ThesisPDF Available

How Corporate Yoga Promotes Holistically Healthy Employees

Authors:

Abstract

The health and wellbeing of employees will continue to be an important issue in the future as the corporate world will continue to strive for innovation and change. This research explores through the use of semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis how yoga as a tool, helps people cope with stress and increase wellbeing in their work and everyday life. 13 participants were interviewed about their experience of yoga, and how it affects their life. The participants reported yoga to be a useful tool for stress reduction, physical activity, illness recovery, increased energy, gratitude and work performance. The data material was thematically analysed, and themes such as; Calm and Balanced, Organizational Benefits, and Physical Benefits emerged. All these three themes reflect positive emotions, and affect one another, causing what seems to be a positive upward spiral affecting their life holistically; individually and in their workplace. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions is used to illustrate how the principles of positive emotion can be translated and applied through the use of corporate yoga. The positive emotions build on to each theme and can be seen as personal resources the individual broadens and builds on to. These resources can be “pulled out” and be used in subsequent settings and during different emotional states.
Running head: HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE
How Corporate Yoga Promotes a Holistically Healthy Employee
Kandidatnr: 10040
Fagkode: PSY2901 – Bacheloroppgave i psykologi: Yoga for ansatte
NTNU: Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet
Psykologisk Institutt, Dragvoll – SVT.
Vår 2017
Prosjektleder: Ingunn Hagen
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE
Forord
Denne bacheloroppgaven er skrevet i forbindelse med min avsluttende utdanning for Bachelor
i Psykologi ved NTNU, 2014-2017.
Professor Ingunn Hagen, ved psykologisk institutt står for utforming av prosjektet, samt
rekruttering av bachelor-kandidater.
I dette prosjektet ble intervjuskjema utviklet og sendt inn til godkjenning av NSD av
mastergrad-kandidat Kristine A. Olsen. Alle bachelor-kandidatene rekrutterte egne
informanter. Siden jeg hadde vansker med rekruttering av egne informanter, var jeg nødt til å
være fleksibel med tid og sted for møte med informanter. Dette gjorde det vanskelig å
planlegge intervju med de andre bachelor-kandidatene, og endte derfor opp med å gjøre
intervjuene på egenhånd. Dette til tross for retningslinjene på intervjuskjema og informert
samtykke.
Haakon Thorbergsen Haakstad veiledet meg ved én anledning under perioden, hvor han ga
meg gode retningslinjer angående analysen min, samt henvisning til videre litteratur som
kunne støtte opp funnene mine. Han har også stått tilgjengelig for besvarelse av mindre
spørsmål, som blant annet retningslinjer og utforming av bachelor.
Det har vært en spennende og lærerik periode, og håper den blir like lærerik for den som leser.
Takk!
_______________
Sted og dato
______________________ ______________________
Student Veileder
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE
Abstract
The health and wellbeing of employees will continue to be an important issue in the future as
the corporate world will continue to strive for innovation and change. This research explores
through the use of semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis how yoga as a tool, helps
people cope with stress and increase wellbeing in their work and everyday life. 13 participants
were interviewed about their experience of yoga, and how it affects their life. The participants
reported yoga to be a useful tool for stress reduction, physical activity, illness recovery,
increased energy, gratitude and work performance. The data material was thematically
analysed, and themes such as; Calm and Balanced, Organizational Benefits, and Physical
Benefits emerged. All these three themes reflect positive emotions, and affect one another,
causing what seems to be a positive upward spiral affecting their life holistically; individually
and in their workplace. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions, is used to
illustrate how the principles of positive emotion can be translated and applied through the use
of corporate yoga. The positive emotions builds on to each theme, and can be seen as personal
resources the individual broadens and builds on to. These resources can be “pulled out” and
be used in subsequent settings and during different emotional states.
Keywords: corporate yoga, holistic wellbeing, positive emotion, broaden-and-build
theory, work performance
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 1
How Yoga Promotes a Holistically Healthy Employee
The health and wellbeing among the employees of an organization has emerged as a
major issue in the corporate world, due to work demands and pressure causing stress in the
workplace. According to estimates from the Institute of Public Health in Norway, mental
disorders cost society between NOK 60 and 70 billion a year, and these numbers are in
Norway alone. Simultaneously, there is a growing trend towards long term absence (“Svak
oppgang i sykefraværet,” n.d.), with psychosocial factors such as anxiety, stress and
depression as cause (Lunde, 2007).
Various other factors such as long hours using the computer, irregular eating habits,
odd working hours, and poor psychosocial environment cause health issues for employees (R.
Bhandari, Acharya, & Katiyar, 2010). Not only might this lead to adverse mental health
outcomes, and impaired psychological well-being within the individual, but as a result it may
reduce productivity and efficiency, causing financial hazards for the organization. Luckily, a
rising number of organizations have addressed the problems and initiated interventions to
prevent and improve corporate health related issues, but they lack a holistic approach.
To solve this, yoga might be one alternative as it integrates concerns to body, mind and
spirit, successfully improving mental and physical health, and cultivates good habits among
members of the organization. Yoga has been practiced as a complete means of total health and
human excellence for centuries by Buddhists, and involves physical activity, breathing
exercises, relaxation techniques and meditation practices to enhance mindfulness and mind-
body awareness (Mohan, 2006). Practicing yoga regularly as a part of corporate culture
improves somatic, psychic, social and spiritual health and intelligence both within the
individual and on an organizational level (R. B. Bhandari et al., 2012).
In addition to yoga, the broaden-and-build theory (Fredrickson, 2004) and its
implication, can be used as a powerful mechanism for optimizing health and well-being
holistically. Positive emotion produce optimal functioning, not just in the present moment, but
also over the long-term. By cultivation positive emotion through yoga, individuals are able to
achieve psychological growth and improved physical and psychological well-being.
Eventually resulting in organizational development.
Aim
The aim of this thesis is to explore, through the use of semi-structured interview and
thematic analysis, how yoga as a tool helps people cope with stress and increase wellbeing in
their work and everyday life.
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 2
Theory
In this chapter the basics of emotions are covered as it is fundamental to the broaden-
and-build theory. Further on, the effects of positive emotions and how it affects the employees
of an organization will be highlighted. Lastly, this chapter explains how yoga promotes
holistic wellness, and how this influences the workplace.
Emotions
In terms of emotion in psychology, we often associate emotion with negative
emotions, as the field traditionally focuses on psychological problems. Negative emotions
may become hazardous for individuals and society when the state is prolonged, extreme or
contextually inappropriate, such as anxiety, aggression, depression, eating disorders as well as
a host for other stress-related distress (Fredrickson, 2004). By definition, emotions are internal
signals associated with specific actions tendencies (Lazarus, 1991; Jenkins & Oatley, 1996).
Over a short time interval, negative emotions can be a motivator for our actions and a
precursor to reactions. For example, fear help us prepare for danger by escaping which
ultimately brings us closer to safety. Anger is linked with the drive/impulse to attack, and
disgust is related to expel.
By having a specific action tendency come to mind in threatening situation is what
made emotion evolutionarily adaptive and was one of the traits that helped our ancestors to
get out of life-or-death situations. In life-threatening situations, specific action tendencies
becomes highly relevant for survival as it promotes quick and decisive action that executes
immediate benefit for the individual (Cannon, 1932). Action tendencies can also be described
by biological changes in the body. When approached with a fearful situation, the body reacts
by going into fight-or-flight mode, which mobilizes appropriate autonomic support for the
opportunity of fleeting by redirecting blood flow to large muscle groups (Jansen, Nguyen,
Karpitskiy, Mettenleiter, & Loewy, 1995).
Many theorists pay little to no attention to positive emotions because fitting positive
emotion into emotional-general models posed problems (Lazarus 1991; Ekman 1992), thus
resulting no new or revised models to accommodate positive emotions.
The function of positive emotions can be described as an aid to promote approach
behaviors (Davidson 1992; Frijda & Mesquita 1994; Cacioppo, Gardner, & Berntson, 1999)
and continued action (Carver & Scheier 1990; Clore 1994). Experiencing positive emotions
mobilizes individuals to engage and participate in activities, which were evolutionarily
adaptive for the species. The association between positive emotions and approach behaviour
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 3
gives an explanation for positivity offset, which is the tendency to experience positive affect
frequently, even in neutral settings (Diener & Diener 1996; Cacioppo et al. 1999). With this
offset, individuals are motivated to approach and engage with their surroundings to explore
novel situations, people or objects.
