"When you make an investment in wellness and prevention, you shouldn't expect an immediate return." Steven Lipstein, President BJC Healthcare, a major St. Louis hospital system.
The above comment was a response to the results of a recent study that evaluated the return on investment BJC Healthcare, a large hospital system, gained from investment in employee wellnesss programs. Independent researchers assessed the effectivneness of the programs and reportedly found mixed results. Although the system's hospitalizations for six major conditions for its participating employees and their families plummeted by 41 percent, these savings were offset by increased expenditures on outpatient costs.
However, the final "verdict" has yet to be determined, in my view. And,I agree with Mr. Lipstein.
Although the wellness programs launched by BJC Healthcare begin in 2005, they were tracked only for 2 years. Granted, people can substantially improve their health in a 2-year period if they engage in regular healthy exercise and eating habits. However, for companies to make definitive conclusions about the programs' effectiveness in saving on healthcare costs, a longer time frame is needed.
Health conditions like chronic heart disease, cancer, and other serious conditions take years to develop. Likewise, it may take more than a couple of years to see dramatic, long-term improvements in health resulting from wellness programs. Corporations need to transcend the historical short-term mentality that measures changes based on quarter-year terms and focus on results seen in 5 and even 10-year periods.
As author Darren Hardy says in The Compound Effect, an inspiring book about the value of small, incremental steps taken daily, "In order for the compound effect to work, you need to be patient. Most of these daily changes won’t provide immediate results. If you reduce your calories by 150 today, you won’t see a difference today or even this week. The same is true with working out. You can go bust your butt at the gym and you won’t see results today or this week. These daily disciplines must be given time to produce results."
And, you should apply the same approach to your home yoga practice, especially if you are a beginner! That is my point in sharing this story.
I have reaped enormous benefits from yoga because I practice it day and day out and as Hardy says, "it's the daily practice over time that reaps profound results." If you have exercised little in 5 or more years, your ability to stretch and bend your body into even the simplest yoga poses will likely be limited. And, it may take you weeks or even months before you notice any discernible increases in your energy, flexibility, and serenity.
But, patience is the answer! Just continue doing as much as you can daily and eventually your body is going to respond. Be present in the moment as you practice. Don't look anxiously for results. Just do and trust and- "rinse and repeat daily." You will see wonderful results over time - I can virtually guarantee it.
Laura Venecia Rodriguez, the Beginner's Yoga at Home Coach