Why is it that Yoga and seems to be proliferating everywhere these days? Empirical studies indicate that there are a multitude of reasons. Yoga not only gets you moving, it gets you to slow your mind down and focus on your breath, which is soothing to the nervous system. Academic Journals abound with research on the subject. Yoga has been shown to have positive effects on stress, weight loss, cross training, depression, burn out, anxiety, heart disease, chronic pain, cancer survivors and the list goes on. The ancient practice has long laid claim to supporting health and wellbeing but now we have ways of measuring these assertions (Adhia, Nagendra, & Mahadevan, 2010) (Holger, Romy, Gustav, & Anna, 2013) (Sarvottam & Yadav, 2012) (Schure, 2008) (Taspinar, Aslan, Agbuga, & Taspinar, 2014).
That being said, not all yoga is taught in the same manner. Years of experience, training and certification are all things you should inquire about. There are many different styles of yoga: restorative yoga, mindful yoga, yoga therapy, power yoga, yoga for stiff bodies, yoga for weight loss to name a few. To find the yoga that is right for you, describe your general state of health and needs to an experienced yoga instructor and they will be able to direct you a suitable teacher or class. If you go to a class and it does not suit you know that there are lots of options.
Many people come to yoga because it is a healthy way to get in shape in a noncompetitive environment and what they get is that and more. When I had my kids my time got way more limited. I had to get my fitness in much more efficiently. Yoga became my modality of choice because I could get my body, mind and spirit tuned up in one session. I needed to move but I also needed the soothing of my nervous system that came with each class. With my spirit lifted I was infused with hope that yes, I could do all I had undertaken. In time I realized that the transformative mind and spirit aspect of yoga was what drew me deeper and deeper in. After years of study and practice, Yoga is my bedrock. It restores my body, strengthens my connection with the goodness of life and those around me and slows me down enough to function more effectively in life.
But don’t believe me; see what the empirical research has brought to light. In study after study yoga has shown to have a noticeable to significant effect on helping people reframe their lives to deal with disease, pain, stress, burnout as well as making them more receptive to learning and growing beyond what before seemed to be huge hurdles.
Author: Mary Cain – Yoga Instructor, Massage Therapist, MA Psychology
Sarvottam, K., & Yadav, R. (2014). Obesity-related inflammation & cardiovascular disease: Efficacy of a yoga-based lifestyle intervention. Indian Journal Of Medical Research, 139(6), 822-834.
Holger, C., Romy, L., Jost, L., Gustav, D., & Anna, P. (2013). Quality of Life and Mental Health in Patients with Chronic Diseases Who Regularly Practice Yoga and Those Who Do Not: A Case-Control Study. Evidence-Based Complementary And Alternative Medicine, doi:10.1155/2013/702914
Taspinar, B., Aslan, U., Agbuga, B., & Taspinar, F. (2014). A comparison of the effects of hatha yoga and resistance exercise on mental health and well-being in sedentary adults: A pilot study. Complementary Therapies In Medicine, 22(3), 433-440. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2014.03.007
Adhia, H., Nagendra, H. R., & Mahadevan, B. B. (2010). Impact of Adoption of Yoga Way of Life on the Reduction of Job Burnout of Managers. Vikalpa: The Journal For Decision Makers, 35(2), 21-33.
Schure, M. (2008). Mind-Body Medicine and the Art of Self-Care: Teaching Mindfulness to Counseling Students Through Yoga, Meditation, and Qigong. Journal Of Counseling & Development, 86(1),