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Dr HR Nagendra

Ayush ministry to see how Yoga helps productivity

India's Ministry of Ayush has set up a panel of experts which will explore the potential of Yoga as a productivity enhancing tool for the population.

The committee is chaired by Dr. HR Nagendra, Chancellor, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA). Its members include representatives from Delhi-AIIMS, IIM-Bangalore, IIT-Bombay, various leading Yoga institutions, the corporate sector and the Ayush Ministry.

In a meeting held recently, the committee members recognized that there has been an unprecedented surge in the popularity of Yoga in the past five years, globally.

The spiritual connect 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.

“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,” said the ministry in a press release on March 25, 2021.  

The committee members have pointed out that Yoga for productivity is a critically important aspect in the present context when India’s growth aspirations are at perhaps its highest.

One of the primary tasks of the committee is to review evidence that links Yoga to productivity and analyse the same. 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.

According to the ministry, 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.

Various organizations, industries and corporate houses have hired Yoga instructors to impart workplace yoga for their staff. These institutions believe that Yoga would help reduce workplace stress, improve interpersonal relationships, reduce conflicts, reduce sickness, absenteeism and thereby improve productivity.

The ministry has said that increasing productivity may mean different things in different contexts, such as increasing profitability, lowering operational costs, optimising resources, seizing opportunities for growth, increasing competitiveness, reducing burnout and increasing employee wellbeing. Hence, the work of the committee would involve multiple variables and consequent complexities.

The committee will submit its preliminary recommendations by May 2021.

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