CORPORATE WELLNESS PROGRAMS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are your certifications and experience?
Melissa has been instructing yoga and meditation since January 2010. Her teaching certifications for Yoga as well as Meditation are from Downward Dog Yoga Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Additionally, she has certifications for Mat Pilates and Pre/Post Natal from Equinox. Find out more.
Melissa has taught children to seniors and all levels of ability. She has instructed in hospitals, schools, offices, studios/gyms, private homes as well as for outdoor public events.
In August 2020, Melissa began teaching virtually on Zoom, and has used, Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet to facilitate the office yoga or meditations.
When is the best time to practice?
The best time to practice is when you can make the time! Having class during the workday means staff are more likely to be available. It is best to poll your employees for ideal times based on their schedule. Other organizations find around lunchtime or mid-afternoon, when energy is down, are good times to change gears and come back refreshed.
How long until it we see results?
A corporate wellness program really shines over time. In the same way going to the gym once doesn’t build a dream body, the benefits of fewer aches and pains, less stress and a more balanced day requires coming to class repeatedly. Lasting change is gradual but frequency and consistency will reward those who participate. Enjoying and accepting the journey of yoga or meditation is really where transformation is realized.
Is this program flexible: Can we switch from yoga to meditation or dates and times?
Yes! Having a corporate wellness program that best fits your needs is critical to success. We will adjust accordingly to find the right activity, level and schedule as well as encourage lots of feedback to ensure everyone is happy. Having a consistent class type, date and time will get the best participation and avoid confusion.
What is the best class to take?
Ask your staff. Preference might be based on their current activities or interests. Some suggestions:
For people working on their feet, doing physically demanding jobs or are customer/client facing: they might benefit from more quiet introspection with meditation.
For people sitting all day or feeling they don’t get time to be active: a yoga based movement class can help balance their day.
For the most complete experience, consider movement and meditation on alternating days or having a movement class end with some mindfulness.
What is the minimum/maximum number of participants needed to run a class?
There is no minimum or maximum attendance required for virtual classes. For in person sessions, maximum attendance might depend on what will be required to set the venue or facilitate the amount of people.
How can I support my employees’ success with this program?
Providing wellness services is already a huge step to improving employee health. Here are some ideas:
Inspire people to take part by promoting the sessions, sending reminders and having leaders attend.
Facilitate in person classes with a space set up and ready to go.
Provide equipment or refreshment to make it special.
Encourage participation with contests or incentives for employees to complete a certain amount of sessions.
What are methods of payment?
Credit or bank cards through Square, e-transfer or cheques are accepted. Invoice frequency, prepayment etc is based on program chosen coordinating with HR/Social Committee and Accounting Dept.
What is your cancellation and refund policy?
Class cancellation with minimum 24hrs notice to reschedule for a future date. No refunds. Read more about terms.
What is the Movement class offered for corporate wellness programs?
The Movement class can be tailored to the preferences of those who attend. Generally, in larger organizations, a mixed crowd with several beginners means the emphasis is on accessible yoga and mobility exercises to counter long hours sitting and computer fatigue.
Who can participate: What level is the yoga? Do you have to be flexible? Will it interfere with other sport training?
Everyone is welcome. The classes are “all level” which means cues and demonstration will be given to show less and more challenging options. Movement is also taught progressively so participants will be prepared to go deeper if they choose, or know what to repeat if not. Please let Melissa know in advance if you are pregnant, have painful injury or special conditions so she may give you specific instruction as needed. Anyone unsure should consult with their medical professional.
You do not have to be flexible. In fact, the more challenging you find it, the more you have to benefit! It is a myth that yoga requires flexibility or makes you flexible. Flexibility is a genetic trait of passive range of motion. We will be working on mobility, which is controlling our joints through our own comfortable range of motion.
These Movement classes will not interfere with other physical training. They may enhance your performance as you become more active and improve body awareness and increase joint mobility.
Do we need equipment or have to change clothing?
A yoga mat is recommended and a set of yoga blocks are nice to have, however neither are necessary. Yoga mats are clean padded surfaces that prevent slipping but feel free to experiment with a rug/towel, or non slip socks/gloves. Yoga blocks are very useful as they can make many poses much more accessible. If the class is a Chair Yoga class, there is no need for a mat and any stable, standard size chair without arms is fine.
