For most professionals, staying fit often takes a backseat, thanks to the perpetual scrambling between work and family that hardly leaves enough time even for a 30-minute workout. But achieving fitness goals can become a lot easier when companies themselves start investing in their employees’ health.

“I am often strapped for time because of work and travel. Within that, I can never take out time in the morning to work out. What works for me is having a yoga class right here in the office, because it saves on my travel (time) and it is an activity that I have started enjoying," says Piyush Bhadoria, 30, operations manager at Koenig Solutions, an information technology training company.

Koening has been conducting regular yoga classes—for their employees as well as employees from other companies who have opted for courses and are considered as students—on its premises for five years now. The classes held from Tuesday-Saturday start at 9-9.30am and are attended by 25-30 people.

“It is a great way to start the day on a positive note. I come to office, and the first thing I do is yoga. It helps me stay in control of my work and not let my emotions dictate how the day will turn out," Bhadoria says.

The classes were initially meant only for employees from other companies who were students, but were soon taken up by Koenig’s own employees as well. At Koenig, yoga is not just about being able to get in that half an hour of fitness. Chief executive officer and founder, Rohit Aggarwal, 49, has been a regular yoga practitioner for over five years. He believes that leadership requires clarity of thought, mental strength and absence of toxicity. “I think yoga gives all three. Mental strength takes over once the body gives up. By constantly progressing through tougher asanas we increase our mental strength." He feels yoga has helped him relieve stress, focus on work and increase stamina.

Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

G. Shuganya, 31, who works in the administration department at Koenig Solutions, used to practise yoga regularly, thanks to her family members. She stopped, however, after her work responsibilities started piling up. After joining Koenig about two years back, she re-started the routine, making time to attend the classes.

This is a great way to connect with people, feels Shuganya. “We have teachers, students and other employees doing yoga together. I am in the admin staff and sit in a different building. But because of the yoga classes, I have been able to connect with so many new people, and connect with them personally," she adds. The main purpose of yoga for her is the calmness she feels after doing it. The allied breathing exercises help her stay composed.

The yoga course is complimentary for staff and students, making it quite popular within the company. Sometimes, if there are too many people asking to attend a particular day’s class—more than 50—then some of the employees are asked to come the next day instead. The students however have the option of attending evening classes if the morning batches are full.

Alain Makoge, 29, came to India from the US about two months ago and enrolled at Koenig for a course. Having never done yoga before, Makoge was sceptical about trying it out. “I am a runner and I work out in the gym. Yoga has never been something I had thought of trying. But ever since I have practised it, I have seen a change in my mobility and stamina," says Makoge, who plans to continue with it even after he returns to the US later this year.

Makoge also feels the yoga session relaxes the “formal" barriers between teachers, students and other employees. Most of those who practise yoga do not work together. But the session lets them form teams and work towards fitness together. “It makes me feel like a part of a larger family at Koenig," he adds. Be it the health impact or bonding opportunities, yoga at Koenig Solutions is reaping many
benefits.

Asana in the Office is a series on how employees practise, embrace and enjoy yoga in their workplaces.

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