It’s not often that we can find a moment of relaxation in the workplace. Between meetings, deadlines, and emails, the workday too-often feels like a rush to the finish line. Jacqui Burge, the founder of Desk Yogi—a site that features fitness and stress reduction videos tailored specifically to office life—has made it her mission to change that.
“I found that when I was at a desk job all day, I just didn’t feel good,” Jacqui says. “I didn’t have the time—because I had high-pressure position—to work out. I just didn’t feel good, and I came home feeling stressed. So I thought, ‘What can I do to make it better?’”
The solution, which would eventually evolve into Desk Yogi as it is today, came naturally to Jacqui. Drawing on her history as a yoga teacher and fitness instructor, Jacqui began teaching yoga at the office to help her team fight the workplace blues. However, time constraints and hectic schedules meant that people weren’t able to show up to classes. In the search for something that people could really integrate into the workday, Jacqui discovered the effectiveness of online classes. She began creating and sharing yoga tutorials online—quick ten-minute sessions that people were easily able to fit into their days—and soon found that her weekly yoga sessions were gaining traction at her workplace.
“In a conversation with an employee at one of our satellite offices, he said, ‘My favorite part of the week is that ten-minute yoga break.’ I guess it was that one conversation,” Jacqui said of her inspiration to start Desk Yogi. “I was surprised he was getting as much out of it as I was. I knew I was getting a lot of joy out of sharing it and that it was making my day better.”
Desk Yogi is a finely-curated enterprise: the site features a host of workout videos designed specifically for those of us working in office environments. Jacqui explains that her team is currently working on closed captioning all of their videos (even testing out captions in other languages) to ensure that people who work in shared work environments can get the full benefits of Desk Yogi. For those who are more shy about bringing movement into their workdays, the site has exercises with a smaller footprint that can get you comfortable moving around your workspace. These titles include more stretching, as well as various stress-reduction techniques.
In addition to helping individuals move and de-stress throughout the workday, Desk Yogi is designed to help teams stay healthy together. This vitality that employees can build through the workday can also extend to vitality in life outside of work.
“I really think that it’s important to have vitality of body, mind, and spirit,” Jacqui explains. “You create a vital foundation by making health a choice: Desk Yogi makes health a choice for employees. When you’re able to make health a choice, people can do it when it fits into their day rather than fitting their day around when it’s offered. You never know when a coworker is going to give you a deadline or ask you to collaborate. The best thing is that it helps you build the habit of taking care of yourself. You’re gonna get home and you’re gonna feel better, so you’re gonna approach life outside of work with more enthusiasm and more vitality, feeling better at the end of the day.”