Broaden-and-Build Theory
As described earlier, specific action tendencies is activated by negative emotions, and
is crucial for life-threatening situations. Positive emotions, on the other hand, does rarely
occur in similar situations. Instead, positive emotions have an opposite effect; it broadens
individual's momentary thought-action repertoire, by expanding the possibilities of thoughts
and actions that come to mind (Fredrickson, 1998).
The broaden-and-build theory take an exciting turn in the discussion of human welfare
and well-being. Rather than focusing on the marks and signals of health and well-being, this
theory focuses on how we can produce health and well-being (Fredrickson, 2001).
Broaden-and-build theory describes how positive emotions expands, and broadens an
individual's thought-action repertoires, and how it affects function in terms of building
personal resources (Fredrickson 1998, 2001). Different positive emotions urge different
actions and behaviours; Love, in the context of close, safe relationships, urges to play with,
explore and to appreciate and integrate our loved ones. Joy, urges us to play, push limits and
be creative (not only social and physical behaviour, but also intellectual and artistic
behaviour). Interest, creates the urge to explore, absorb new information and experiences, as
well as expanding oneself in the process. Contentment, creates the urge to sit back, and
appreciate current life circumstances into new views. While gratitude might foster
development of social ties and coping resources. The adaptive benefits of a broadened
mindset are long-term and indirect, through building enduring personal resources, ranging
from physical and social resources, to intellectual and psychological resources (Fredrickson
1998, 2001; Fredrickson & Branigan, 2005). Hence, experiencing positive emotions increases
the individual’s personal resources by becoming more resilient and socially integrated, as well
as increasing creativity and knowledge. Looking at it from an evolutionary perspective; the
capacity to experience positive emotions is adapted, through natural selection, and as a result
has become a part of our human nature (Fredrickson, 2004).
All in all; positive emotions fuel human flourishing. By harvesting positive emotions
in our own lives and in the lives of others, it will transform individuals for the better and put
them on a path of growth and healthy longevity.
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 4
Empirical support. Multiple disciplines within psychology has found empirical
support for the broaden-and-build theory. A broadened mind creates behavioral flexibility that
enhances and builds personal resources, such as mindfulness, resilience, social relationships
and physical health (Cohn, Fredrickson, Brown, Mikels, & Conway, 2009; Fredrickson, Cohn,
Coffey, Pek, & Finkel, 2008; Waugh & Fredrickson, 2006).
Negative emotions like depression, anxiety and failure was found consistent with
narrowed attention, while positive emotions show opposite effects; as subjective well-being,
optimism and success, which is consistent with a broadened mindset (Derryberry & Tucker
1994)
Positive emotion is found to act as an efficient counteract (the undo hypothesis) for the
lingering effects of negative emotion (Fredrickson & Levenson, 1998; Fredrickson, Mancuso,
Branigan, & Tugade, 2000). Even though the precise mechanism responsible for this effect
has not been adequately identified, the effects of positive emotions on negative emotions have
been demonstrated in previous research on anxiety disorders (Wolpe, 1968), motivation
(Solomon & Corbit, 1974) and aggression (Baron & Bell, 1976).
Negative emotion is associated with increased cardiovascular activity, which causes
the blood to flow to big muscle groups. In the light of the undo hypothesis, positive emotion
should “undo” this cardiovascular reactivity, and return the body back to normal levels of
activation. Fredrickson and Levenson (1998) tested this hypothesis and found that two distinct
types of positive emotions, mild joy and contentment, have the ability to decrease the effects
of cardiovascular activation caused by negative emotion (Fredrickson & Levenson 1998;
Fredrickson et al. 2000). On the note of this, Fredrickson, suggests that positive emotions
helps individuals place the circumstances in their lives in a broader context, hence lessening
the resonance of that particular negative event.
The broaden-and-build theory also provide evidence supporting the hypothesis that
individuals experiencing positive emotions over time might develop psychological resilience
(Fredrickson, 2004). By enabling flexible and creative thinking it amplifies individuals’
enduring coping resources (Isen & Stein, 1990; Fredrickson & Joiner, 2002). Garland and
Howard (2009) found that positive emotions might trigger permanent, and durable changes in
both the structure and the function of the brain, hence creates a buffer against the negative
effects of stressful adaptational encounters and decrease the impact of distress in the future.
Fredrickson and Joiner (2002) found evidence for positive emotions and a broadened
mindset mutually build and enhance each other. This has also a long term effect where
positive emotions increase the probability for individuals to feel good in the future. The
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 5
empirical support is mounting on the facts that positive emotions broadens individual’s
attention and thinking, not just personal but interpersonal as well.
Positive Emotions as a Function in the Organization
Organizations emphasizes the need for knowledge creation, but seem to give priority
to values such as competence and independence, and in the process seem to neglect and
constrain the learning process. Positive organizational scholarship is a new way to understand
the dynamics of the individuals within organizations. Positive emotion is associated with
tolerance of failure, openness to new experiences, as well as engaging help-seeking
behaviours (Fredrickson, 2003). Such values are unfortunately not embraced by most
organizations. An individual’s encounter with positive emotion have the ability to reflect onto
other members of the organization, as well as in the interaction with the customers, because
emotions are contagious (Hatfield, Cacioppo, & Rapson, 1993). Additionally, positive
emotions may foster optimal organizational functioning (Fredrickson, 2003).
The broaden-and-build theory implement the upward spiral where positive emotions
and the broadened mindset impact each other reciprocally. Positive emotions help employees
to be more productive, creative, higher morale, and mindfulness which leads to outstanding
performance, thus have a direct effect on the financial success of the organization (Garcia-
Zamor, 2003).
With this in mind, the members of an organization should consider nurturing and
harvest the goods of positive emotions, both as individuals and in others. With time,
individuals and the organization might transform and achieve optimal functioning by being
healthier, more effective and productive.
Empirical support. Staw, Sutton, and Pellod (1994) demonstrated the effect of
upward spirals (Figure 1) in the workplace, and found that individuals who experienced and
expressed the most positive emotions over time, had transformed themselves into more
effective and socially integrated employees. They also found that improved work outcomes
was not limited to high-arousal positive emotions like excitement and joy, but was also found
in low-arousal positive emotions such as contentment and serenity. Similar, individuals who
experienced and reported more positive emotions were more precise and careful in
decisionmaking tasks (Staw & Barsade, 1993).
Amabile and Kramer (2007) found that employees perform better when their day
experiences included more positive emotions, thus resulting in more favourable perceptions of
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 6
Figure 1. Upward spiral of flourishing (Garland, 2010).
their work, leaders, team and organization. With this in mind, it would be advantageous for
organizations to be equipped with positive emotions, in times when negativity arises in the
workplace. With their durable benefits, positive emotions may support resiliency in times of
difficulty to help employees rebound from these times.
Yoga and Mindfulness
Yoga is more than just exercise and relaxation, it is a holistic program for optimizing
mind-body health, and minimizing personal and organizational challenges (Raub, 2002).
Holistic well-being reduces medical costs, decreases staff absenteeism, increases team spirit
and morale, creating organizational commitment, motivation, job satisfaction and enhances
self-esteem of the employees (“European Agency for Safety & Health at Work - Information,
statistics, legislation and risk assessment tools,” n.d.).
The biological effects of yoga can be summed up to have an immediate down-
regulating effect of both the hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) and the sympathetic
nervous system (SNS) (Ross & Thomas, 2010), since repeated firing of the HPA axis and the
SNS over time can cause dysregulation of the systems causing diseases such as depression,
diabetes, cardiovascular disease (Sterling, 2004; McEwen, 2000)
From a biological perspective, the endorphin hypothesis has been proposed to explain
the relation between physical activity and improved mental health. Elevation of endorphins in
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 7
the central nervous system (CNS) decreases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol,
stimulates production of serotonin and norepinephrine, and alters neurotransmitters (Peluso &
Andrade, 2005). It is proposed that exercise increases support for a safe passage of endorphins
into the brain and CNS (McArthur, 1985). By engaging in physical activity, endorphins are
elevated and released into the bloodstream causing a feeling of euphoria, a sensation of calm,
and positive mood states (Allen, 2000). As opposed to conventional exercise, Sakuma et al.
