Stress levels are catastrophically high these days and it’s no secret that mind-body practices like yoga can help. In this post I’ll share 5 tips I’ve used to launch successful corporate yoga programs with rave reviews. Whether you want to share your yoga teaching skills with your 9–5 crew or you’re a yogi who is hoping to support fellow co-workers by hiring someone to teach at your company, you can use these tips to offer something supportive at your workplace that’s bound to have meaningful results.
I completed yoga teacher training with the intention to deepen my personal practice and support my own health. As a busy professional, I didn’t plan on teaching yoga in addition to my full time job and I certainly didn’t expect to integrate my yoga experience directly into my career. However, during a particularly stressful time at a place I worked, I offered to lead yoga classes to help employees cope and it ended up being one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. Since then, I’ve developed multiple programs within organizations I’ve been a part of and consulted with others to build impactful programs of their own.
If you’re keen to boost morale and bring some balance into your workplace, here are my top 5 tips for launching a yoga program at your company HQ:
Choose a convenient time and place.
This seems like common sense, yet not doing this is one of the biggest mistakes I see in workplace wellness initiatives. Offering something to check a box isn’t the same as offering something that works for the people you’re striving to support. Sure, you can’t please everyone, but you can be thoughtful about keeping people’s lifestyles in mind and avoiding days and times when workflow at the company tends to be hectic. If possible, record sessions for those who are unable to join live and post the videos in Slack (or something similar).
Show up to teach at the same time every week, even if attendance is low at first. All successful classes build over time. The trick is to not get discouraged in the beginning. In the first corporate program I launched, only one person showed up for the first several weeks. It was a little awkward, but I showed up and led a great class every week without fail. That one person had such a profound decrease in her stress levels and back pain as a result of my class that she encouraged her whole team to start attending. Word kept spreading and it wasn’t long before we had a big crew that cherished our weekly mini retreat time together.
Relate the class material to work.
Yoga is just a bunch of silly shapes and stretches if we don’t use it to form a mind-body connection that serves us in our real-world lives. Since we are talking about a work yoga program here, think about what parts of yoga would specifically support people in their roles at your company and call these things out in class. This could look like doing hip flexor stretches if employees sit a lot or talking about specific cues throughout the workday to try a breathing technique outside of class.
Connect with participants before and after class.
Teaching a good class is important, yet most people will continue to return (and invite friends) based on how you make them feel. Welcome attendees and create a sense of belonging by learning people’s names, asking about their yoga experience or even catching up on something personal. Aside from the many proven benefits of a yoga practice, part of what’s healing about doing non-work things with co-workers is the chance to connect on a personal level and remember each other’s humanity.
Capture authentic testimonials.
Testimonials and reviews are a great way to market your class and the best way to collect them is on the fly. In my experience, people tend to clam up and/or write something awkward and formal if you ask for a testimonial directly (unless you’re asking a copywriter, of course 😉). If someone says something in passing or sends a text about how much they loved your class, thank them for the compliment and ask if they mind if you share their comment in an email or post to promote the program. Stay on the lookout for any positive feedback and repurpose that content to market your class and reach more people who can benefit from your offering.
Consider dusting off your un-used yoga teaching certification (or letting your colleagues experience another side of you if you already teach regularly) by using these 5 tips to build something rewarding and impactful at your place of work.
If you could use help with offering wellness programing, like yoga and nervous system support, at your company — let’s connect!
You can check out my offerings for companies and teams here and use the links there to reach out to me about designing something custom for your group.
Cheering you on.