While yoga as a practice has been around for more than 5,000 years, the prevalence of yoga in the U.S. is relatively recent. The popularity of the practice in the U.S. is also increasing with the number of Americans that practice yoga growing by 76% from 20.4 million in 2012 to over 36 million in 2016. Nearly 10% of the U.S. population practiced yoga at least once in the past 12 months. This explosion in popularity is not surprising, given the potential benefits the practice brings. Yoga promises both physical health improvements, such as relieving physical discomforts (back pains, arthritis, etc.), as well as mental health improvements by promoting mindfulness and preventing stress. Many researchers believe that yoga delivers many of the benefits that can be found from modern western medicines without any of the harmful side effects.
Wellable invited Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and Associate Neuroscientist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, to the studio to talk about how yoga can tremendously improve health and why employers should use it as a tool to improve the well-being of employees. Dr. Khalsa is also the author of Your Brain On Yoga, a book that discusses his decade-long clinical research on yoga and meditation. If an employer is looking to promote yoga in the workplace, take note! Dr. Khalsa has some useful tips for justifying a budget for yoga to higher management and how companies can get started.
Listen to the podcast below!
If you want to skip ahead to the topics that interest you, here's a quick timeline to help you navigate:
0:00:55: Introducing Dr. Khalsa
0:02:41: Dr. Khalsa's history with yoga and mindfulness
0:03:35: The fundamentals of yoga
0:07:30: Psychophysiological benefits of yoga
0:08:50: Yoga as a mindfulness tool
0:15:50: Conventional medicine versus yoga
0:15:12: Stress and emotion regulation
0:28:00: How to bring yoga to the workplace
Check out this helpful infographic from Workout Trends on why employers should invest in yoga for employees!