It’s official: yoga has reached the tipping point. Long viewed as a light form of exercise for new age hippies, the mainstream has come to embrace the teachings of the 5,000 year-old practice as a powerful tool for self-improvement, overall health and general well-being. Unlike many health and fitness fads that have come and gone over the years, however, it’s not just fitness enthusiasts, celebrities and media personalities that are getting on board the zen train. The corporate world has taken notice of the positive effects that yoga, meditation and a mindful approach to business have proven to have on employees and, in turn, the bottom line.
Study after study has found that these practices reduce stress, improve focus, build camaraderie and contribute to a higher functioning workplace, and our New York City startup is aiming to lead the revolution. Allow us to introduce ourselves: we go by Work From Om, but our goals and intentions are set by myself, Ashley Mancuso, and co-founder Sarah Vaynerman. We’re two certified and passionate yoga teachers here to serve the souls of professionals working in one of America’s most stressed-out cities by providing yoga, meditation and mindfulness training for the workplace.
After meeting in our yoga teacher training program, we found even more in common in the way that yoga had tremendously improved our professional lives. Together we began to explore a wealth of literature and research that told similar stories - only the subjects were the likes of a hedge-fund manager who credits meditation for his disciplined investment practices and a healthcare CEO who recovered from a near-death ski accident using yoga rather than pharmaceuticals.
But how, exactly, do yoga and meditation make someone a more disciplined investor or more capable of healing? It’s nothing revolutionary, actually, because we’re all born with the capacity for these miraculous healing stories and intellectual achievements. The problem is that most of us have no idea what our full potential looks like. Yoga and meditation are methods for sharpening and discovering the tools that we’re each born with - tools for coping, tools for learning, tools for responding to stress and challenges - so that we can approach each situation with calmness and clarity, in order to realize our fullest potential.
The philosophy that motivates us is simple: at the end of the day, every activity that we engage in is colored by the attitude and the energy with which we approach it. If we feel stressed out, then our work, home and other environments will be stressful. If we can learn to cultivate an inner sense of calm, our environments will feel calm and peaceful. In yoga, we put controlled amounts of stress on the body to train the mind to react with that inner calm. With practice, we can realize the goal of taking that calm off the mat and into the world.
Meditation plays a big role in this process of cultivating inner calm too by training the mind and subsequently improving emotional stability and responses to stress. With Work From Om, we practice and teach a variety of meditation techniques from mindfulness meditations to compassion and gratitude-oriented meditations to target different emotional processes. While these different types of meditation may affect slightly different aspects of brain function, meditation in any form can result in enduring, positive alterations to brain function and emotional processing.
That’s our goal with Work From Om: enduring, positive changes that start at the individual employee level but affect the organization at large. Work From Om is more than a quick workplace yoga class or a feel-good meditation session to counteract stress before returning to a frantic work environment. Our mission is to fuel positive transformation at the organization level so that all individuals can realize their full potential and offer it to a sustainable, purpose-driven work environment that encourages the success of both the company and the individual.
Now that you know a little more about us, please tell us more about you! Feel free to leave a comment below or drop us a line to connect. Your stories of transformation and triumph through yoga - both personally and professionally - inspire us. Stay tuned here for more upcoming content in the weeks and months to come which we hope will motivate you to spend some time practicing yoga and meditation both on and off the mat.
Ashley and Sarah