Efficiency Improvement Through Yogic Practices for Working Professionals

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EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENT THROUGH YOGIC PRACTICES FOR WORKING PROFESSIONALS WITH SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE

 

1         Introduction

1.1        Introduction to the concept of Yoga

1.1.1          History of Yoga

“Yoga” is mainly known as spiritual discipline. It can be explained as an art and science of healthy living. The origin of yoga is said to be accounted about 5000 years ago, and the people of the Indus-Saraswati civilisation are considered to be the pioneers in Yoga. The earliest mentions of the word Yoga is found in the old sacred text of Rig Veda. Vedas are usually considered as documents which have a collection of songs, mantras, shlokas and rituals which are to be practised by the Vedic priests also known as Brahmans (Burgin, n.d.). The word ‘Yoga’ has been evolved from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’. The meaning of ‘Yuj’ is ‘to join’, to unite, or ‘to yoke’ (Basavaraddi, 2015).

In India, Yoga started as early as 3000 B.C., as per the archaeological evidence (Detroit, 1990).The reason why Yoga still survives, and will always continue to live with same significance, is that it is the storage of something very familiar and fundamental in nature which has its roots deep in the human soul and psyche’ (Worthington, 1982).

However, according to the archaeological evidence, it is indicated that a well-established system of yoga practices, which was started and existed long before the figurines and seals were found and made. It has been believed that previously, the methods and rituals of yoga were written on palm leaves which were fragile and could be easily damaged, lost or even destroyed. It is suggested that one of the difficulties in tracing a history of yoga is its nature. It leaves nothing behind except for the myths and legends of tremendous powers possessed by several of the more accomplished expounders of the art. Considering the last years only, the efforts have been made to provide it with an intellectual push which would make it rise to the status of philosophy in its right. However, the attempts have not been successful completely as yoga is not an intellectual activity. Hence, in India, it runs attached with the harness with Samkhya philosophy. In fact, Yoga has nature which is all along to be anti-intellectual and most importantly anti-religious. It is the truest form of itself, which always stands close to the spontaneous and whole human creation. It is more natural than reasonable, more experimental, and versatile than formal, more central to the entire world rather than of this world and more closer to art than to science (Goode, 2012; Burgin, n.d.).

Additionally, in Indian religions, yoga is described as derived from Sanskrit word meaning “yoking” or “joining”. It has been introduced as the originator of the ways or techniques for transforming one’s consciousness and achieving salvation or liberation (moksha) from karma and the rebirth which is also called samsara (Bowker, 1997). As per Chopra (2004), Yoga has been given such importance that it is considered as the most appropriate and most efficient way to achieve the union of man with God. It also directs towards the liberation of the soul from the rounds of rebirth and death. As asserted by Devi Bhavanani (n.d.), Yoga is an ancient Sanskrit word. It has two syllables, which has included the entire body of spiritual experiences and the experiments of thousands of realised masters. These Masters have found that the ultimate reality is in their Karuna and compassion. They have carefully considered a path for others to follow towards betterment. Considering the traditional terminology, Yoga is described as a link that joins the individual self with the universal self. It is referred as a way of expanding the narrow egoistic nature and personality to an all pervasive, imperishable, and joyful state of reality (National Council for Teacher Education, 2015).

According to Dr I. V. Basavaraddi (2015), the practice and importance of Yoga are widely taken to have begun with the very commencement of civilisation. Yoga as an ancient discipline has its origin thousands of years ago, even a long before the religions and the concerned systems were found and implemented. Most of the Yoga followers believe that Shiva was the first yogi or Adiyogi. He was also the first Guru or Adi Guru. Around some thousand years earlier, on the banks of the lake Kanti sarovar in the Himalayas, Adiyogi showered the valuable knowledge into the legendary Saptarishis, or they are also called “seven sages”. Those sages shared forward the effective yogic science to several parts of the world which involve Asia, Northern Africa and South America. However, in India, only the yogic system found the fullest and justified expression. It was Agastya, who was the Saptarishi travelled and started Yoga, across the whole Indian subcontinent. He further implemented this culture all around the main yogic way of life.

Yoga although ancient has not terminated in its evolution and has been updated and adapted by the people with the times in which they have been living. The long and knowledge rich history of the evolution of yoga can fundamentally divide into four parts according to the period which is (Burgin, n.d.):

  1. Pre-classical yoga: accounted from the early beginning and conception of yoga
  2. Classical yoga: defined in the period when the Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra was written almost the period from 500 A.D. to 800 A.D.
  3. Post-classical yoga: defined after the development of Tantra yoga which is the period from 800 A.D. to 1700 A.D.
  4. Modern Yoga: improvised in the period starting from the late 1800s and the early 1990s

1.1.2          Fundamentals of Yoga Sadhna

The practice of yoga has been accounted to work not only on the body and the mind of an individual, but it is also found to modify one’s emotions and augment the energy. Thus, the yoga practices are fundamentally divided into four basic classifications which are listed as follows:

  1. Karma Yoga: The yoga of Body
  2. Gyana Yoga: The yoga of the mind or the intellect
  3. Bhakti Yoga: The Yoga of the emotions
  4. Kriya Yoga: The yoga for the energies.

