Fitness Friday: What is Corporate Yoga?

What is “Corporate Yoga”? Have you heard about it? I am so thrilled to feature an interview with my friend, Jennifer Berman, Owner of Jennifer Berman Yoga. She is doing what she loves teaching yoga classes in major corporations. I find this trend and her entrepreneurial spirit so interesting, unique and inspiring. I couldn’t wait to share this story on my “Fitness Friday”.

 Why is Corporate Yoga So Important and beneficial?

Corporate Yoga brings not only a yoga class to the workplace, but also brings a healthy mindset and lifestyle. Yoga cultivates mindfulness, and when we are in a state of mindfulness, we become in tune with our bodies and our health. We also start to make healthier choices. Companies benefit when it’s not just an exercise class a few times a week, but when there is a shift in the corporate culture toward a healthier lifestyle. I strive to keep my classes engaging, challenging, and fun so the participants never know what to expect. I don’t think I’ve ever taught a class that is the same. This helps Corporate Yoga classes stay packed, and it keeps their employees coming back for more!

Why are more companies going this route?

Companies are beginning to see the benefits of providing Corporate Yoga. There are many benefits for both the employer and employees. From the employer standpoint, this could mean lower insurance premiums, less sick days, increased productivity, reduced staff turnover, more attractive to potential employees, increased job satisfaction and positive thinking. From the employee standpoint, the benefits are improved health and wellness, less stress, anxiety, and depression; improved memory, focus, weight loss, and increased mental alertness. Also, it’s a great way for employees to get to know each other and promote team building. The benefits just go on and on!

How did you get into the entrepreneurial business side of yoga?

About 4 years ago, I donated a few private yoga sessions for a school fundraiser. The person who bought the sessions referred a friend to me. The friend contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in coming to her office to teach a class. A few weeks later I was leading a packed class at her office in an empty board room. Soon after, one of the women in this class referred me to her friend at a law firm downtown.  Before I knew it,  I was traveling to the law firm and teaching a full class in an empty office. At this point, teaching yoga was my hobby and passion, not a career.  I was still working in sales  full-time but teaching a few corporate yoga classes on the side. A horrible work experience left me without a job unexpectedly.  I was forced to figure out something fast. During this very difficult time, a student referred me to her company to teach a yoga class.  Before I knew it, I was teaching all over town doing what I loved and what I am most passionate about. Sometimes it takes those really difficult situations to push us and motivate us in the path we were meant to follow. I feel so blessed to be in a career doing what I love, inspiring and helping others toward a healthier life!

How many corporate classes are you teaching on a weekly basis?

I travel all over Birmingham bringing yoga to large utility companies, financial companies, law firms, doctor offices, and dentist offices. All of the Corporate Yoga classes are paid for by the companies as a wellness benefit for their employees.  All you need to get started is a board room, empty office, or lobby. I offer morning, lunch-time, or afternoon Corporate Yoga classes, conference break yoga sessions, yoga parties, and private yoga.

April 2011

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