(2012), found that yoga as a mind-body practice with an emphasize on muscle stretching
showed beneficial health outcomes through various intermediate biological mechanisms.
The effects of yoga have been found to prevent and improve many chronic health
conditions such as cardiovascular disease (Innes, Bourguignon, & Taylor, 2005), diabetes
(Upadhyay, Balkrishna, & Upadhyay, 2008), cancer (Bower, Woolery, Sternlieb, & Garet,
2005), anxiety/stress (Kirkwood, Rampes, Tuffrey, Richardson, & Pilkington, 2005), chronic
back pain (Posadzki & Ernst, 2011) and migraine headaches (John, Sharma, Sharma, &
Kankane, 2007).
Mindfulness meditation is the act of guiding one´s attention toward the present
moment in an open-minded, non-judgmental way. By modern psychology the practice of
mindfulness is thought to generate a state, or mindset of mindfulness, which is characterized
by a meta-cognitive, decentering awareness (Shapiro, Carlson, Astin, & Freedman, 2006).
This process of decentering is defined as the process of disidentificating from emotions,
thoughts and sensations, and may lessen the impact of distress on the individual (Segal,
Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). Practicing mindfulness will in return create awareness of stimuli
with fewer negative cognitive biases, resulting in less reactivity related to emotional valence
(Bishop et al., 2004).
The state of mindfulness is a form of broadened awareness and therefore can be linked
to the broaden-and-build theory. Practicing mindfulness over time may then elicit positive
emotions. The effects of yoga, through eliciting positive emotion, might help organizations
and their employees improve teamwork and enhance motivation, resulting in peak
performance. Management of distress is crucial for optimal physical, psychological and social
well-being, and a key factor for performance excellence.
Empirical support. There has been shown a link between increased mindfulness
when practicing yoga. Gard et al. (2012) found significant positive correlation between
mindfulness and yoga, as well as a significant negative correlation between mindfulness and
perceived stress.
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 8
Mindfulness training increased positive affect among an experimental group relative
to the control group (Nyklíček & Kuijpers, 2008), and intensive mindfulness training led to
increases in positive affect which were maintained in the follow-up one month later.
Meditation has proved effective to address destructive negative emotion (Segal et al.,
2002; Kabat-Zinn, 2003; Baer & Krietemeyer, 2006). Especially the feelings of sadness, anger
and fear may be relieved by the practice of mindfulness meditation. (Fredrickson et al., 2008)
found that the amount of time participants spent meditating (loving-kindness meditation),
predicted small but reliable enhancement in positive emotions. The analysis revealed that this
subtle increase significantly predicted growth in personal resources, such as self-acceptance,
social support, hope and lower physical illness symptoms. Accordingly, life satisfaction
increased while depressive symptoms decreased.
Sharma (2012) found evidence that corporate yoga acts as a motivator and improves
work performance among the employees, as yoga offers flexible options which produces
energy and decreases stress, enabling the workers to concentrate better.
Implication of Theory
The broaden-and-build theory will be used to illustrate how the principles such as
positive emotion might be translated and applied through the use of corporate yoga. The
theory will support the dynamics through which positive emotions promote well-being, and
how the daily experiences of positive emotions over time build individual’s psychosocial
resources and life satisfaction.
Research Methodology
The purpose of this research is to explore how yoga may be a tool for people to cope
with stress and increase wellbeing in their work and everyday life. Since we are trying to
gather an in-depth understanding of the experiences of the participants, together with the
topic, research question, and data collection method, it all suited thematic analysis. Thematic
analysis is used as a method of research as it is a flexible and useful research tool for
identifying, analysing and reporting patterns (themes) within the data. It minimally organizes
and describes your data set in rich detail (Boyatzis, 1998).
As this thesis is guided with a specific area of interest, a semantic approach was used
to provide a more detailed and nuanced account of one particular theme, or group of themes,
within the data (Boyatzis, 1998).
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 9
The data was collected through interviews with open-ended questions, as it allows the
participants to give a holistic, meaningful answer using their own knowledge, attitudes and
feelings of the subject (Lakshman, Sinha, Biswas, Charles, & Arora, 2000). The gathered data
is rich in content, thus easily quantifiable.
The data material is analysed using a combination of theoretical and an inductive
thematic analysis, since the topic of research was known before gathering data as it drives the
analysis in a specific direction, but the initial analysis started after conducting the interviews.
Through the coding process several themes emerged from the whole data set. Before merging
and finalizing the themes, a fitting theory was found to support the findings, giving a more
detailed analysis of some aspects of the data, and guiding the final themes (Braun & Clarke,
2006).
Participants
In total, 13 participants took part in this study, 3 male and 10 females, ages ranging
from early twenties to fifties. The participants should most favourable have had yoga offered
to them through the workplace. Participants were chosen through purposive sampling,
because they have the trait; yoga practice, which we want to study. Yoga instructors offering
corporate yoga were contacted to inform their students about the project and later got back in
touch with us if they had any interested in participating. Some organizations offering
corporate yoga were directly contacted and asked if they had any employees willing to
participate. 8 of our participants were recruited this way. The remaining 5 did not participate
in corporate yoga, but practiced yoga regularly through a fitness centre, or at home. The
participants had no requirements for yoga experience. The years of experience ranged from 1
to 6-7 years, and a some had inconsistencies in their practice due to circumstances in their
life. To ensure anonymity all the names listed are changed. An overview of the participants is
found in table 1.
Procedure
A semi structured interview (Appendix A) was created as a guide to obtain answers
within the frame of the research topic, but at the same time wide enough to let the participants
fully express their experience without leading them in a specific direction. As an interviewee
we were able
to follow topical trajectories in the conversation that are not part of the guide, as long as it
feels appropriate (Cohen & Crabtree, 2006).
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 10
Table 1.
Overview of participants.
The interview guide had to be accepted by the NSD (Data Protection Official for
Research for all the Norwegian universities/Personvernombudet for forskning).
Before proceeding with the interviews all the participants had to sign an informed
consent (Appendix B). The interviews were conducted by the six researchers of this project,
each recruiting and interviewing two each (with an exception of one researcher interviewing
three participants). Participants volunteered to be a part of the study after being asked by the
researchers. The interviews were conducted face to face, lasting for about an hour, in an
informal setting chosen for the convenience of the participants. Questions ranged from
describing their work situation ( “Could you tell me a bit out your workday?” ), experiences
and perception of wider work space related issues like stress among colleagues ( “How do you
experience the work environment in your workplace?”, “To what extent do you experience
stress at work?”), and their experience with (corporate) yoga ( “Could you tell me about your
experience of (corporate) yoga?”, “What are the reasons you are participating in yoga?” ).
The interviews were audio recorded, and transcribed subsequently by reproducing
some but not all spoken words and sounds such as hesitations (such as “Eeh”, “Hmm”),
cutoffs in speech (indicated by … ), behaviour (indicated by [brackets]), and strong emphasis
(indicated by using bolded words). Editing are mainly for brevity, removing any words that
are not essential for understanding the overall meaning of a data (Braun & Clarke, 2006). The
transcribed material was distributed among all the research members before being analysed
individually.
Name Age Gender Workplace Corporate Yoga
Ann-Mari 50 Female Law/Office No
Anne 30 Female Office Yes
Benjamin 27 Male Office Yes
Frida 40 Female Researcher/Office Yes
Kaja 35 Female Researcher/Office Yes
Lily 35 Female Researcher/Office Yes
Lise 29 Female Teacher Yes
Marie 46 Female Office Yes
Max 30 Male Office No
Rolf 32 Male Hairdresser/Taxi driver No
Ronja 23 Female Reception No
Sophie 29 Female Office No
Trude 40 Female Office Yes
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 11
Data Analysis
This thesis is written following the guidelines proposed by Braun and Clarke (2006)
for thematic analysis, which gives step-by-step guidelines useful for summarizing key
features of a large body of data, and offer a thick description of the data set. The analysis
presented is conducted by the author of this thesis, and it is based on the transcribed material
of all participants.
A substantial amount of literature search was done on the research topic prior to the
analysis, making the analysis at the intersection of inductive and theoretical thematic analysis.