Various systems of yoga have been defined and all of these systems can be considered as an intersection of one or more of these yoga categories. The mix of this yoga are unique to an individual, and only a guru can make appropriate combinations of these four to suit an individual. Thus all the ancient writing insist that yoga must be practiced under the directions and guidance of a Guru.

Yoga is a practice and is not associated with any particular religion. Yoga is practiced for the orientation of all four systems in an individual. Yoga thus does not discriminate by worship, nationalities, as well as races and, is considered as orienting the body and mind to the universe and is considered as the key to comprehensive individual and social health.

As explained in the previous sections, Yoga is an ancient discipline which is designed with the specific aim of bringing balance to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual phases of an individual. The concept of yoga has been explained numerous times in a metaphorical manner as a tree which comprises of eight distinct aspects or branches. The yoga can be practices with these eight limbs as follows (Ross & Thomas, 2010):

  1. Yama (universal ethics)
  2. niyama (individual ethics)
  3. asana (physical postures)
  4. pranayama (breath control)
  5. pratyahara (control of the senses)
  6. Dharana (concentration)
  7. dhyana (meditation)
  8. samadhi (bliss).

1.1.3          Importance of Yoga

In today’s time, everyone focusses upon the material wealth and power instead of good health, knowledge, and creativity. People are more concerned about matching their steps with others to be updated with the fast walk of life. We forget to realise the primacy of man over the machine and humanity over materialistic life. In some cases, unfortunately, some people are following the decadent aspects of the western culture with materialism outlet (Madanmohan, n.d.). In Yoga practice, one can achieve peace, health and create a union between the mind and the body. Yoga is the perfect example and way in achieving holistic health because of the combination of the body with peace. No human being can ever imagine finding an existence without peaceful mind and healthy body. Hence, the repairing of the body leads to the improvement of the mind. This is how a human body is interrelated with its mind (Bhattacharjee, 2009). Apparently, if one feels tense or pain in the neck, head, shoulders, hands, legs or any other part of the body it will be tough to relax and be happy. With an aim to achieve the physical and mental peace, Yoga comprises several practices or asana (physical postures) or a philosophy that suggests tools to find physical well-being, peace, lasting happiness and also helps in increasing the efficiency of human lives (Bhattacharjee, 2009).

Yoga is profoundly known and understood as a program that supports and promotes the physical exercises (asana) and breathing exercises (pranayama) as well. Most importantly, Yoga “is a discipline of different physical postures supportive in purifying the human body and provides the adequate physical strength and stamina essential for long periods of meditation which further adds on a direction to the human lives (Raj et.al, 1994).

Yoga is considered as an ancient discipline. It is valued and recognised as one of the most essential and valuable practices of our culture (Anita, 2014). Yoga is a science that revolves around spirituality for the integrated and holistic development and helps in magnifying the human body’s physical, mental, and supports the moral-spiritual aspect of everyone’s life. Primarily, Yoga is constructed as a practice or science and discipline of the philosophy which is practical, beneficial and useful in our daily lives (Verma, et. al., 2015). Yoga helps in producing normal physiological changes. It has the sound scientific basis of working on the human body (Madanmohan, 1992). There is much other research done highlighting the practical and positive aspect of Yoga on the entire humanity (Conboy, et. al, 2013). With this significant increase in research documenting the beneficial properties of yoga, efforts have been made to understand the tools of these health benefits, comprising of investigation on inflammation and the autonomic nervous system (Birdee, et. al., 2009).

Yoga in daily life is a process of practice consists eight levels of development in the spheres of physical, mental, spiritual health and social. When the human body is physically healthy and feels fresh, the mind is clear, more prone to think, focused and stress is in a good under control. Moreover, the primary objectives of “Yoga in Daily Life” are Physical Health, Mental Health, Social Health, Spiritual Health and Self-identification or realisation of the Divine within us. These goals can be achieved by love and help for all living beings and even for the non-living, respect for life and every other human being, a keen protection of nature and the surrounding, a state of peace, pure thoughts and overall positive lifestyle with the touch of physical, mental and spiritual practices. The overall development of tolerance for all human beings and nations, cultures and religions can be obtained through Yoga. Yogic practices are known to develop one’s overall performance, out of which Pranayama is an essential, yet minuscule known part of Yoga (Yadav, et. al., 2015).

1.1.4          Health benefits of adopting yoga in one’s lifestyle

The effect of yoga on individuals with various anxiety levels has also been a major area of study. The studies have been done in clinical as well as non-clinical settings. It has been found that yoga can effectively combat stress and reduce anxiety levels. Yoga can be thought of as a better alternative to swimming, fencing, body conditioning and other sorts of exercises (Kirkwood, et.al, 2005).

