Bending Backward

Tips for bringing yoga to the corporate world

Looking for ways to boost attendees’ energy, release their tension and keep them centered on events? Follow the lead of firms like Google, Viacom and Bear Stearns and add a yoga session to the agenda. Worried that the practice is a little too touchy-feely or spiritual for your organization’s culture? Tevis Gale, founder of Balance Yoga (, a New York City-based firm that conducts yoga programs specifically for corporate groups, offers the following tips:

* When looking for a teacher, make sure to interview candidates to assess whether they can bring modernity and everyday relevance to the class. Participants can be alienated by a teacher who is too esoteric or uses traditional Sanskrit terms to describe the positions.

* Be sure the instructor understands the mind-set of your population. He or she should be ready to inspire and energize the class without relying on quotes from swamis or religious texts.

* Check with the meeting facility/property to confirm what documentation is required for a yoga session to be held on site. The instructor should be prepared to provide a certificate of insurance, as well as a standard liability waiver for participants to sign before taking the class.

* Work with the host facility to find an appropriate space to hold the class. Clean floors, either wood or carpeted, are best. A room with ample natural light and a comfortable temperature of around 74 F is ideal.

* If a venue does not have an appropriate space, consider taking a stretch-and-breathe moment during coffee breaks.