You do not have to change clothing, however breathable clothing that is either loose, or fitted and stretchy, allows ease of movement and comfort. If you are doing Chair Yoga or the class has been specified to be less intense, workout clothing is less critical.
For virtual classes, a reliable internet connection and device to hear and view the class, is needed. You do not need a webcam and can be off camera if desired.
How much space is required to practice?
At minimum, a space the size of a standard yoga mat (68 inches long and 24 inches wide) is needed. Fortunately, this can fit in even the smallest of Toronto condos! If available, an extra 12 inches around the perimeter of the mat, is nice to have. For chair yoga, try to allow the twice the depth of the chair and three times the width of the chair.
What if employees are shy?
Like all new experiences there can be initial feelings of hesitation. Melissa emphasizes equality in class, despite professional hierarchies and recognizes the vulnerability in changing that dynamic. The beauty of participating in classes together is breaking down barriers to see people for more than their title. We all feel self conscious about our appearance, abilities and home environments. Learning to accept that, helps others and ourselves feel less judged. For virtual classes, being camera off is always an option.
Is yoga dangerous? Can people get injured?
All life activities pose some risk, however if participants are listening to instructions and respectful of their body’s cues (from pain, injury history etc.), to take rest or modify a pose, the risk of injury is very low. Melissa will often cue where sensations may occur, and questions before or after class are always welcome. For particular cases, it can be wise to consult a medical practitioner before beginning any physical activity.
Is this yoga spiritual?
The classes are not spiritual. The focus is on physical mechanisms and sensations, which may include instructing energetic direction to guide an action. You may begin to feel a deeper mind body connection as you build and strengthen synapses in the brain.
Will we be asked to do anything embarrassing like dancing or keeping rhythm?
Yoga flows can appear fluid but they are merely transitions between movements. At times you may be in shapes you may not be used to. Taking a rest pose at any time is encouraged, and if someone prefers to sit out a pose for any reason, that choice is encouraged.
The virtual classes only have music during rest. If there is music during an in person class, it it for ambiance - not to keep time or rhythm.
Is there strict yoga etiquette? Can people pop in and out of class if they have meetings etc.?
The only etiquette is to be respectful of others, whether that’s muting to reduce noise during a virtual session, or positioning yourself to allow everyone space for in person. Corporate classes are often squeezed into busy workdays so while it’s appreciated to be on time and stay the full duration, coming late and leaving early is understandable and acceptable. Making time, even if it’s a little time, is great.
What is your Meditation class for Corporate Wellness?
These classes build self-awareness, examine behavioural patterns, teach breathing exercises and practice mindfulness based therapy. We cover topics such as stress, focus, goal setting, compassion, emotional regulation and relaxation.
Do we need equipment or have to change clothing?
A comfortable place to sit, like a chair or cushion is ideal, however you are welcome to lie down or stand.
Clothing does not need to be changed however consider wearing something that does not distract you (needing adjustment or is uncomfortable).
For virtual sessions you will need a device where you can hear the class. Video is not necessary if unavailable.
Is meditation faith based? Will it conflict with my employees’ beliefs?
The Meditation offered is not faith based and does not seek to challenge religious beliefs. The practices could be a blend of sensory exercises, Mindful Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Buddhist stories or ideas (philosophical oppose to religious), affirmations, visualizations or contemplations.
How will we stay still or be quiet for so long? What if we find it boring?
Being still or quiet facilitates concentration, relaxation and eventually mental discipline, however the goal of meditation is not to be still or quiet. It is advisable to attend to physical needs or discomfort as needed as distraction makes meditation more difficult.
Boredom is natural. Dealing with it is actually a part of the practice. Generally exercises run 5-15 min before there is a break or you’re onto the next one. Boredom tends to dissipate with practice as one discovers the richness of self discovery.
Will this make employees emotional?
Employees can become emotional depending on what they choose to meditate on. If an exercise is potentially triggering, Melissa will ask participants to choose a subject that ranks between 3/10 to 5/10 in intensity. Being camera off for virtual sessions is always an option but developing openness with emotion is encouraged.
For those who have experienced trauma or live with strong mental health issues, it would be advisable to consult your medical professional before beginning any mindfulness or meditation program.
Will we be asked to do anything embarrassing like chanting?
If there is mantra work during these sessions, the mantras are said in the head or under the breath. The purpose of mantra is to begin to feel a statement more fully or create energy through vibration of sound. In virtual sessions, participants are on mute unless they need to communicate.