Absolute benefits of yoga are numerous. Yoga has been found useful in healthy individuals and helps augment flexibility, improve posture, build muscle and bone strength. Yoga can be thought of as an answer to various budding ailments because yoga necessarily increases the blood flow to the body thereby pumping more oxygen to each cell in the body and help fight minor ailments. This can also be thought of as yoga boosting the levels of haemoglobin and red blood cells. Further, yoga helps drain the lymph also helping in the overall improvement of the immunity of an individual.

Yoga, when practised regularly, has been seen to regulate various bodily functions like heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar as well as secretion of various important hormones like adrenaline, thyroxin, etc. Considering the brain functioning, as explained earlier, yoga pumps more oxygen to the brain which in turn helps in increasing the concentration power, reduction in anxiety, relaxation, improvement of balance as well as the maintenance of a healthy nervous system functioning. Yoga also helps cure sleep disorders and in turn proves to be a relaxing for the brain and the body (Pestonjee, Muncherji, 1991).

There have been various studies which have tried to evaluate the health benefits of yoga. Considering a study undertaken by Ross & Thomas (2010), the scientific aspects of practising yoga on a daily basis are tried to be evaluated. The overall results of the studies which compare the effect of yoga and exercise on a healthy as well as diseased body conclude that yoga can be considered as a much more efficient option for augmenting various health related issues both physical and mental. The diseases in which the practice of yoga is found to be effective are HRV, high blood sugar, cholesterol, salivary cortisol as well as oxidative stress. It has been found that yoga has some symptomatic relief in cases of fatigue, sleep disorders, pain, etc. in the case of healthy as well as ill individual groups (Ross & Thomas, 2010).

Thus, with the help of regular practice of yoga, one can be sure to cure the common ailments and remain disease free. Moreover, apart from the state of physical and mental well-being, yoga helps one connect to their spiritual side and also assist in the containment of the emotions, thereby bringing an overall feeling of happiness and content. Further, it is found helpful in boosting one’s self-confidence and imparting with a new zeal to face life and work pressures in the stressful modern times (Khalsa, et.al, 2012).

Section on Productivity Vs Efficiency ?

Section on – Definition of what is ‘Sedentary Lifestyle’ ? and some data (pls. refer my synopsis).

1.2        Work and Lifestyle in the recent times

The modern lifestyle is much more physically peaceful and emotionally stressful. Since the time technology took over under the modern era, the constant improvement and development of science and technological advancement have facilitated men with more facilities and comforts even in the case of necessities. This has helped the human understand the world in the better way, and the man has started pursuing the limitless opportunities which he perceives as a result of these advances. The man has also taken upon to control his environment which is possible according to this progress (Robins, Webster, 1999).

The advances happening in the fields of science and technology have given the man immense power to control his environment; however, these advances are affecting him in ways which are unexpected. Moreover, the availability of these comforts has caused men to face a lot of difficulties and problems.

Poor farmers moved from farming to jobs as labourers in the cities. They could find an answer to their poverty. However, the life which they adopted for the same reason brought a lot of other issues like unhappiness, stress and similar others. Presently, when the world is moving from the industrial times to the post-industrial as well as the technologically advanced times, significant lifestyle changes are happening which the individuals are not ready for. Thus, the world is looking for finding the solutions and way out to solve the menacing problems regarding unhappiness, restlessness, constant disturbance, hypertension and stress, etc. (Anita, 2014).

Considering the word lifestyle specifically in the modern times, lifestyle essentially means the way an individual leads his life and is majorly reflected upon one’s behaviour. Lifestyle can be understood as the total of one’s food, activities and living choices. With advancement in technology and more and more people moving to cities for jobs, the modern society has seen a drastic shift in the lifestyle. With changing times, the individuals have started facing issues like unstable nuclear families, financial pressures to satisfy the modern lifestyle habits as well as unending work schedules emerging from the economic pressures. Thus, the life of the modern man is filled with expectations, tensions and tiring work along with the higher amount of complexity. Their mental well-being is dictated by various factors which have a complicated relationship and cannot be easily tuned.

It has also been found that mental illness in the modern times emerges from the following factors:

  1. Work life: The work life of an individual is highly affected by the technological advancements. The businesses advance at an unprecedented rate thereby creating tougher competitions and thus stress among the working professionals to be their best at all the times. Also, individuals in modern times equipped with various tools and technology are expected to perform a variety of diverse activities. Thus making the individual wok life hectic and stressful.
  2. Food habits: A major lifestyle change is a change in the food habits of the individual. These habits are usually dictated by the work of an individual. Due to the constant pressure of work and time crunches, the individuals have taken to skipping meals and eating on the go. This option does not offer proper nutrition to the individuals and further affects their well-being.
  3. Family life: Due to the demand of times and financial pressures in the family, the modern times have seen all the family members go out and work so as to get enough money to run the house. This results in the families not getting enough time to bond as one and leads to an array of other unexpected problems.