The parts of the interview that were relevant to the research topic were first coded into
different categories. As the dataset formed into meaningful interpretations, a supporting
theory was found to give further structure to the analysis. The broaden-and-build theory was
used as a guide to code the material, however the findings were not forced into themes and
categories if it could not adequately be justified by the data set.
Due to space limits, all the quotes underpinning the different themes could not be a
part of this report, but the ones that are chosen are the most prominent from the analysis.
The analysing program NVivo11 was used to code and theme the data content.
Reflection of the content and construction of the model presented was sketched out using only
pen and paper. The finalizing of the mind maps was done in Nvivo11.
Bracketing
A strength of qualitative methods is that it has the ability to capture people's
individual, complex and nuanced experiences of a phenomenon. The researcher's job is to
interpret those experiences, which is impossible without some sort of bias. It is therefore
recognized that cultural and interpersonal factors play a role in the gathering of material as
well as in the analysis. The research has been conducted from a contextualized and critically
realistic epistemological perspective, and with a hermeneutic understanding of interpretation
it makes it possible to accept a plurality of interpretations of the data. The analysis aims to be
descriptive, as it will not go beyond what is found in the data.
The participants are expected to have a tendency to adjust their answers according to
what they think is the “right” answer and therefore leaving out information purposely to fit the
question or their role in the research. On the basis of this there might be issues that are not
highlighted.
Since the analysis was conducted after an review of the research topic, and the
broaden-and-build theory, the final analysis was influenced by this to a certain degree. This
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 12
analysis has a pragmatic aim, which tries to uncover the factors underlying this phenomenon,
and to provide an understanding of yoga, and how it affects the individual holistically, both
individually and as a part of an organizational setting.
Findings and Discussion
Themes were created by analysing data from all 13 interviews, by first organizing the
content into categories to cover most of the whole set. The data set was rich enough to shed
light on several interesting phenomenons, but to ensure depth, categories had to be merged,
renamed and cut out to narrow down and refine the analysis. The findings which cohere with
the theory presented in the introduction are emphasized on how and to what extent they affect
the phenomenon.
Calm and Balanced, Energy and Positivity, Physical Benefits are the three main
themes that emerged from the dataset, and have their respective sub-categories/themes (Figure
2). All participants reported being affected to a certain degree by all three themes. What is
also interesting is that all these three themes reflect positive emotions, and affect one another,
causing what seems to be a positive upward spiral affecting their life holistically; individually
and in their workplace. The positive emotions, as a result of participating in yoga, builds on to
each theme, and can be seen as personal resources the individual broadens and builds on to.
These resources can be “pulled out” and be used in subsequent settings and during different
emotional states (Fredrickson, 2004). However, it is important to take note that there is
significant individual differences on how quick people react and recover from emotionally
distressing experiences (Hemenover, 2003).
Since this is a qualitative research project, it is difficult to control and determine all
the variables that may be the cause of the outcome. Several of the participants engaged in
other physical activities during their week, and may also contribute to the results.
Calm and Balanced
The theme “Calm and Balanced” is one of the most evident themes emerging from the
data. It captures the resources the individuals broaden and build after becoming a yoga
practitioner. The subcategories of this theme are “Stress reduction”, “Present”, “Calm and
content”.
Stress reduction. Yoga has a calming effect, as it reduces anxiety and perceived stress
and is both shown in all of our participants and in a substantial amount of research (Riley &
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 13
Figure 2. An illustration of the themes and subcategories.
Park, 2015). Stress management tools such as meditation are learnt and built as a personal
resource and are used in times of stressful events. According to employee health and fitness
director Bill Boyle, at HBO New York:
The deep breathing and relaxation employees get from yoga help them to be more
focused and less anxious. When they go back to work, they're in a position to make
better decisions. You don't want people making business decisions when they're
stressed. It's the employees, those who experience the benefits of yoga directly, who
are responsible for the corporate yoga boom. (Wolfson, 2007)
Participants reported using meditation as a tool to calm down in stressful events such
as before a presentation or meeting. Anne, Ann-Mari and Rolf reflected on their current
situations. Instead of being overwhelmed by negative emotion, they took the time to calm
down by using the techniques they learnt by practicing yoga:
[E]specially the breathing techniques. That is something I let myself do at work for
example. Just breathing, take a deep breath, and maybe also the exercises, and just
stretch out a little. Just knowing that if I get overwhelmed, I have a place to go, and
that is into the yoga practice. And it is sort of like escaping from reality. So I do these
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 14
breathing exercises at work, to get some peace, and I use what I have learned from the
yoga practice with just closing your eyes for a bit. It’s kind of like a meditation, to
close your eyes, tell yourself that it’s all going to be ok. It might feel a bit hopeless
right now, but by doing this and that, it will loosen up, it always has. And try to be a
bit solution oriented, and not make a problem out of it, because then it’s just going to
escalate, and you can’t find the serenity to find the solution, and just keep stressing
about it. (Anne)
[A]nd I feel that this yoga practice helps me a bit, when I first take time to sit down I
am more aware to breathe with my stomach. And on a workday where I go from one
meeting to another, I can just kind of go to my office and sit down, and kind of close
my eyes and do a few of those simple breathing exercises to find serenity. Yes, it
actually works. You get this… That you practice the skill of being offline kind of, a
kind of mini-mindfulness, which you can get a lot of effects from. (Ann-Mari)
This effect was even noticed by the people surrounding Rolf:
[S]tress management, that is something I’m trying to take with me, from the practice
[...] When it, what can I say, starts to get a little much hassle around you, then you
forget, what can I say, to take the time to breathe [...] Friends and customers have said
so too. That they think I am much calmer when I have practiced yoga than when I
haven’t[.] (Rolf)
Calm and content. All participant reports feeling relaxed and a “feel good” sensation
after a yoga session, which can be directed to enhancement of the positive emotion, serenity.
Evidence suggest that positive emotions hold adaptive benefits that transform and expands the
“good feel” from individual level, small groups and onto whole organizations (Avey,
Wernsing, & Luthans, 2008):
[I]t feels totally different after the yoga practice. I feel a lot more flexible in the body,
not tense. Sometimes I walk around and feel very good, especially in the areas we’ve
been working into. I feel a lot more relaxed and flexible [...] It’s such a good feeling!
(Lily)
Lise reported enhanced positive emotions after a yoga practice, and how she wanted that to
sustain that feeling, and bring it into other aspects of her life:
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 15
Sometimes my body feels a bit tired, but my head is awake. But generally it feels so
much better after a yoga session. It feels like I have been kind to my body. It’s kind of
like a detox [...] I am more patient. And I try to bring that feeling with me. So I guess
my attitude and mood and everything is a bit better after the practice [...] When you
feel a sense of calm, you want to keep that peace you are feeling. (Lise)
Contentment, another positive emotion, produces self-insight, reframing and
expanding the identity, which may result in an altering the worldview, and new perspectives
of the individual (Fredrickson et al., 2008), and was found especially in Benjamin:
[I]’ve been better at taking care of myself, I think. And to value my own interests [...]
And I think I’ve become rounder in the edges. I can still stand firm on my believes and
think that my reality is the most real. But I do think I have become a bit rounder, in the
sense that I know that it’s not the only reality. Everyone have their own reality[.]
(Benjamin)
Present. 6 of the participants reported feeling more present in the moment. This is
linked to the broadened mind as a result of positive emotions:
[W]hat I try to work on, which yoga also helps me with, is to just be present, and just
live, just be. (Anne)
For Benjamin being present is an important aspect of stress reduction, helping him to let go of
destructive thinking patterns:
[I]t makes me more present during the evening. It’s a very good ending of my
workday, to get out of my thoughts and into my body. Into the present. [...] For the
most part of my life I am not present. I am stuck in my pattern of thinking. I am not
present in life. I keep holding on to thoughts, pondering, and it just turns into
something so important and so big. It might one of the hardest thing there is, to let go,
and to rest in the moment, and be present. (Benjamin)
Organizational Benefits
This theme addresses the positive effects yoga as on generating energy, and the
positive effects this has on psychosocial development, and their work performance. The
subcategories are divided into “Energy”, “Performance”, and “Gratitude”.
