By Arianne McManus
Josh Schuster is sitting cross-legged on a yoga mat with his eyes closed and his hands placed gently on his knees. Ever so slowly, the 30-year-old Greenwich Village resident takes a deep breath, rises and contorts himself into a downward dog position.
But where Josh is isn’t at a yoga studio, he’s in the Chelsea office of his real estate company, DHA Capital, where he is the president. And he’s with three of his employees.
Josh is actually taking a yoga class at his office through Work From Om, a New York City-based corporate mindfulness business that launched in February.
Work From Om offers individual and group yoga sessions to employees at their location of choice, which is usually their offices.
Although the cost of each session varies, an average group session will set you back $195, while smaller classes cost $95 to $160. Work From Om’s two co-founders, Sarah Vaynerman, 29, and Ashley Mancuso, 25, are both certified yoga instructors.
Working as yoga instructors isn’t their only job — Vaynerman is a digital marketing consultant, Mancuso a corporate financial analyst — though they’re transitioning toward making Work From Om a full-time gig.
They both first met in October 2013 during a yoga teacher training program and quickly bonded over the realization that the practice helped them improve their work-life balances and find their professional centers.
But how does getting your zen on help you thrive at work?
“We firmly believe all of the philosophical lessons you learn in yoga — like mindfulness, focus and balance — are applicable in the workplace, too,” explains Vaynerman.
In other words, if you’re working on a half-moon pose and having a hard time, that struggle can help you at work later on.
Work From Om is far from the only business capitalizing on the mindfulness metaphor.
Lots of big-brand companies nationwide are hopping on the so-called “emotional fitness” train, too. Google, for instance, offer a free mindfulness program, and Twitter offers free yoga and Pilates classes.
There’s evidence that practicing yoga on the job helps you relax at the office. A 2012 study from the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that employees who participated in both yoga and mindfulness programs at work reported feeling less stressed during their work hours by the study’s end than those who didn’t participate in the programs.
But practicing physical yoga doesn’t make you feel calmer right away — it helps you shift your way of thinking over time.
Practicing yoga and meditation helps you realize you have control over the stressors in your environment — you can ask yourself how you want to relate to the aggravations that pop up. And that sense of control helps you reduce your stress.
This article originally appeared at the New York Post.