How do you get blue-collar workers to try yoga? Build it and they will come! Or, be a builder and a yoga teacher like 64-year-old Allan Nett and create a specially tailored style. In San Francisco, Mr. Nett a contractor-turned-yoga instructor, developed a yoga-on-the-job program especially for the construction industry, aptly titled Yoga With Your Boots On (and tool belt, apparently).
We hear lots about the corporate world trying on office yoga to improve productivity and help employees relieve stress. What about the folks who literally put stress on their muscles and joints working on a building site?
Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal reports:
Mr. Nett is uniquely qualified to teach yoga to builders because of his experience in the field. He demonstrates techniques you can do “while you’re at work with your tool belt on” without “feeling like it’s a girly thing to do,” says Mr. Bedeur, 53.
The idea is to make yoga more accessible to the tool-toting crowd who wouldn’t normally be coaxed into take a moment to stretch and breathe, let alone take off their boots to do so. Amazingly enough the benefits of a practice, like a calmer mind and healthier body are still there, even without mats and sanskrit!
Mr. Nett’s teaching schedule, which stacked up during the housing boom, has taken a tumble since the bubble burst:
“You can’t justifiably look at your employees’ eyes and say: ‘We have to reduce the staff, but we’re keeping a guy doing yoga for us,’ ” says Peter Weber.
Weber, a supervisor at Central Valley Builders Supply, hired Nett a few years back in hopes that the yoga classes would help reduce the cost of workers’ compensation insurance, and essentially prevent on-the-job injuries. Great! But due to the economy, interest has slacked off bigtime. These days Yogi
Nett is trying to squeeze in some free classes for boot wearers, but you could say trying to convince some construction workers to try yoga is like vinyasa-ing through wet cement.
Sure, we could riff for hours on all the peculiarities of yoga variations, but it truly is unfortunate when the bottom line gets in the way of the plumb line. Er…you know what we mean.
We applaud your efforts Mr. Nett!