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 16
Energy. Yoga is known for diminishing fatigue and generate energy, which is
characteristics important for well-being. An employee who are energized experiences positive
emotional states such as pleasure and joy, which will reinforce productivity and creativity, as
well as it work as a buffer for stress (Fredrickson, 2004). There has also been found a link
between the improvement of wellbeing and a reduction of absenteeism in the workplace as a
result of yoga (Granath, Ingvarsson, von Thiele, & Lundberg, 2006). According to Edie
Weiner, president of Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc:
Whether or not studies have actually proven that productivity is up and health care
costs are down, anecdotally, the evidence that it works is overwhelming. Companies
understand you have to address employees' health and well-being. Employees need
time to relax, and a lot of people are gravitating towards yoga as a way to manage
stress. (Wolfson, 2007)
Ann-Mari and Anne experienced increased energy and positive emotions which continued
into their work day:
[T]hose days [of yoga practice] you have this special feeling in your body, or a special
energy. [...] You get this nice flow. If you are going into processes which requires
something special, then you are in this, well, you get this one of a kind energy. [...]
And it feels so good, it gives you this special kind of surplus. [...] Especially those
days I have been to an early morning yoga session, I get this good energy at work.
(Ann-Mari)
Yes, I get a lot of energy from yoga. [...] I notice that I am more satisfied. [...] But
something happens to your body during those 30 minutes, which gives you this
surplus that lasts at least that day, and maybe some days afterwards, and then you are
more happy and satisfied[.] [...] But it's more like it gives me this calm which I can’t
put my finger on, which gives me this happiness afterwards. It gives me this weird
energy[.](Anne)
Performance. Meditation practices that improve mindfulness skills have a positive
effect on the individual in the sense that it creates the ability to sustain focus and attention
over a longer period, and enhances cognitive flexibility (Moore & Malinowski, 2009),
inevitably improving work performance.
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 17
Not all participants could give exact examples on how yoga affected their work
performance, but they reflected on how positive emotions and increased well-being could
transmit onto other aspects of their life:
I have wondered, which way it affects my performance at work. It’s only one hour, so
it’s a very small proportion of my life. But I do feel like it helps to pull me the right
direction. It gives me something which helps me perform better at work. I think so.
Especially with being present. To be present in the body, and in the quiet. That’s often
where the good ideas come. (Benjamin)
I am not sure, I can’t come with any concrete examples on how and why it would
make me a better employee after practicing yoga. Of I am more satisfied at work, then
that would make me a better employee. [...] I think it has something to do with self
image, if you are more satisfied in general, then that will spill over onto other things,
on how I do my work tasks, and how much confidence I have through the rest of the
day. [...] If I have spent an hour doing yoga, then it’s easier to pull yourself together, to
work more efficiently, with the time you have left of your day[.] (Frida)
Lily, on the other hand, reported direct effects such as efficiency and better focus, due to
feeling more relaxed:
Often it gets better, often I get more efficient after yoga. I am more focused on what
needs to be done. [...] I can do a task a lot quicker after yoga. [...] I often feel… a bit
more positive! My thoughts are more positive than before, it has a lot to do with me
thinking about all the different things I have to do, and I feel a bit stressed, and after
[yoga practice] I feel that it’s gone and I feel “Well, I can do a good job today at
work!”[.] As I said I am more focused, but so are the others that practice yoga. You
can tell that they are more relaxed, and I think it’s easier to work together when there
is less tension. (Lily)
Gratitude. The individual who receives help is likely to feel the complementary
positive emotion of gratitude, which produces beneficial social outcomes. Repaying the
kindness is considered one of the tendencies triggered by thought-action. Additionally, it
reinforces moral social actions, as it makes the receiver feel appreciated, and motivated to
give help in the future (McCullough, Kilpatrick, Emmons, & Larson, 2001). Helpful
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 18
individuals are attributed to be more respectful, empathic, flexible and creative employees
(Dutton, Dukerich, & Harquail, 1994).
Anne and Frida considered getting the opportunity to practice yoga at work helpful,
and felt a sense of gratitude towards their organization:
[A]nd that it[yoga] is getting more and more into organizations is really interesting,
and really good. And I appreciate that my employer offers free yoga once every week.
(Anne)
[I]t is a positive thing during the workday that we are allowed to do something
physical [...] [I]t perceived as something very positive[.] [...] It feels really good that
the workplace facilitates this, it gives me this positive feature of the workplace, that
they are able to have an hour of yoga at noon. And it makes me, what can I say,
grateful, that they are facilitating exercise during working hours, regardless of the type
of exercise. [...] I am really grateful towards my workplace, and towards the people
who initiated this, colleagues of mine, which figured out that this is something people
could be interested in, and it proved to be right[.] (Frida)
This even encouraged Benjamin to do a better job, and repay the kindness:
As I perceive my employer, is that they are interested in taking care of their
employees, and that’s why we have so many good [exercise] arrangements. [...] What I
feel most grateful for is that we are able to have that yoga session. That makes me
want to do a good job. It makes me feel like I am being cared for, by having yoga at
work. (Benjamin)
Physical Benefits
Practicing yoga has the ability to yield beneficial health outcomes, such as increased
muscle strength and flexibility. Additionally, physical activity improves mental well-being
(Krogh, Nordentoft, Sterne, & Lawlor, 2011) by decreasing fatigue, depression and anxiety, in
addition to improving mood states (McArthur, 1985), helping the individual building personal
resources, which will add on to the positive upward spiral. Looking at if from an
organizational perspective, physical activity improves productivity, job-satisfaction, as well as
reducing absenteeism (Conn, Hafdahl, Cooper, Brown, & Lusk, 2009; Bhui, Dinos, Stansfeld,
& White, 2012).
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 19
The subcategories have been divided into “Flexibility”, “Illness prevention and
recovery” and “Office tension”.
Flexibility. The physical benefits, or the exercise components of yoga seems to be the
main reason why the participants started in the first place. All the participants experienced
gaining some sort of physical relief or sensation while practicing yoga, however increased
flexibility was experienced by all. Therefore, “flexibility” is one of the sub-categories
underpinning this theme:
To me it’s important to do it [yoga] because of the flexibility. There are several places
in my body that are tense[...] Often it is totally different after yoga practice. I feel a lot
more flexible, not so tense. (Lily)
My biggest goal with yoga, was to become more flexible. And I have, definitely.
Before I wasn’t able to put my hands on the ground. I was as stiff as you could get.
(Ronja)
Illness prevention and recovery. Some of the participants had suffered from back
problems, or other injuries making them dependent on going to a chiropractor or a physical
therapist. Practicing yoga reduced pain, as well as making them less dependent on their
physical therapist, due to physical improvement. Hence, the subcategory “illness prevention
& recovery”:
[I] have had some issues with this sports injury, a stretched tendon behind my thigh.
And two years ago I went to the chiropractor a lot, because I had this scoliosis, or a
slipped disc, and it is muscularly right.. so the reason was because my muscles was too
tight. And I have managed to stretched myself to recovery. I don’t experience pain
anymore. I feel increased flexibility in the shoulders, and arms. It’s something
completely different. So the health benefits… I don’t become tired or anything… I am
able to relax more when I’m sitting on the computer, because I’m less tense in the
muscles, than before. [...] So the health benefits are a lot better, and the flexibility in
my body is a lot better. And I sleep better during the night. [...] When I go to bed at
night, it all feels so good and relaxed in the muscles. (Ann-Mari)
The reason why I started practicing was because I needed to since I had back pain. [...]
So if I didn’t do yoga, I felt a big difference. I went through several treatments.
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 20
Physiotherapist, chiropractor, every imaginable places like that. Manual therapy,
naprapath. And I figured that all they focused on was flexibility, and that I could do
that all by myself. [...] Then I immediately thought about yoga, that it focuses on
flexibility, and that I should try it[...] I notice a physical difference if I have done it…
Than if I haven’t done it. (Max)
An important finding came from Marie, which reported less absenteeism due to
improved physical condition:
I’ve had a lot of trouble with my back, and pelvis and so on. I’ve been a lot to the
chiropractor, osteopath, and I haven’t been there so much after I’ve started with yoga.
I simply don’t need it. I’ve learned some exercises to prevent it. And that means that I
don’t have to go there during working hours[.] (Marie)
Office tension. Participants working in an office reported stiffness and tension in the
body as a result of desk work, and long working hours in front of a computer. “Office tension”
emerged as a subcategory due to the prevalence in the data set:
We sit a lot, right. And become stiff in the neck and in the hips. [...] There is a lot of
focus in trying to loosen up the tension. This office-tension. [...] My back has gotten
so much better, and everything that used to be stiff is better. (Marie)
For example, I have a lot of headaches due to tension in my neck and shoulders, and
the tension might come from sitting wrong, or sleeping wrong, or from being stressed.
