Power Stretch: Corporate Yoga Goes Digital

The fast-growing yoga streaming service Grokker has begun offering online classes to Silicon Valley corporations.

Power suits get traded for spandex as Grokker, a popular subscription-based online streaming service similar to YogaGlo, enters the corporate yoga arena. In recent years, workplace yoga and wellness programs have become increasingly sought after and implemented into corporate environments to maintain employee health, and boost happiness and productivity. The high success rate of office yoga is a testament to its widespread popularity. Employees who stress less make better workers—it's that simple. With the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle at the forefront of our growing list of modern day health concerns like lower back pain, it's important to encourage our diligent worker bees to remember to take a deep breath, get up from the desk, and move their bodies. But now with corporate yoga streaming services, the office space need not a yoga instructor—which is bad news for teachers, because this is one of the most lucrative gigs on the market. According to the New York Post, major Silicon Valley entities like LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Activision Blizzard have already signed up for Gokker's yoga service. The NY Post has more:

“The dirty little secret of corporate gyms is that they’re incredibly underutilized,” says Grokker Chief Executive Lorna Borenstein, who founded the service in 2013.

Borenstein says she’s angling to cut more deals with employers to deliver on-demand yoga, health, meditation and cooking videos to millions of workers.

Corporate clients, meanwhile, want to cut insurance costs by reducing employee stress and obesity, and by speeding recoveries from injury, according to Borenstein.

Why stream yoga at the office over taking class with an instructor? It is not clear if the streaming service is offered to employees as a group, or whether the employee could choose to use the service in private. With many offices laid out as open-air environments, it's hard to picture an employee putting on their headphones and yoga pants and stretching at their desk—though that's certainly never stopped me before. So if the streaming service takes place in say, a conference room adorned by a large flatscreen TV with a group of other employees, does this benefit stress levels and productivity more than a real live instructor? Convenience and accessibility certainly factor in—but just as we enjoy yoga in the comforts of our own home with our laptop, there's still something to be said about the magic of experiencing class at your neighborhood studio with an experienced teacher. Either way, corporate yoga is here to stay—and online streaming or not, this is a good thing for our stressed-out workforce. Maybe next we'll start encouraging employees to actually use all their vacation days? — AndreaRiceNewHeadshotAndrea Rice is the Practice and Community Editor for Wanderlust Media. She is also a writer and yoga teacher. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Yoga Journal, SONIMA, mindbodygreen, and a variety of online publications. Her teaching style is a blend of her love for music and intuitive movement, with emphasis on core strength. You can find her regular classes at shambhala yoga & dance center in Brooklyn, and often as a guest teacher for Deep House Yoga. Connect with Andrea on Instagram and Twitter.