All these acts as modern stressors. It has been found that some amount of stress enhances individual’s performance at the job as well as at home but beyond a certain limit, these stressors have a negative effect. If these stresses manifest for a longer time, end up affecting an individual’s mental and physical health (Soewondo, 1996).

In the modern times, there is a significant growing proof regarding the global influence of mental illness. The mental health problems are considered under the most important reasons behind the burden of disease and disability worldwide. Primarily, about five of the ten leading reasons behind the disability which is to be seen worldwide are mental health problems. As evaluated, these mental health issues are common in low-income countries as they are in rich ones excluding the age factor, gender and social strata. Furthermore, all predictions and reports point out towards the future in which the dramatic increase will be seen in mental health problems (UK Department of Health, 1993).

Additionally, health can be explained as a state of complete physical, psychological and social well-being. It does not primarily need to be defined as merely an absence of disease or problem. In the recent times, this definition has been improved and evaluated, and it has been added that “Attainment of a proper level of health that will help each to have an efficient social and economic productive life” (Karalay 2015).

In today’s modern time of 21st century, the environment is struggling for survival. The human beings are suffering more and more physical and psychological stress with a misbalance in their working and personal lives. To pace with the era of advancements one cannot control the work pressure or the effects that a body faces because of a sedentary lifestyle, but we can find out the ways to tackle them the correct way and to fulfil this, Yoga is a perfect creation. The goal of yoga is to accomplish the coordination and harmony in physical, mental and spiritual (Verma, et. al., 2015).

It is most widely known that yoga practice results in much better working and regulation of automatic nervous system and it helps in reducing depression, hypertension and anxious symptoms irrespective of the kind of population (Pascoe, 2015). An importance of Yoga in the corporate world sums up in some of its positive factors. The ability to stay stress-free and relaxed is like a huge wall all around the human beings’ lives. Now a day, especially the working professional find hard to climb the wall of stress and disturbance that they have to cross over. Yoga practices help in deep breathing. It also stretches to establish a real and peaceful sense of inner and outer space. With an effect of various Yoga practices the tightening deadlines, problems and other work related issues and stresses will gradually lose their grip on an individual, as one starts to learn to breathe without any obstacle. Yoga also enhances the energy and helps in awakening hidden reserves of energy within the nervous system of a man. The improved endocrine and cardiovascular processes let go off the drowsiness and fatigue and further replaced them by alertness and aliveness. Happiness becomes an easier process to attain through Yoga. It physiologically transforms stress, body pain and depression through oxygenating the body and the brain (Gaurav, n.d.).

1.2.1          Importance of Yoga in present settings

In the modern times, the human prefers to live in a city with all comforts, and he likes to surround himself with all new and advanced technology. The individual is subjected to fast life, exposed to sudden changes, always lost in the sea of information, visually congested and is in no way in any sync with nature. The present day man requires a lot of material stuff to be happy. He is constantly on edge to prove himself better of the competition. In other words, the human being has forgotten what he is and is following various images portrayed by the modern society of what he should be and becomes happy on fulfilling them (Torgovnick, 1991).

In this fast paced life, yoga can be considered as an opportunity to put all this at a pause and discover who one is. With yoga, one can connect to one’s inner self, bring about balance in physical, mental, emotional as well as spiritual facets of one’s life. Thereby, yoga helps one find the inner happiness and brings about the clarity of mind. With yoga practice, one becomes aware and much more accepting of the ultimate reality, and thereby the individual can improve his relationship with the surrounding elements and the environment in a more peaceful manner (Gawain, 2016).

1.2.2          The Sedentary lifestyle and its implications

Physical activity is considered to be one of the most significant actions which a person performs in his daily life. Any action which makes an individual use physical effort to move his body is considered beneficial for physical health. With the advent and advancement of the technology, the human being has outsourced all the strenuous physical activities to machines and robots, relieving himself from the manual and physically demanding jobs. Today most of the work that majority of individuals carry out is of supervising the robots or some mental work which does not require the physical motion of the person. The human being has got significantly adapted to this lifestyle free of any physical hardships. Although it is one the major achievements of mankind, it has also turned out to be a muted curse chaining the individuals to a sedentary lifestyle.

The term “Sedentary” is derived from the Latin word ‘Sedere’. The meaning of ‘Sedere’ is ‘to sit’. Thus, sedentary behaviour refers to those behaviours which are related to less energy. This involves long sitting at work, home, organisation, movie halls, car driving, and other leisure time as well (Owen, 2010). The lifestyles which are powered with more of resting, relaxing, leisure time, sitting, sleeping, or simply disconnected with much motion are a sedentary lifestyle.