Yoga gives me life quality by giving me muscular strength, and prevents me from
using these muscles wrong, and then I avoid headaches, so in sum it gives me higher
life quality. [...] Both the physical can give you a lot of you, and the mental part of it[.]
(Anne)
Conclusion
The analysis showed that yoga is an important tool to improve holistic well-being as it
enhances positive emotions, which subsequently helps the individual build and broaden
personal resources.
The purpose of this thesis was to present factors important to understand how yoga as
a tool, helps people cope with stress and increase wellbeing in their work and everyday life.
Arguments and examples were presented to underpin the respectable themes, but are only
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 21
used to show a pattern, and are not a definite truth for everyone. Yoga means different things
to different people as the various aspects affects their life in different ways. The themes
presented are not affecting all the participants equally, but all themes were reported by all the
participants. The themes represent individual and organizational resources that are built and
broadened by practicing yoga, and how they reciprocally affect one another.
The broaden-and-build theory predicts that an array of positive emotions, such as
gratitude, contentment and joy, create and sustain the dynamical processes that keep
individuals and organizations growing and flourishing.
A substantial amount of empirical evidence show that yoga strengthens physical and
psychological resources, making individuals less stressed, anxious, and experience less body
pain. Hence, resulting in enhanced creativity, productivity and effectiveness in the workplace,
as well as it reduces absenteeism.
The health and wellbeing of employees will continue to be an important issue in the
future as the corporate world will continue to strive for innovation and change. Yoga is one of
the most cost-effective ways of optimizing holistic well-being, resulting in individual and
organizational winning.
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 22
References
Allen, M. (2000). The psychobiology of athletic training. Sport Psychiatry: Theory and
Practice. New York: WW Norton & Company, 22–44.
Amabile, T. M., & Kramer, S. J. (2007). Inner work life. Harvard Business Review, 85(5), 72–
83.
Aspinwall, L. G. (1998). Rethinking the Role of Positive Affect in Self-Regulation.
Motivation and Emotion, 22(1), 1–32.
Baer, R. A., & Krietemeyer, J. (2006). Overview of mindfulness-and acceptance-based
treatment approaches. Mindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches: Clinician’s Guide to
Evidence Base and Applications, 3–27.
Baron, R. A., & Bell, P. A. (1976). Aggression and heat: the influence of ambient temperature,
negative affect, and a cooling drink on physical aggression. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 33(3), 245–255.
Bhandari, R., Acharya, B., & Katiyar, V. K. (2010). Corporate Yoga and Its Implications. In
6th World Congress of Biomechanics (WCB 2010). August 1-6, 2010 Singapore (pp.
290–293). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
Bhandari, R. B., (Ācārya), B., Bhandari, C. B., Sharma, G. D., Singh, K., Pandya, P., &
Katiyar, V. K. (2012). Implications of corporate yoga: A review. INTECH Open
Access Publisher.
Bhui, K. S., Dinos, S., Stansfeld, S. A., & White, P. D. (2012). A synthesis of the evidence for
managing stress at work: a review of the reviews reporting on anxiety, depression, and
absenteeism. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012, 515874.
Bishop, S. R., Lau, M., Shapiro, S., Carlson, L., Anderson, N. D., Carmody, J., … Devins, G.
(2004). Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Definition. Clinical Psychology:
Science and Practice, 11(3), 230–241.
Bower, J. E., Woolery, A., Sternlieb, B., & Garet, D. (2005). Yoga for cancer patients and
survivors. Cancer Control: Journal of the Moffitt Cancer Center, 12(3), 165–171.
Boyatzis, R. E. (1998). Transforming qualitative information: Thematic analysis and code
development. sage.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research
in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101.
Cacioppo, J. T., Gardner, W. L., & Berntson, G. G. (1999). The affect system has parallel and
integrative processing components: Form follows function. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 76(5), 839.
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 23
Cannon, W. B. (1932). The wisdom of the body. Retrieved from
http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1932-02164-000
Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1990). Origins and functions of positive and negative affect:
A control-process view. Psychological Review, 97(1), 19.
Clore, G. L. (1994). Why emotions are felt. The Nature of Emotion: Fundamental Questions,
103–111.
Cohen, D., & Crabtree, B. (2006). Qualitative research guidelines project. sswm.info.
Retrieved from
http://www.sswm.info/sites/default/files/reference_attachments/COHEN
%202006%20Semistructured%20Interview.pdf
Cohn, M. A., Fredrickson, B. L., Brown, S. L., Mikels, J. A., & Conway, A. M. (2009).
Happiness unpacked: Positive emotions increase life satisfaction by building
resilience. Emotion , 9(3), 361.
Conn, V. S., Hafdahl, A. R., Cooper, P. S., Brown, L. M., & Lusk, S. L. (2009). Meta-analysis
of workplace physical activity interventions. American Journal of Preventive
Medicine, 37(4), 330–339.
Davidson, R. J. (1992). Anterior cerebral asymmetry and the nature of emotion. Brain and
Cognition, 20(1), 125–151.
Derryberry, D., & Tucker, D. M. (1994). Motivating the focus of attention. Retrieved May 9,
2017, from http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1994-97332-007
Diener, E., & Diener, C. (1996). Most people are happy. Psychological Science, 7(3), 181–
185.
Dutton, J. E., Dukerich, J. M., & Harquail, C. V. (1994). Organizational Images and Member
Identification. Administrative Science Quarterly, 39(2), 239–263.
Ekman, P. (1992). An argument for basic emotions. Cognition and Emotion, 6(3-4), 169–200.
Fredickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. The American
Psychologist, 56(3), 218–226.
Fredrickson, B. L. (2004). The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. Philosophical
Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences,
359(1449), 1367–1378.
Fredrickson, B. L. (1998). What Good Are Positive Emotions? Review of General
Psychology: Journal of Division 1, of the American Psychological Association, 2(3),
300–319.
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 24
Fredrickson, B. L., & Branigan, C. (2005). Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention
and thoughtaction repertoires. Cognition and Emotion, 19(3), 313–332.
Fredrickson, B. L. (2003). Positive Emotions and Upward Spiral in Organization. In Kim S.
Cameron, Jane E. Dutton, Robert E. Quinn (Ed.), Positive Organizational
Scholarship: Foundations of a New Discipline (pp. 163–175). Berret-Koehler.
Fredrickson, B. L., Mancuso, R. A., Branigan, C., & Tugade, M. M. (2000). The Undoing
Effect of Positive Emotions. Motivation and Emotion, 24(4), 237–258.
Fredrickson, B. L., & Levenson, R. W. (1998). Positive Emotions Speed Recovery from the
Cardiovascular Sequelae of Negative Emotions. Cognition & Emotion, 12(2), 191–
220.
Fredrickson, B. L., Cohn, M. A., Coffey, K. A., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. M. (2008). Open hearts
build lives: positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build
consequential personal resources. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
95(5), 1045.
Fredrickson, B. L., & Joiner, T. (2002). Positive emotions trigger upward spirals toward
emotional well-being. Psychological Science, 13(2), 172–175.
Frijda, N. H., & Mesquita, B. (1994). The social roles and functions of emotions. American
Psychological Association.
Garcia-Zamor, J.-C. (2003). Workplace Spirituality and Organizational Performance. Public
Administration Review, 63(3), 355–363.
Gard, T., Hölzel, B. K., Sack, A. T., Hempel, H., Lazar, S. W., Vaitl, D., & Ott, U. (2012). Pain
attenuation through mindfulness is associated with decreased cognitive control and
increased sensory processing in the brain. Cerebral Cortex , 22(11), 2692–2702.
Garland, E. L., Fredrickson, B., Kring, A. M., Johnson, D. P., Meyer, P. S., & Penn, D. L.
(2010). Upward spirals of positive emotions counter downward spirals of negativity:
insights from the broaden-and-build theory and affective neuroscience on the
treatment of emotion dysfunctions and deficits in psychopathology. Clinical
Psychology Review, 30(7), 849–864.
