5/30/02 - Yoga Breaks Instead of Lunch Breaks

Sometimes there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done, especially a workout. But what if you could squeeze in some exercise while you're on the job? Some people are turning their lunch breaks into yoga breaks. Instead of running out for fast food they stay in the office for exercise.

For thirty minutes everyday, the conference room at Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Cape turns into a yoga room. Burgers and fries replaced with breathing and stretching techniques designed to relax their muscles and ease their minds. Yoga instructor Kate Nassif says, "It releases tension and teaches you how to breath with your whole body. A lot of women breathe with their chest and their shoulders which increases stress because you're hunching your shoulders."

Yoga participant Chlorinda James says,"You need to be as relaxed as possible to do this job, and this helps." James had a baby six months ago, so she doesn't have a lot of time to spare at home. "I find time to do it at work because they're already doing it so I take advantage of it," James says.

JoAnn Cockrell has been taking advantage of the class since it started. "Work is a stressful place," Cockrell says. "The yoga class is very relaxing, and you feel wonderful when you're through. It's easier to go to because you don't have to leave work. If you get in your car, you go home." The class only lasts thirty minutes, but that's all it takes to make them feel a little better. "They focus on themselves and connecting mind and body and breathing," Nassif says.

If employees don't get a chance to go to the lunch class, there's another toning and yoga class right after they get off work. Of course, the company benefits too. Study after study shows healthier workers are better workers.