A sedentary lifestyle is an issue of huge concern nowadays because of its deleterious health implications in developed and developing countries as well. The term sedentary lifestyle can be explained regarding its association with a limited physical activity, long sitting hours in cars, homes, organisations, worksites, schools, and other public places have been restricted in so many ways that help in minimising human movement and muscular activities. People rest more and move less especially the working professionals who mostly spend an entire day sitting at their work places without moving much. A sedentary lifestyle plays a significant role in obesity (Bauman, Miller, 2004). There have been numerous instances wherein the sedentary lifestyle is compared to smoking which passively causes various irreparable damages to the body of an individual.

The increase in the sitting hours is because of the advancement in the technology and new tools that facilitate every required thing for the employees without much of physical activities. This huge shift from a physically oriented life to reduced physical activities have pushed human beings towards high risk of development of a variety of health conditions such as obesity, stress, hypertension, cardiac disorders, body ache due to fewer muscle activities, vitamin deficiencies, cancers have also been seen but a very few. They are associated with unhealthy lifestyles which are preventable through different means through which the physical activities can be increased such as Yoga (Mfrekemfon, et. al., 2015).

Health can be termed as the quality of life that results in diverse factors, different ways, and different behaviour/lifestyles which again can be related to the dimensions of health. In simple words, the behaviour of human beings and the health are inter-related (Achalu, 2008). In the year 1997, World Health Organization (WHO) declared that obesity could be considered as a global disease because it has major adverse health implications. A relationship between Sedentary Lifestyles and health was found early in the 17th century by Bernadino Ramazzini. He was an occupational physician who found that sedentary lifestyles nature as a lesser physical activity has a hugely adverse effect on the human digestive system, cardiac disorders, physical work and the well-being (Owen, 2010). In spite of knowing, all the benefits of various physical activities a lot of adults and even children lead sedentary lifestyles.

It has been evaluated that most of the urban people have sedentary lifestyles which evidently have mandatory adverse health implications (Salvatore, 2005). Moreover, Sedentary Life Style is a kind of lifestyle which a person or group of individuals adopt who are not interested in putting their body at much work or physical activity. An individual who leads a Sedentary Lifestyle may be known as a “Couch Potato.” In the early 70s, the term ‘Couch Potato’ was first introduced by a comic artist Robert Armstrong. He presented a cluster of couch potatoes in one of his series of comics that represented sedentary characters who were shown constantly watching television as a form of meditation ironically. Considering different newspaper publications, magazines, articles and broadcasts, the term “Couch Potato” has become very famous regarding referring to someone who is inactive and sits for a long time (Mfrekemfon, et. al., (2015).

There are various studies which show that sedentary lifestyle affects the heart and also increases the risk of obesity. But leaving those two major ones apart, there are various other sinister side effects of sedentary lifestyle which may become significant concerns with passing the time. Studies have found that the people living sedentary lifestyles lack energy and usually are more prone to feel slight psychological distress and have an irritable mood. It has also been concluded that they are not actively involved in things which age their brain and are at a higher risk of developing dementia. They are also found to be at the higher side of the risk scale when diseases like high blood sugar, cancer and backache are concerned. Considering the lack of physical exercise, the people practising a sedentary lifestyle are usually not adequately fatigued to fall asleep and may find themselves stuck on insomnia. Thus, there are numerous implications which come with the lack of physical activity (Ogden, 2011).

1.2.3          Benefits of yoga in sedentary lifestyle

The preceding section explains the risks which an individual is exposed to while leading a sedentary lifestyle. In spite of the various disadvantages that sedentary lifestyle has, it is the need of the hour to do more of mental work. All the modern day jobs and occupations require a major amount of mental work, and usually, the manual work and physically laborious tasks are assigned to robots or machines supervised by an operator. Thus, the professionals who give priority and primary importance to their jobs, usually do not get sufficient time left at the end of the day to work out or undertake some physical activity. Thus, sedentary life is the truth of today’s times and is inevitable for the humankind to progress in the field of automation and technology thereby making the lives of humans on the planet Earth comfortable. Thus, all the people living a sedentary life are exposed to the various risks which are explained above (Friedman, 2003).

To reduce the effect of these risks, yoga is considered to be a very effective solution. The modern times has been the application of the Vedic science of Yoga for various advances in the field of therapeutics. It has been found by numerous studies that yoga has been helping in the prevention of disease in case of healthy individuals who practice yoga. Moreover, in regard to diseased individuals, the regular practice of yoga has given the patients the hope to reduce the medication as well as helping slow down the progression of disease in the body. Yoga has also been a proven technique for the augmentation of oxidative stress. Further with a suitable combination of stable postures called asanas and breath control called pranayama, yoga has been observed to help in the improvement of glycemic status which dictates the diabetic condition in an individual through neuro-endocrinal mechanism (Singh, 2008; Yadav, Ray, Vempati & Bijlani, 2005)

A self-corrective and a holistic approach to health are offered by the regular practice of yoga. Apart from chronic lower-back pain, yoga has been observed to be effective in various lifestyle related diseases like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), bronchial asthma, essential hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, coronary artery disease, diabetes as well as depression (Tekur, Singphow, Nagendra, & Raghuram, 2008).