Garland, E. L., & Howard, M. O. (2009). Neuroplasticity, psychosocial genomics, and the
biopsychosocial paradigm in the 21st century. Health & Social Work, 34(3), 191–199.
Granath, J., Ingvarsson, S., von Thiele, U., & Lundberg, U. (2006). Stress management: a
randomized study of cognitive behavioural therapy and yoga. Cognitive Behaviour
Therapy, 35(1), 3–10.
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 25
Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Rapson, R. L. (1993). Emotional Contagion. Current
Directions in Psychological Science, 2(3), 96–99.
Hemenover, S. H. (2003). Individual differences in rate of affect change: studies in affective
chronometry. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(1), 121–131.
Innes, K. E., Bourguignon, C., & Taylor, A. G. (2005). Risk indices associated with the insulin
resistance syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and possible protection with yoga: a
systematic review. The Journal of the American Board of Family Practice / American
Board of Family Practice, 18(6), 491–519.
Isen, A. M., & Stein, N. L. (1990). The influence of positive and negative affect on cognitive
organization: Some implications for development. Psychological and Biological
Approaches to Emotion, 75–94.
Jansen, A. S., Nguyen, X. V., Karpitskiy, V., Mettenleiter, T. C., & Loewy, A. D. (1995).
Central command neurons of the sympathetic nervous system: basis of the fight-or-
flight response. Science, 270(5236), 644–646.
Jenkins, J. M., & Oatley, K. (1996). Emotional episodes and emotionality through the life
span. Academic Press.
John, P. J., Sharma, N., Sharma, C. M., & Kankane, A. (2007). Effectiveness of yoga therapy
in the treatment of migraine without aura: a randomized controlled trial. Headache:
The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 47(5), 654–661.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: past, present, and future.
Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144–156.
Kirkwood, G., Rampes, H., Tuffrey, V., Richardson, J., & Pilkington, K. (2005). Yoga for
anxiety: a systematic review of the research evidence. British Journal of Sports
Medicine, 39(12), 884–891.
Krogh, J., Nordentoft, M., Sterne, J. A. C., & Lawlor, D. A. (2011). The effect of exercise in
clinically depressed adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized
controlled trials. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 72(4), 529–538.
Lakshman, M., Sinha, L., Biswas, M., Charles, M., & Arora, N. K. (2000). Quantitative vs
qualitative research methods. Indian Journal of Pediatrics, 67(5), 369–377.
Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Emotion and adaptation. Oxford University Press on Demand.
Lunde, E. S. (2007). Hva slags problemer går vi til fastlegen med? Retrieved from
https://www.ssb.no/helse/artikler-og-publikasjoner/hva-slags-problemer-gaar-vi-til-
fastlegen-med
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 26
Luthans, B. C., Luthans, K. W., & Avey, J. B. (2013). Building the Leaders of Tomorrow.
Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 21(2), 191–199.
McArthur, J. W. (1985). Endorphins and exercise in females: possible connection with
reproductive dysfunction. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 17(1), 82–88.
McCullough, M. E., Kilpatrick, S. D., Emmons, R. A., & Larson, D. B. (2001). Is gratitude a
moral affect? Psychological Bulletin, 127(2), 249–266.
McEwen, B. S. (2000). The neurobiology of stress: from serendipity to clinical relevance.
Brain Research, 886(1-2), 172–189.
Mohan, G. (2006). Invited Article: Exploring Yoga as Therapy. International Journal of Yoga
Therapy, 16(1), 13–19.
Moore, A., & Malinowski, P. (2009). Meditation, mindfulness and cognitive flexibility.
Consciousness and Cognition, 18(1), 176–186.
Nyklíček, I., & Kuijpers, K. F. (2008). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Intervention on Psychological Well-being and Quality of Life: Is Increased
Mindfulness Indeed the Mechanism? Annals of Behavioral Medicine: A Publication of
the Society of Behavioral Medicine, 35(3), 331–340.
Peluso, M. A. M., & Guerra de Andrade, L. H. S. (2005). Physical activity and mental health:
the association between exercise and mood. Clinics , 60(1), 61–70.
Posadzki, P., & Ernst, E. (2011). Yoga for low back pain: a systematic review of randomized
clinical trials. Clinical Rheumatology, 30(9), 1257–1262.
Raub, J. A. (2002). Psychophysiologic effects of Hatha Yoga on musculoskeletal and
cardiopulmonary function: a literature review. Journal of Alternative and
Complementary Medicine , 8(6), 797–812.
Riley, K. E., & Park, C. L. (2015). How does yoga reduce stress? A systematic review of
mechanisms of change and guide to future inquiry. Health Psychology Review, 9(3),
379–396.
Ross, A., & Thomas, S. (2010). The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of
comparison studies. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine , 16(1), 3–
12.
Sakuma, Y., Sasaki-Otomaru, A., Ishida, S., Kanoya, Y., Arakawa, C., Mochizuki, Y., … Sato,
C. (2012). Effect of a home-based simple yoga program in child-care workers: a
randomized controlled trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine ,
18(8), 769–776.
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 27
Segal, Z. V., Teasdale, J. D., Williams, J. M., & Gemar, M. C. (2002). The mindfulness-based
cognitive therapy adherence scale: Inter-rater reliability, adherence to protocol and
treatment distinctiveness. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 9(2), 131–138.
Segal, Z. V., Williams, J., & Teasdale, J. D. (2002). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for
depression: A new approach to relapse prevention. New York: Guilford.
Shapiro, S. L., Carlson, L. E., Astin, J. A., & Freedman, B. (2006). Mechanisms of
mindfulness. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(3), 373–386.
Sharma, S. D. (2012). Stress management through “yoga practices” in the corporate sector.
AFRICAN JOURNAL OF BUSINESS MANAGEMENT, 6(37).
https://doi.org/10.5897/AJBM11.314
Solomon, R. L., & Corbit, J. D. (1974). An opponent-process theory of motivation. I.
Temporal dynamics of affect. Psychological Review, 81(2), 119–145.
Staw, B. M., Sutton, R. I., & Pelled, L. H. (1994). Employee Positive Emotion and Favorable
Outcomes at the Workplace. Organization Science, 5(1), 51–71.
Staw, B. M., & Barsade, S. G. (1993). Affect and Managerial Performance: A Test of the
Sadder-but-Wiser vs. Happier-and-Smarter Hypotheses. Administrative Science
Quarterly, 38(2), 304–331.
Sterling, P. (2004). Principles of Allostasis: Optimal Design, Predictive Regulation,
Pathophysiology, and Rational. Allostasis, Homeostasis, and the Costs of
Physiological Adaptation. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/books?
hl=no&lr=&id=mIa5LVHjB-MC&oi=fnd&pg=PA17&dq=Sterling,
+2004&ots=X_7IXGROeG&sig=l3LU3k2Kh12WyH21qRvGSRvh7tA
Upadhyay, A. K., Balkrishna, A., & Upadhyay, R. T. (2008). Effect of Pranayama [Voluntary
Regulated Yoga Breathing] and Yogasana [Yoga Postures] in Diabetes Mellitus (DM):
A Scientific Review. Journal of Complementary & Integrative Medicine, 5(1).
Retrieved from
https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jcim.2008.5.1/jcim.2008.5.1.1114/jcim.2008.5.1.11
14.xml
Waugh, C. E., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2006). Nice to know you: Positive emotions, self–other
overlap, and complex understanding in the formation of a new relationship. The
Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(2), 93–106.
Wolfson, N. (2007, August 28). Incorporating Yoga - Yoga Journal. Retrieved May 11, 2017,
from http://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/incorporating-yoga
Wolpe, J. (1968). Psychotherapy by reciprocal inhibition. Conditional Reflex, 3(4), 234–240.
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 28
Svak oppgang i sykefraværet. (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2017, from
https://www.ssb.no/sykefratot/
European Agency for Safety & Health at Work - Information, statistics, legislation and risk
assessment tools. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2017, from http://osha.eu/en/topics/stress
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 29
Appendix A
INTERVJUGUIDE
Intervjuguide for prosjektet “Yoga, wellbeing and coping with stress in work life and everyday life:
How is practicing yoga experienced by people who participate in «yoga for employees»?”
- Individuelt, semistrukturert intervju
Varighet: ca. 1 time
Tema: Ansattes opplevelse av å delta på yoga på arbeidsplassen.
