21 Apr

How to organise a yoga session for your staff

 

yoga funny

 

If you’re the person responsible for the wellness of the staff in your organisation, then this post is specially for you. Because I’m sure at some time you will consider [or have already done so] organising a yoga event of some kind for them.

I regularly teach yoga to employees at corporates, in the form of on-going yoga classes, weekend retreats and 1-2 hour yoga sessions. Based on that, I would like to share with you some tips that you should give thought to while organising a yoga session so that it becomes a win-win situation for everyone.

1] Theme: Always have a theme for your session. This is important because then the trainer can tailor the session to the specific theme and stick to it. Also, people who have that particular issue will make sure they attend the session, will know what to expect and you will get maximum participation from employees. The theme can be something like sleeplessness, neck pain, lower back pain, acidity, improving concentration or the all-time-favourite ‘weight loss’. These are common issues and will draw good footfalls for your session.

2] Type of yoga: So you chose the trainer based on a friend’s recommendation, and sealed the deal because she fit your budget.  But do check on the style of yoga that the trainer specialises in. For corporates it’s best to choose someone with an experience in Hatha Yoga as that is the traditional form and will introduce your staff to the basics. It’s also the safest form of yoga, if done the correct way. I would say, resist the temptation to introduce power yoga as not everyone may be able to keep pace with it.

3] Level: Remember, some people who come for the yoga session may not even recall the last time they did any physical activity. For them, sitting crossed legged on the floor doing asanas will be a BIG challenge. Yet for others, they come to the session wanting to learn something new and challenging. So based on the theme, you can ask the trainer to start the session with beginner level poses and then move to intermediate level. For corporate yoga, advanced level poses can be left out.

4] Timing: All your efforts will go waste if you don’t pay attention to timing, date selection and informing your staff in advance. Make sure to not plan the session on month ends,  when the staff has more workload, or just before a long weekend. As for timing, best time  is in the evening around 4 – 5 pm. On the day of the session, send a reminder to the staff who have registered for the session, that they need to finish off their lunch at least 3 hours prior to the session. Keep at least 15 minutes after the session for people to cool down and also clear their doubts.

5] Attire: Corporate yoga does not need to be done in corporate wear. I have had people show up to the sessions in outfits like skirts, tight trousers and even saris. Insist on changing to work-out attire so they can move freely, comfortably and make the most of the session.

6] Mats: Yoga is no fun without a yoga mat, so your job is not over till you have organised for those. Where do you source them from? Check with the trainer if she can get a few, ask participants to carry theirs and you could also hire a few. If you are using a carpeted area, participants can carry a full length towel to be used in place of a mat and you are sorted.

7] Space: Whether you are using a large conference room, or the cafeteria is being converted to a make-shift yoga room, it will need some sprucing up. The floor will have to be absolutely clean and you can create an ambience by playing relaxing music and lighting aroma candles or incense. Make sure in whatever way you can that the session does not get disturbed by outside noises and others talking.

Corporate yoga sessions are organised in most offices, yet not everyone continues with the practice or enjoys the sessions. Often a little planning can go a long way in creating an impact on the wellness of your staff and improving their morale as well.

 

 

21 Apr

Vegan sugar-free gajar halwa

Preparing this dessert is a great work-out for your arms, with all the grating and stirring that it involves. But that does not stop me from making this again and again and again… and I bet you’ll say the same after you make it. So let’s get started.

Ingredients:

Red carrots: 1 kg

Coconut milk : 200ml [or of half coconut]

Cardamom powder : 2 tsp

Almonds, raisins, pistachios, cashews: as much as you like

Dates: 15 – 20

Dry dates or khareek: 10 [soaked in warm water for 30 minutes]

How to:

1] Wash, peel and grate the carrots.

2] Take a thick bottom vessel. Add the grated carrot and saute till the raw taste goes away. You may want to do this on medium heat so that it does not get burnt. Stir occasionally.

3] In the meantime, you can prepare the coconut milk and keep it ready. Grind half of a fresh coconut in the grinder. Add warm water to this. Let it stand for 10 – 15 minutes. Then strain it and you have your coconut milk. You can also save some grated coconut that remains after the milk is extracted and add it to the halwa later.  You can also use ready-to-use coconut milk, but fresh is better of course.

4] Also de-seed and puree the dates adding some water.

5] After the carrot loses enough moisture and reduces in quantity, then add the coconut milk, date paste, cardamom powder, khareek  and dry fruits. You can add the khareek either powdered or chopped. Now the arm work-out begins. To get perfect gajar halwa it’s best to cook this on a low flame and keep stirring. This easily takes about an hour and half.

6] Once the halwa dries up completely, you can add some of the grated coconut that you had saved while extracting coconut milk. And your healthy, guilt-free dessert is ready to be relished.

Tip:

You can adjust the number of dates and khareek as per your taste preference. If the carrots are sweet by themselves you will need to use less of these.