1.3        Yoga and working professionals

1.3.1          Importance of Yoga for working professionals

This section seems to address only ‘Stress’ related issues and importance of yoga for that. We need to elaborate more as below :

Sedentary Lifestyle -> Health (physical,Mental) Issues, Interpersonal Issues -> Reduction In productivity & Efficiency -> Organisational Loss -> National loss

Introduction of Yoga -> Improved health -> Increase in productivity & Efficiency -> Organisational gain -> National Gain

Stress and anxiety in the corporate sector have been drastically increasing worldwide. Stress and tension at work in today’s time has become a constitutive phase of everyday life. Further, in the year 1992, it was identified by United Nations that job stress and the pressure was a ‘20th-century epidemic’ which is about to be carried forward in future. On the other hand, The World Health Organization took it to a larger level by calling it a ‘worldwide epidemic’. In the United Stated of America, around one-fourth of the working population is suffering from work-related stress and pressure. However, the results for India are not available. Apparently, there is no question about the occupational stress because it affects a good number of working professionals. The work load further results in the heavy financial losses, human sufferings, physical, and mental illness (Adhikari, 2008).

Moreover, Health and Safety Executive (2004) describes occupational stress as the negative reaction that the working professionals have due to the excessive pressures and the expectations, demands placed on them. Additionally, occupational stress could quite harm the physiological and psychological aspects of a workers’ health. Several studies have shown that the workers who are suffering from excessive pressure and stress could only provide decreased productivity in their work, a higher number of health related problems. These workers are also found with very lower morale and greater interpersonal disputes with officials and seniors (Cranwell & Alyssa, 2005; Health and Safety Executive 2004).

Certain Yoga practices have a potentiality in supporting the lives of working professionals. These practices help in eliminating the work stress, provide relief to the body, and mind either. The yogic practices such as Asanas, Pranayamas, Yoganidra and Omkar and the Gayatri Mantra recitation work as stress relievers. All these must be practised and implemented in workers lives for the functioning of human body and mind in a gradual manner. The practice of Asana and Pranayama has been shown to improve and sustain physical well-being as well as mental effectiveness. For instance, the army personnel believe in practising physical training regularly, but there is a deficiency of synchronisation in breathing and relaxation. In contrast to this, it can be possibly considered that due to this synchronised practice they can create a balance in the psycho-neuro-endocrine network which can further help in enhancing the strength regarding body and mind (Adhikari, 2008). Furthermore, Yoganidra is considered as one of the most benefactor art in means of relaxation. It is further believed that the routine practice of Yoganidra helps in providing rest and comfort by developing the physical and mental control. Yoganidra ultimately initiates by working as a counterfoil towards excess of stress, pressure, and tension. According to Kumar (2004), the positive effect of Yoganidra reduces stress, pressure, and anxiety which are essential in improving the overall well-being of a human body.

According to Marmot (2004) in any organisation, managers can be taught or trained in identifying the pressure and mental stress among their workers which can further be resolved through Yogic practices. The identification of this stress can further initiate in understanding the stress issues faced by the workers which can then be resolved before any more enhancement in the same. This significant trait of Yoga has been found in the report ‘Managing stress’ by Sydney University’s ACIRRT.

Yoga practice has a considerable high positive effect in the accurate management of stress related issues. In the context of today’s time, there is an urgent need in implementing the different types of yoga suitable as a part of regular activity and training among the working professionals in particular (Adhikari, 2008).

1.3.2          Impact of yoga on stress and work performance in working individuals

In the given modern era of competitiveness, stress is a major impediment to the well-being of the employees. Stress can hinder the harmonious equation of life which an individual has balanced and thereby inhibit the health, work performance and personal as well as social relation ties. The working professionals are pitted against various physical and psychological stressors at work as well as out of it which hinders their job performance. These causes of the physical and mental stress emerge from a variety of causes and are demonstrated to hurt the employees eventually affecting the employers and the organisation. These fears can manifest as one of the various musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) which include back pain, eye strain, shoulder or neck tension, carpal tunnel syndrome, or headaches.

Stress induces the feeling of fighting or escaping in an individual.  Low levels of stress make a person feel bored and makes him lethargic. The average or optimal amount of stress in an individual’s life inspires him to perform his best. Over stress in the initial stages affects a human being at a mental level which cannot be made out and prolonged and high amounts of stress cause depression and anxiety among the individuals. The high amount of over stress lead to the nervous breakdown or collapse of an individual who is a highly undesirable effect.  This may cause physical ill effects to the person in the long term. In this competitive era and corporate jobs, stress is inevitable. In fact, there have been studies which state that the stress levels in the workplace have reached alarming levels and stress can be considered as a major issue in the business organisations. Thus, the individual’s appetite for stress must be improved so that he may not be affected by the stress. The stress must be managed so that the implications which arise from stress are negated.

