Yoga reduces job burnout and stress

Updated: Oct 25, 2010, 14:27 PM IST

Ahmedabad: A study published in the quarterly magazine of Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A), `Vikalpa`, says that adoption of yoga way of life significantly reduces job burnout and stress.

The study was conducted on 84 executives of Grasim Industries Ltd, a flagship company of Aditya Birla Group, based in Bharuch, by IAS officer and Principal Secretary, Education, Government of Gujarat, Hasmukh Adhia and two other researchers--H R Nagendra and B Mahadevan.

The group of 84 executives was divided into two groups of 42 each. The yoga group was given 30 hours of yoga practice (75 mins every day) and 25 hours of theory lectures in the philosophy of yoga.

While the second group formed physical exercise group, which was given training of equal number of hours of physical workout and lectures on success factors in life based on modern theory and not yoga.

Stress was measured using a standard self-reported questionnaire on experience of both pre and post the experiment for a month on both the groups.

Measurement of certain parameters such as blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), blood sugar and weight was also taken both pre and post experiment.

"Stress, when measured, showed statistically significant drop for managers in the yoga group, while ironically in the physical exercise group, stress increased as their working schedule became more hectic due to additional exercise," Adhia said.

The study said burnout is prolonged response to chronic and interpersonal stress on the job and is defined by the three dimensions of exhaustion, cynicism and inefficiency.

Job burnout is debilitating psychological condition which has serious repercussion on individual health as also on the organisational effectiveness, it added.

The study said that according to a estimate stress costs American industries more that USD 300 billion annually, stemming from reduced productivity, compensation claims and increased absenteeism.

The corporate scene in India is not different with stress and burnout at workplace causing a number of victims to seek professional therapy, it said.

Several studies in the past have established that yoga addresses the issue of stress, but no empirical data co-relating the yoga way of living specifically reducing stress at workplace, has been done till now, Adhia said.

The yogic lifestyle comprises meditation, breathing techniques, correct postures, low-fat non-spicy diet and behavioural modification.

The study espouses that practising the yogic lifestyle can bring about a complete transformation in one`s personality on physical, mental and spiritual levels which strengthens one`s stress coping skills.

PTI