FORTY-FIVE-year-old Kamal Chavan knows exactly which yoga posture will help him relieve pain from a stiff knee while Uday Patil strongly feels daily practice of pranayam has brought down his stress levels.
When they started learning yoga seven years ago at a private bio tech firm at Theur, 25 kms from Pune city, nearly 800 employees were strictly warned of salary cuts if they failed to turn up for the classes. Over the years, they don’t have to fret over the punitive measures, as not a single day passes by without each of them practising yoga.
June 21 marks the second year of international yoga day celebrations but for 800 employees of Theur-based biotech firm Rise and Shine, daily yoga sessions have become a way of life and a grand celebration has been planned on the occasion.
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Bhagyashree Patil, Managing Director of the plant tissue culture facility, which has a production capacity of 40 million plants per annum and exports a variety of crops like gerbera, carnations, orchids and others to 25 countries, admits that she had made yoga compulsory for the employees over seven years ago. “It was for their well being. At the age of 45, I had severe back pain and it was consistent practice of yoga that really lifted me out of my misery both physically and emotionally,” she recalls.
“If yoga helped me tide over my crisis, I can provide some relief to the employees, especially women, as most of them come from nearby rural villages and have studied only up to Standard IV or V,” says Patil, who has set up a large wellness hall with over 100 yoga mats and other props. “It was a challenge to get all of them to practise yoga, but there has been no looking back,” she said.
Teaching them yoga, especially the women from the rural background and labourers, was a totally new experience, says Rajeshree Tupe, an Iyengar teacher who runs Shriyog Institute at Wanowrie. “Asanas is the first step towards the journey inwards and yoga takes us to a deeper level. The journey also goes to explore our breath control and a sustained and disciplined practice can take us back to our roots,” Tupe says, adding that it was a satisfying experience when the employees responded positively to the sessions.
There are different batches – for supervisors, managerial level, for the farm labourers and other staff every week. Vaishali Valhekar, who works at the accounts section, admits that even if there are no daily classes, they look forward to the next session as it brings a certain level of calmness to the mind that helps them work with a rejuvenated spirit.
Researchers find benefits of yoga for senior citizens
Participation in yoga programmes can improve balance, provide a safe and enjoyable form of exercise and may reduce the risk of falls among senior citizens, say researchers. Researchers from The George Institute for Global Health have found that yoga can have a positive impact on the balance and physical mobility of people aged over 60. A summary of the results of published trials provides preliminary evidence that yoga may be effective in reducing the risk of falls and promoting independence in older age, says Dr. Vivekanand Jha, executive director, The George Institute for Global Health India.