It has been widely accepted that the workforce productivity is considered to the most significant factor contributing to the success of any organisation. This productivity of the employees is as function of various factors. The major factors which influence productivity are the physical and the psychological well-being of an employee.

From the initial descriptions in the preceding sections, it has been seen that the stress is an inevitable negative component in the day to day lives of the individuals working in the modern corporate organisations. Stress has been seen as a major hindrance affecting the physical health, mental health as well as social and personal lives of individuals. This in turn affects their presence at the organisation, their total number of working days as well as their overall efficiency in work. Combating stress is the first step to increasing the work efficiency of the employees.

A simple solution of the same could be the ancient form of exercise called Yoga. Yoga helps in the alleviation of stress and muscular tension as well as other sorts of physical pain. The regular practice of yoga at the workplace could help the employees learn the usage of various relaxation techniques thereby mitigating their or helping them cope with the stress. Thus, the risks of injury or psychological disorders on the job are reduced. The concept of Yoga at the workplace can be seen as a convenient and practical option for the improvement of the work performance of employees by relieving them of their tension and job stress (Hartfiel, et.al, 2012).

The over stress which is considered as a modern menace has found its solution in the ancient science of yoga. Yoga has been found to relax the sympathetic nervous system where in the stress manifests. The specialized hatha-yoga practices which comprise of asanas, pranayamas, kriyas, mudras and bandhas are widely taught physical practices which help combat the menace of stress. These help in developing a particular type of awareness of oneself. These techniques are further expected to bring about a change in the visceral as well as the emotional function of an individual. The hatha yoga also affects the intellectual and the somatic functions which are responsible for altering the stress levels and the stress response. Alleviation of stress and its effects is achieved through yoga, and several studies make a claim of the same (Bhole, n.d.).

1.3.2.1         Impact of yoga on conscientiousness and performance of employees

The virtue of conscientiousness is highly sought after in the current employees. The quality of conscientiousness is the combination of efficiency, order, responsible towards duty, self-disciplined, deliberate, and striving for achievement. Studies undertook show that the quality of conscientiousness is the most significant trait in the performance of an employee and thus the success of an organisation.

The studies undertaken show that practising integral yoga has helped to bring about a change in the personality of employees and has brought about the virtue of conscientiousness in them. Studies suggest that yoga has effects beyond the obvious. It has been found that yoga can broaden the thinking of a narrow-minded person and lift him beyond his false ego to the heights of consciousness and helps him identify with his real ego also called the universe (Janse van Rensburg, 2011).

1.3.3          Impact of yoga on organisational performance

Yoga is also thought of as a technique which can smoothen the roughness or fluctuations in the thoughts thereby imparting clarity to the mind. It is a process full of skill and peace which helps in calming down the mind. A stable mind is the powerhouse of new ideas and innovative thoughts. This is an asset which any organisation would want. Thus, yoga could help better the organisational performance by bringing peace to the perpetually stressed minds of the employees (Madhu, Krishnan, 2005).

As described earlier, Bhagwad Gita states that yoga can be considered as working with the mastery over the resources and the knowledge of the work required to be done. Yoga can be considered to bring about skillfulness in work, as well as the proper organisation in the industry. Thus, yoga can be essentially practised to foster qualities to perfectly fit for various qualities required in the organisational culture (Kumari, Akhilesh, & Nagendra, 2015).

Yoga has been found to orient a person with efforts rather than concern him regarding the outcome. The practice of yoga can be seen to collaborate, workers and managers, calm their turbulent minds and work in a contributing manner which is an important aspect of improving the organisational performance. Yoga is also thought of as a human resource management tool because yoga is a well-formulated approach which when adopted helps bring about a planned change much smoothly which is the essence of human resource management. This can again be seen as a positive step towards bringing about a holistic improvement in the organisational performance. All the organisations require that the employees be in a continuous process of learning. The study is considered to be the basis of learning. There have been numerous studies which show that yoga can improve the academic performance. Hence, the practice of yoga when adopted for the learning process in the organisation could help better learning in the employees and the managers thereby helping in the improvement of organisational performance (Kumari, Akhilesh, & Nagendra, 2015).

Adoption of yoga as a way of life helps in the overall improvement of organisational performance. The practice of integrated yoga help enhances the productivity of the employees. The integrated yoga practice enhances emotional intelligence as well as helps in the reduction of job-related stress or burnout. This further helps augment job satisfaction, affective Organisational Commitment, goal orientation as well as the organisational citizenship behaviour. Thus, helps in building an organisational climate which is much more inclusive as well as better for working thereby bringing about organisational success (Hasmukh Adhia, 2009).

1.4        Triguna personality inventory (TPI)

Current questionnaire does not seem to be addressing this properly ..need to take care of that..

