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Stress Out, Yoga In

Stress Out, Yoga In

Author: Teresa M McAleavy
Publications: Hindustan Times
Date: September 25, 2007

The corporate world is using yoga to increase productivity.

Yoga Is All About Learning Techniques So That If A Curveball Comes Your Way, You Know How To Calm Yourself In The Midst Of Everyday Chaos Tevis Gale, Owner, Balance Integration Corporation

INCREASING WORK productivity sound extremely tempting, though difficult. But Tevis Gale asserts that her services help do the job, especially as the "24/7-isation of the workplace" works furiously to push today's workforce closer towards a burnout. The former AOL employee and current work-life satisfaction guru brings yoga and other on-site stress-busters to workplaces. "We create employees who thrive," said Gale, owner of Balance Integration Corporation in New York City "All our program . ming is intended to unleash employee productivity, and happiness, at the risk of sounding corny ."

With less than 27 per cent of US employees (in a recent Gallup poll) viewing themselves as "truly engaged" at work, Gale says that a "national crisis" is looming. "If we can help people feel better and think better, no matter where they are in the company chain, they will feel better and start con tributing a lot better. Then, the entire company will start to work better," said Gale, who has 13 years working in marketing and business development for Fortune 500 companies, including International Business Machines Corp., Coca-Cola Co. and General Motors Corp., before leaving AOL to launch Balance Integration in 2002.

She signed up AOL as her first customer after saying in her exit interview that stress drags on productivity, and that she wanted to help "corporate people enjoy work instead of just stressing until they are about to drop."

The company has grown to a staff of 15 directors and support staffers, plus 60 fitness and yoga teachers and a network of about 200 more freelance instructors. Its customers include large companies such as Yahoo! Inc. Google Inc., Disney Publishing Worldwide, Bear Stearns Cos. and Deutsche Bank AG. Fees is "several hundred dollars and up," Gale said, depending on what services are provided. These can include a one-time workshop, wellness newsletter and on-site classes. The company has expanded, with locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Colorado.

"You can go to the Harvard Business School and learn how to be a fantastic businessperson, but no one ever teaches people how to better manage themselves through the course of a workday," Gale said. "It is all about learning techniques so that if a curveball comes your way, you know how to calm yourself in the midst of everyday chaos."

Edison resident Linda Blank said that she felt much better after pulling herself "out of the craziness of the workday" to take yoga classes from a Balance Integration fitness pro at the Manhattan offices of Yahoo!. "They asked if there was anything special that I needed taken care of and I said two tension knots in my shoulder," explained Blank, a Yahoo Marketing Associate. "I left the yoga class, and an hour later they were gone."

Blank said she was able to get back to work, unencumbered. "The tension of the day is gone and you can just do whatever needs to be done," said Blank, who usually takes the on-site yoga classes at the end of her workday twice a week. "And being jammed with work, that is very helpful."

Jeannay Murphy, who works for Disney Publishing in Manhattan, said the on-site exercise helps her feel less "annoyed" during her daily commute home. She too, takes yoga classes after her shift ends.

An Assistant Manager for print purchasing, she says "People talking loud on their cell phones, the traffic ... those things do not bother me as much. I just feel less stressed and I am able to concentrate better."

Thus, not only is yoga changing the workplace ambience, but is also changing sensitive employees into much tolerant people. So, go ahead and indulge in the stress buster!


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