga practice, mindfulness meditation, or a control group. “After 12 weeks, participants in both programs had significantly lower stress, as well as reduced difficulties in sleeping, whereas the control participants did not,” reports The British Psychological Society’s Research Digest blog.
Read the full article here.