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Companies like Intel, Snapdeal, Infosys and others introducing yoga among the workforce

Education NewsNew Delhi: India’s leading cardiologist, Dr Naresh Trehan, practises breathing exercises in his car on his way to work. This energizes him for the day, which is usually packed with patients thronging the hospital from all over the world.

As a medical professional, Dr Trehan has his panacea ready, for he knows stress is a silent killer. And nowhere is its deadly effect being felt more than in Corporate India, where fast-paced lifestyles and the pressures of competition are cutting short executives’ life-spans. Companies – from Indian Railways to companies like Intel, Snapdeal, Jabong, Infosys and Maruti Suzuki – are introducing yoga and pranayama among the workforce to stem the impact of the disease.

Almost 60% to 70% of executives visiting Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals are suffering from stress-related diseases, says senior consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Dr Achal Bhagat. “The number of patients from the corporate world who seek help has gone up by about 20% this year compared with last year,” says Dr Bhagat. On the other hand, Dr Samir Parikh, a consultant psychiatrist at Fortis Healthcare, says the numbers have doubled over the past few years.

Stress is tightening its grip on Indian corporate executives fast, says Dr Devi Shetty, who started Narayana Hrudayalaya Health City in Bangalore and the Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences in Kolkata. Among other things, Dr Shetty advocates yoga to arrest stress-related diseases.

Companies or professionals offering Corporate Yoga have witnessed a steady rise in the past few years. “Last year, we used to get around 150 queries from corporates compared with 250 queries so far this year,” says Pradeep Solanki, director, Yoga On Call.

Many practitioners have customized yoga into chair yoga, flight yoga, office yoga, laughing yoga, yoga on the move, walking yoga and even 10-minute yoga for BPOs where there is paucity of space and time.

“With many executives travelling a lot, we have structured yoga for frequent flyers. The executives can practice ‘asanas’ (postures) while seated, which will help them recuperate from fatigue,” says yoga guru of the Times of India Group, Dr Surakshit Goswami. He has so far trained over 1,000 teachers who are practicing with corporates the world over. Infosys has more than 300 employees across its development centers attending yoga classes at the campuses. They are mostly in the age group of 25-35 years,” says Richard Lobo, head of employee relations, Infosys.

Yoga sessions help Gaurav Mahajan, a senior systems engineer at the company, get re-energised. “It relaxes my mind and body, and improves my productivity at work. It also improves clarity of thought and aids in self-control,” he says. At Abbott, yoga sessions are held towards the evening. “Our employees do not have to wait for these in office and miss their regular commute back home,” says Ajay Bhatt, regional HR director, Abbott India. However, at Maruti Suzuki, yoga sessions are organised post office hours, according to SY Siddiqui, chief mentor. Allied Blenders and Distillers is planning to introduce ‘Sahaj Yoga’, which is practising it in a spiritual and meditative way, says its chief people officer, Sanjeev Dixit. Companies like Aegon Religare Life Insurance are planning to start yoga sessions. “Yoga is a sure way to healthy living with a fit mind and body,” says Saba Adil, head – talent.

Kartik Vyas of Potentials Unlimited was in Goa this weekend, imparting knowledge on yoga to 100 CEOs and CFOs under a programme titled ‘The Power of a Focused Mind’ organised by HDFC Ergo. “Yoga can help to develop the human resource to its optimum. I have incorporated yoga into stress management workshops for Mahindra & Mahindra, Bunge, Mundra Port & SEZ, Hughes, Iffco, Novartis and Trident Hotels,” says Vyas.

Intel too is focusing on yoga for its employees. “We strongly believe that healthy and energised employees help build a great place to work, leading to the organisation’s success,” says Preethi Madappa, director, HR, Intel South Asia. Started in 2007, the yoga and meditation programme is now available at most Intel India campuses in Bangalore.

Source: The Economic Times

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