Before I became a vegan coach and educator, I was teaching yoga in the workplace. I would go into local businesses and teach the employees yoga or yoga @your desk workshops during their lunch break or after work. Classes would be held in a conference room or at a rented location near the office at companies like IBM, Department of Health, Credit Unions and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.
Countless studies substantiate the benefits of yoga in the workplace, and forward-thinking companies and their employees take advantage of this benefit.
My personal yoga practice and all my years of teaching have enabled me to align my values of compassion and mercy with the conduct of my everyday life. It has taught me not to be oblivious to the suffering of others. That is the kind of alignment yoga is intended to teach. Once opened up to the deeper teachings of yoga, it was an easy decision to begin living life without harming others — and in the process, I became healthier and happier myself.
Seekers, like myself, choose yoga as an avenue to find calm and clarity amid the chaos. We learn that yoga is not a workout — it is a work-in. And one of the most important tenets of yoga is Ahimsa, which means “not harming any living being.” If we truly practice yoga in the tradition it was intended, we find that eating and using animals goes against all of the principles followed in order to live a fulfilling and enlightened life.
“Through the practice of yoga and veganism, we can realize that we were meant to live in harmony with all the other animals and all of life. We come to know that our physical bodies function better without having to instill fear into others and to kill them, and that there is no nutrient that we need that we can’t get directly from plant sources or from sunlight. We come to recognize that our old bodies can be transformed and become light and whole — holy bodies, used as vehicles to bring peace.”
— Sharon Gannon, co-founder of Jivamukti Yoga Method
Perhaps it was just a matter of time before studies would substantiate the benefits for employees who followed a vegan diet, too. In the Washington Business Journal, the headline reads: “Going vegan could improve mood, productivity of workers at your company, study shows.” Yes, a four-month study was published in the American Journal of Health Promotion and found that employees were transformed physically and mentally after participating in the study promoting a vegan diet.
Weight loss, better mood
Over 100 employees of Geico, at five of its locations, participated to study the impact a vegan diet would have on health, mood and productivity. The results were substantial. “Participants dropped an average of 10 pounds and lowered their cholesterol by 13 points. They also reported increases in overall productivity and saw improvements in anxiety, depression, fatigue and general health compared with workers at five other Geico locations in the study.” The study was accompanied by some staggering statistics, which include the fact that “Obesity affects 35 percent of U.S. adults, resulting in annual health care costs that are $1,429 higher per person. Lowered productivity costs for complications from obesity are $73 billion each year. Depression also has a major impact, affecting 9.5 percent of the adult population, accounting for $83 billion in lost productivity each year.” To read more about the study, visit: https://www.pcrm.org/good-nutrition/plant-based-diets/ffl/employee-wellness
This made me think. If I could bring yoga into the workplace effectively, why not bring information about veganism into the workplace as well, demonstrating how a transition to a whole food, plant-based diet could improve employee health, wellness and productivity. So I created a presentation called, “How Veganism Heals.”
It shows how a plant-based diet can change the trajectory of an entire life — in the workplace and in our personal lives as well. And how it can also improve a business’s “bottom line.”
We spend an enormous amount of our time in the workplace. Why not make it count in ways that benefit ourselves, the companies we work for, our communities and our planet. To peace and productivity. Namaste.
Sande Nosonowitz is a Certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator as well as a Certified Yoga and Meditation Instructor. She is co-producing the upcoming Hudson Valley Vegfest in September (www.hvvegfest.org) Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org; visit her website at www.sundarajewel.com