Apr. 04, 2019

Sumisho Machinery Trade Corporation Holds Chair Yoga Event for Employees

On March 18, 2019, Sumisho Machinery Trade Corporation (SMT) held a chair yoga event for employees. Yoga breathing is said to be good for regulating the autonomic nervous system, and one of the merits of “chair” yoga, which is practiced while sitting in or otherwise using a chair, is that it enables people to take action anytime, anywhere to benefit both their mind and body.

SMT has offered chair yoga sessions for employees since January 2019. Held daily from 15:00 at the company’s office, the yoga sessions, which last about ten minutes, are enjoyed by a large number of employees, and aim to promote mental and physical health, as well as communication.

The sessions are normally conducted in front of a screened yoga lesson video. But for this special event, in which nearly 70 SMT staff members participated, yoga instructor Ms. Romi Kawai was invited to lead the session.

The chair yoga program is part of SMT’s initiative for health and productivity management to make its workplace environment conducive to employee health. This also includes encouraging employees to take paid leave and reduce overtime, and introducing height-adjustable standing desks for its new office where the company moved into in October 2018.

“The Sumitomo Corporation Group values employee health above all in order to elicit the best possible performance from each and every employee, and thereby continuously generate new value,” says Wakahara, a member of Corporate Planning & Coordination Dept of SMT, who was responsible for planning and organizing the chair yoga event. “Guided by this group policy, SMT looks forward to implementing more programs for creating a workplace where workers can stay mentally and physically fit, motivated and upbeat. Chair yoga can not only improve the way we work by improving our health, refreshing our minds, and bringing a welcome change of pace to our work, but is also expected to improve camaraderie within the company by encouraging communication among staff from different departments.”

Yoga instructor Ms. Romi Kawai. “The program is a product of research into applying yoga to wheelchair sports. I hope chair yoga will encourage more men, as well as women, to try yoga.”
The first part of the session focused on poses performed while seated on a chair.
The second part of the session introduced more action, such as standing postures, and postures for improving core stability.
Participants were instructed to consciously let their minds and bodies unwind while taking deep breaths. It is said that five minutes of the yogic pose savasana (“corpse pose”) is as relaxing as two hours of sleep.
Height-adjustable desks were introduced to the new office that the company moved to in October 2018. Employees can either stand or be seated to use.