The word personality fundamentally refers to the trait concept or the characteristic of a person which does not change with time and is practically resilient.  These personality traits are studied and researched to uniquely identify or predict the behaviour of an individual in a variety of situations. The field of personality research is actively taken upon by the psychologists all over the world. Personality can be considered as an important domain of psychology. However, the theories of personality are not easy to develop. There have been various theories of personality research; amongst all of the researchers the psychologists from the west have come off with theories which are vague and do not have proper logical basis as explained by the mainstream psychology. There are few models of personality research even rooted in the ancient Indian scriptures. However, these haven’t been accepted in the west or severe efforts to understand them haven’t been made by the Western psychologists.

Triguna is one of such models of personality which is valued as an essential personality aspect in the eastern philosophy (Yadav, 2016). The personality theory is essentially a set of assumption about the human behaviour along with experimentally derived definitions. The personality theory must be relatively comprehensive, and thus, it should be able to predict the behaviour of an individual in a broad spectrum of events. The most desirable criteria for the success of any personality theory is its ability to predict the behaviour in various temporal and trans-situational consistencies, and a lot of western world theories prove inadequate in these.

The philosophy of yoga formulates that the human body is an outstanding mixture of the three Gunas or qualities. These qualities are Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas which are explained as follows (Srivastava, 2012):

  1. Sattvic guna: This guna can be related to the spiritual qualities and is funadamentally associated with someone who has an inherent desire to be caring and good. The person having dominant sattvic guna has an absolute peace in his senses and clarity in his mind and is free from confusions or doubts. The individual under the effect of the sattvic guna behaves in a wise and intellectual manner. The individual has clarity of thought and can easily distinguish between good and bad, duty and undutiful deeds. The satvic person has a strong sense of respect for Gurus, meditation, nonviolence, kindliness, self-control, silence as well as purity of character and these act as motivating forces of sattvic action. The only limitation of sattvic guna is that it brings the sense of goodness in a person and a person perceives kindness and happiness to be the same thing.
  2. Rajasic guna: This guna is considered as the active quality in an individual. The dominance of this guna results in the rise of passion and desire. They further manifest as greed, active undertaking of works, restlessness and similar other active resultants. The rajasic person has a complete expectation of fruits of his hard-work.  Rajasic guna helps the quality of self-interest dominate following which the rajasic person has a distorted image and limited clarity of mind and cannot differentiate between right and wrong. The rajasic person shows the qualities of enthusiasm, interest, activeness as well as does not foster the qualities like detachment and renunciation.
  3. Tamasic Guna: Tamasic Guna fundamentally refers to the material quality of life and the person who has a dominant tamasic guna is highly inclined to material happiness. This guna finds its basis in hopes and illusions. This guna is associated with uncertainty, redundancy, persistence as well as fantasy. The people with tamasic guna usually foster apprehensions, revengefulness and are overly cautious. The guna of tamas is suggestive of disillusionment and cynicism. In the dominance of the tamasic guna, a person is only happy when the happiness is derived from self- delusion and miscomprehension and also ends in the same. The positive effect of this guna is that the person under the influence of this guna work really very hard and always shows a will to work harder. The tamsaic person is limited by their tendencies which are highly self-centered as well as their attachment to their possessions.

In the traditional personality research methods, personality is considered to have durable characteristics and the option of dynamic structure of personality is not considered on a wholesome level and mostly it is found to be neglected. It has always been assumed that the characteristics of a person are same and remain same when considering a short period of time. Thereby, the possibility of drastic transformations due to a variety of factors is neglected. This is not the case with the Triguna Personality research method. Here, the free will is considered as a determinant in the exploration carried out to find the gunas which may give a better insight in the personality research. The personality of a person formed of the three gunas is considered durable as explained above. But, yoga has the potential to alter it, thereby altering the combination of gunas.

The overpowering of one of the particular guna highlights the individual’s personality characteristics. Therefore, it is believed that a human personality is classified as the gunas; sattvic, rajasic and tamasic. It is considered that when the sattva guna is predominant an individual works constantly. Additionally, the Bhagavat Gita provides the descriptive explanation of sattvic individual. It involves the traits for instance; courage, a purified soul and heart, honesty, peace, an effective control over one’s body with a compassion towards the other beings and absence of confusion (Gopal, n.d).

2         Aim and Objectives:

2.1        Aim

The current research is undertaken with an aim to study the efficiency improvement through yogic practices for working professionals with sedentary lifestyle.

2.2        Research Objectives:

  1. To evaluate the effect of certain yogic practices on efficiency of working professionals with sedentary lifestyle through the assessment of General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)
  2. To evaluate the effect of certain yogic practices on efficiency of working professionals with sedentary lifestyle by assessing the improvements made in their physical health
  3. To evaluate the effect of certain yogic practices on efficiency of working professionals with sedentary lifestyle by assessing their personality improvement through Triguna personality inventory (TPI)

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