Government is exploring Yoga as a productivity boosting tool at workplaces. Ministry of AYUSH has constituted a high-level interdisciplinary committee having members from All India Institute of Delhi (AIIMS) New Delhi, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, corporate sector and various leading Yoga institutions to review evidence that links Yoga to productivity.

The committee that is expected to submit its preliminary recommendations by May 2021, is also being supported by National Productivity Council, New Delhi. “The spiritual connectedness and health benefits of Yoga have been widely embraced by its practitioners. But the productivity dimension of Yoga, its role at the workplace in offering benefits to employees to perform better remains unexplored to a large extent,” said P N Ranjit Kumar, joint secretary and spokesperson, Ministry of AYUSH.

“Various organizations, industries and corporate houses are already hiring yoga instructors to impart workplace yoga for their staff. They believe Yoga would help reduce workplace stress, improve interpersonal relationships, reduce conflicts, reduce sickness absenteeism and thereby improve productivity,” said Kumar.

The government said that increasing productivity may mean different things in different contexts, such as increasing profitability, lowering operational costs, optimising resources, seizing opportunity for growth, increasing competitiveness, reducing burnout and increasing employee wellbeing.

“This dimension becomes especially important given the increasing physical and mental pressures faced by employees, exacerbated by the current pandemic, even as employers grapple with the situation and try to improve workplace wellness,” he said.

The committee chaired by Dr H. R Nagendra, Chancellor Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA) had its first meeting through video-conferencing on Wednesday. The various possible directions of the productivity dimension could then be identified systematically, and along these directions, protocols could be developed. The committee resolved that it would adopt an approach based on science and evidence in finalising its recommendations.

“Existing evidence bases, including data collected on the impact of Yoga as a wellness intervention, and the subsequent impact at workplace given that the way forward for determining the effectiveness and universalisation of any intervention is through scientific evidence, would be collated,” said Kumar.

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