RESEARCH: FIBROMYALGIA AND YOGA
Researchers at OregonHealth & Science University in Portland found that Yoga that includes gentle stretches and meditation may help alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Twenty-five women diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome, were enrolled in a two-hour yoga class that met once a week for eight weeks. The Yoga class included meditation and pranayama breathing techniques. The Yoga group was encouraged to practice st home with a DVD. Another group of 28 women diagnosed with the condition were put on a waiting list and told to continue their normal routine for dealing with fibromyalgia. After eight weeks, the yoga group reported improvements in both physical and psychological aspects of fibromyalgia, including decreased pain, fatigue, tenderness, anxiety and better sleep and mood.
Lead study author James Carson, a clinical psychologist and pain specialist said, “They came back after the first week reporting less pain, better sleep and feeling encouraged for the first time in years. That type of change continued to build over the course of the program.
The study is in the November print issue of the journal Pain.
RESEARCH: PRENATAL YOGA FOR DEPRESSION
Brown University and Butler Hospital researchers in Providence, Rhode Island found that there is a high level of interest in taking prenatal yoga classes amongst a widely diverse cross-section (racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic) of pregnant women suffering from depression, as a way of managing their symptoms. Even among those who had never experienced a yoga class, 88% said they would like to try it. According to the authors survey of research, complementary therapies such as yoga are appealing because “they are often perceived as being more natural, less stigmatizing, and less likely to have unfavorable side effects.” Even if encouraged by their doctors, most pregnant women, according to a recent study quoted by the authors, “reported they would not take antidepressants.”
The authors intend to develop yoga-based interventions for child-bearing women with psychiatric disorders, so they first wanted to determine the level of acceptance to yoga-based treatment. Of the 250 pregnant and postpartum women who completed the survey, a relatively large proportion, 83 percent (n = 207), reported interest in trying prenatal yoga. Among the 65 women seeking care specifically for antenatal depression (postpartum), 57 (88%) expressed interest.
The findings were reported in the December, 2010 issue of Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care
The authors have two other yoga research papers published this year. We reported on this one last month: “Open Trial of Vinyasa Yoga for Persistently Depressed Individuals: Evidence of Feasibility and Acceptability” in the journal Behavior Modification. The online version of this article can be found at: http://bmo.sagepub.com/content/34/3/247
Earlier in the year, the authors, led by Lisa Uebelacker, PhD. published an excellent review of the literature on yoga as a treatment for depression: “Hatha Yoga for Depression: Critical Review of the Evidence for Efficacy, Plausible Mechanisms of Action, and Directions for Future Research.” The article appeared in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice Vol. 16, No. 1
REVIEW: Bring on the Joy by Jen Yost
Bring on the JoyJen Yost writes in the voice of your favorite yoga teacher or the best friend you wish you’d always had. Her narrative is compassionate, lively, humorous, and oh so understanding of whatever blocks your joy.
The interactive and inspiring exercises in Bring on the Joy! will do just that. In under 100 pages, Jen provides movment, meditaton, breathing, and self-care excercises that nourish the best in yourself and in your life. If you’re a teacher or presenter, there are ideas here that will integrate well into stress management, yoga and other holistic workshops. Not only is Jen’s voice clear, but she includes the voices of her favorite writers. There are inspiring poems and aphorisms from Meister Eckhart, Mother Theresa, Rumi, Cheri Huber, Goethe, Hafiz, Einstein, and many other writers.
REVIEW: Already Home: Stories of a Seeker by Aruni Nan Futuronsky
Is recovery from a challenging childhood, a sense of self-loathing and self-medication with drugs and alcohol possible? Futuronsky provides not only the answer–a resounding YES– but also a map to take us there. Through her own deeply personal journey, we learn that coming home to a sense of wholeness, without drugs or bitterness, is indeed possible for us all.
On the way to self-awareness, Futuronsky takes the reader through some painful and humiliating events. As she struggles to see through the fog of uncertainty about her place in the world, and her identity and sexual orientation within it, the scenes are intimate and revealing. Her coming out as a lesbian does not protect her from the difficult relationships that are fueled by addiction. There are lessons for all of us as we follow her through recovery, her move to Kripalu, her settling into a lasting and loving relationship and her emergence as a teacher and healer.
MEDIA MENTION: Stories from the Yogic Heart, edited by Lisa Cherry
Sangha (community) is at the heart of of Yoga. The people with whom we connect keep us moving forward on the path. If the connection is deep and strong with another, our relationship to Self is also deepened. This book is a collection of stories from a global sangha of individuals about Yoga’s touch and the resulting transformation in their lives. Within these pages, you will find stories that speak to you about your own life and support you on your journey.
This compilation features personal stories by Mariel Hemingway, Russell Simmons, Sting, Sonny Rollins, Amy Weintraub, Sharon Gannon, Danny Paradise, and many more.