Problemstilling: ”How is practicing yoga experienced by people who participate in «yoga for
employees»?”
Form: To studenter møter respondenten. En har ansvar for å stille spørsmål, den andre tar notater og
er ansvarlig for lydopptak. Den som intervjuer lytter aktivt og noterer eventuelt stikkord med tanke på
oppfølgingsspørsmål underveis i intervjuet. Begge kan stille oppfølgingsspørsmål underveis.
Intervjuet avsluttes med en muntlig oppsummering og avklaring.
I. Rammesetting: Iscenesettelse av intervjuet (ca. 10 minutter)
Uformell samtale
Informasjon om prosjektet
o“Vi er studenter fra NTNU som forsker på hvordan det å delta på yoga for
ansatte oppleves”.
oØnsker å vite hvordan de ansatte opplever yogaen, hvordan det påvirker
dem og hvorvidt yoga har betydning for deres arbeidshverdag. Ingen rette
eller gale svar, vi ønsker at informanten skal snakke helt fritt og vi ønsker å
få vite mest mulig.
Informer om det formelle og etiske
oSikre anonymitet: informasjon vil ikke kunne spores tilbake til
informanten.
oTaushetsplikt: alle studenter og forskere involvert i studien har
taushetsplikt.
oDataene vil kun bli lagret i anonymisert form.
oInformanten kan avbryte intervjuet når som helst.
oKan kontakte oss for å trekke tilbake datamaterialet hvis man skulle ønske
det.
oInformert samtykke. Signere på skjema.
Forklar hva intervjuet skal brukes til
oIntervjuet skal transkriberes
oInformer om lydopptak, og spør om samtykke til lydopptak.
oDataene vil danne grunnlag for bacheloroppgaver for studentene på
prosjektet og for en rapport for masterkandidat. Resultatene vil kunne
benyttes i konferansepaper og forskningsartikler.
oSpør om respondenten har spørsmål eller om noe er uklart.
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 30
oEtter alle spørsmål er besvart: start lydopptak.
II.Midtdel
1. Bakgrunn
Kan du fortelle litt om din arbeidshverdag?
oHvordan opplever du arbeidsmiljøet på din arbeidsplass?
oStress på jobben: I hvilken grad opplever du stress på jobben?
oStress ellers i livet: I hvilken grad opplever du deg som stresset i
hverdagen?
Hvilken kjennskap hadde du til yoga før du ble med på yoga på
arbeidsplassen?
oHvilken form for yoga har dere her?
oHva er grunnen til at du er med på yoga?
Andre ansattes betydning for deltakelse: Ble du anbefalt å bli
med? Har du anbefalt andre å bli med? Hvordan?
oHvor ofte deltar du på yoga på arbeidsplassen? Hvordan bestemmer du
deg for om du skal delta eller ikke? (Hvis de svarer at de nedprioriterer
yoga i travle perioder spør: Hva tenker du om det?)
2. Informer om at du nå er interessert i deltakerens opplevelse av å delta på yoga.
Kan du fortelle om din opplevelse av yoga på arbeidsplassen (/yoga for ansatte)?
oFør: Hvordan har du det før yogatimene?
oUnder: Hvordan har du det under yogatimene?
Hvordan opplever du: avspenningen? de fysisk krevende øvelsene?
pusteteknikkene?
Hva tenker du på?
Hvilke reaksjoner opplever du i kroppen?
Hvordan er øvelsene? (Lette, vanskelige, behagelige,
smertefulle?)
I hvilken grad er du i stand til å fokusere på deg selv under
yogaen? (Sammenligner du deg med andre?)
oEtter: Hvordan har du det etter yogatimene? (i kroppen, i hodet)
Hvis deltakeren har gitt uttrykk for å føle seg stresset tidligere: Merker
du noen forskjell etter yogatimen i forhold til din opplevelse av å være
stresset? Utdyp.
3. Eventuelle konsekvenser av å delta på yoga.
Hva opplever du som positivt ved yoga?
oHvordan påvirker det deg i jobbhverdagen din? (Eksempler?)
oArbeidsmiljøet?
oLivet utenfor jobb?
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 31
oMerker du noen forskjell på deg selv nå i forhold til før du begynte med
yoga på arbeidsplassen?
Hvis ja; kan du beskrive denne forskjellen?
oBruker du noe av det du har lært i andre situasjoner? Fortell!
Bruker du pusteøvelsene du har lært i arbeidshverdagen din?
oEr det noe du misliker ved yoga?
Kommer du til å fortsette å delta på yoga også framover?
Hvorfor/hvorfor ikke?
Gjør du yoga utenfor arbeidsplassen?
III. Avslutning: (ca.10-15 minutter)
Avrund intervjuet med å oppsummere og nevne noen hovedpunkter.
oBe om tilbakemelding.
oAvklar misforståelser.
Avslutt med å si at du ikke har mer å spørre om, og spør informantene om det er noe
mer de vil si.
oEr det noe jeg ikke har spurt deg om som du ønsker å legge til?
oHar du noen spørsmål?
Stopp lydopptak
Takk informanten for hjelpen og bidraget.
Informer om at det bare er å ta kontakt om det skulle være noe. Sikre at de har
kontaktinformasjon.
Spør om man kan kontakte informanten via mail, dersom det er noe vi lurer på (for
eksempel hvis det er noe man ønsker informanten skal utdype).
Appendix B
Forespørsel om deltakelse i forskningsprosjektet
“Yoga, wellbeing and coping with stress in work life and everyday life: How is practicing
yoga experienced by people who participate in «yoga for employees»?”
Bakgrunn og formål: Formålet med dette forskningsprosjektet er å forstå hvordan ansatte
som deltar på yoga via sin arbeidsplass opplever det å gjøre yoga, og hva det betyr for dem. Vi
er interessert i å finne ut om det å gjøre yoga har noe å si for arbeidshverdagen og livet til den
ansatte (med tanke på stress, trivsel, mestringsfølelse med mer). Vi rekrutterer ved bedrifter
der det tilbys yoga på eller i tilknytning til arbeidsplassen. Deltakere på disse yogatilbudene
blir forespurt om å delta i prosjektet, fordi vi er interessert i hvordan yoga oppleves å innvirke
på deres håndtering av stress og velvære. Forskningsprosjektet er et bachelor- og
HOW YOGA PROMOTES A HOLISTICALLY HEALTHY EMPLOYEE 32
masterstipend prosjekt ved Institutt for psykologi, NTNU, og ledes av professor Ingunn
Hagen.
Hva innebærer deltakelse i studien? Studien vil omfatte 12-16 enkeltintervjuer. Intervjuet
vil vare i ca. en time. Det vil være to studenter tilstede ved hvert intervju, i tillegg til
informanten. Hver person vil bli stilt det samme sett med spørsmål om sin opplevelse av yoga
på arbeidsplassen. Intervjuet vil bli tatt opp på bånd, og blir deretter transkribert og kodet.
Hva skjer med informasjonen om deg? Alle personopplysninger vil bli behandlet
konfidensielt. En prosjektleder, seks bachelorstudenter, en masterkandidat og en
studentassistent vil ha tilgang til de personopplysningene som oppgis. Personopplysninger vil
bli lagret på passordbeskyttet PC på et kontor adskilt fra opptak for å kunne ivareta
konfidensialitet.
Prosjektet skal etter planen avsluttes i juni 2017. Datamaterialet vil bli anonymisert ved
prosjektslutt. Deltakere vil ikke kunne gjenkjennes i bacheloroppgaver,
masterkandidatsrapport eller andre publikasjoner.
Frivillig deltakelse Det er frivillig å delta i studien, og du kan når som helst trekke ditt
samtykke uten å oppgi noen grunn. Dersom du trekker deg, vil alle opplysninger om deg bli
slettet. Dersom du ønsker å delta eller har spørsmål til studien, ta kontakt med prosjektleder
Ingunn Hagen, 41663015, Ingunn.Hagen@ntnu.no eller masterkandidat Kristine Alise Olsen,
93632774, krol@stud.ntnu.no.
Studien er meldt til Personvernombudet for forskning, NSD - Norsk senter for forskningsdata
AS.
Samtykke til deltakelse i studien
Jeg har mottatt informasjon om studien, og er villig til å delta
(Signert av prosjektdeltaker, dato)
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.