Have you heard the news? Sitting is the new smoking. Yes, that's right, sitting. According to Dr. James Levine, Director of May Clinic Arizona State and the inventor of the treadmill desk,
"Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death."
New evidence research has emerged suggesting that prolonged sitting increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, various types of cancer, and heart disease. And, similar to smoking, the results are not reversible; nothing can be done to counteract too much time spent sitting at a desk.
Why not take a break during the workday to bend, stretch, and twist? Yoga is an ancient practice that was originally developed to support dedicated meditation practitioners so that they could sit for extended periods of time. Sages understood the importance of the body as a vehicle to cultivate wisdom; so they spent their lifetimes practicing yoga. Nowadays, we can benefit from the apprenticeship, research and practice of these ancient yogis, applying their time-tested methods to help modern-day people to cope with stress. Yoga, in its current western-friendly form, simply stated, helps people to relax. When we relax deeply here is what happens in the body:
- Endorphins release in the brain and relax the muscles
- Relaxed muscles allow for better circulation
- Increased blood flow leads to elevated levels of oxygen in the body
- Accelerated blood flow allows nutrients to be absorbed in to the body
- Then enzymes can build up to help the body's digestion
- Hormones become balanced
- Toxins release and cells can regenerate and become healthy
When this process which some have called "the relaxation response," takes over, individuals experience a deep sense of well-being. It's no wonder that the immune system receives a boost when this level of physiological stabilization occurs. Healthy, balanced employees maintain more harmonious relationships, make wiser decisions, and come up with creative ideas. They also take fewer sick days and help to cultivate a positive culture that can magnetize top talent to the company. Who knew that this positive domino-effect could be achieved by taking some time to practice yoga? Well, the sages certainly did!