As researchers continue to study the benefits of yoga for mood disorders and serious mental illness, including schizophrenia, who is the this emerging evidence inviting to Yoga? Yes, people who suffer from these conditions. Therefore, it’s vital that yoga professionals be trained to welcome what may arise in an ordinary yoga class or private session….
LifeForce Yoga (LFY) is making a difference in the lives of veterans suffering from PTSD. In the new program, run by trauma therapist and LifeForce Yoga Trainer Randy Todd, LCSW, MSW LFYP-2, veterans diagnosed with PTSD have been provided the option of participating in a weekly, coed, 90-minute LifeForce Yoga group. Todd introduced the LFY protocol to the…
In this newsletter, we report on important research about the benefits of yoga for schizophrenia. There are also two studies that look at the benefits of yoga for inmates in prison, a review of a new book by Anodea Judith, PhD, and a new yoga curriculum for Jewish children. There is also news about the next residential LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training.
Read about new research on the anti-inflammatory effects of yoga practice and a study about how the brain responds to meditation. We gather the latest studies on yoga and mental health as well as reviews of new books—one beautiful enough to grace your coffee table by master yoga therapist and Ayurvedic clinician Indu Aurora, and another to keep on your bookshelf, especially if you want to work with expressive arts and yoga therapy.
A complete yoga protocol, designed by a yoga therapist, was compared to supportive therapy, and although both eased symptoms of depression, this study shows that yoga actually did a better job. This study is unusal for two reasons. First, the yoga protocol was delivered and practiced during treatment, while most studies look at yoga delivered…
In this issue, we write about a study that attends to the subtler effects of meditation, asking how brain science can answer the question of how detachment and empathy might both be benefits of the practice. We also report on another prenatal yoga study coming from Brown University and Butler Hospital with encouraging news for pregnant women suffering from depression.
Although pranayama breathing has been studied seriously since the early 90’s, this new study, coming out of Pondicherry, may be the first to compare a month of regular slow breathing practice like alternate nostril nadi sodhana to rapid breathing practice like skull shining Kabalabhati, to a control group who did not do pranayama breathing practice for a month….
I am proud to see that LifeForce Yoga Practitioners like Dr. Patricia Kinser at Virginia Commonwealth University and colleagues like Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard University and the International Association of Yoga Therapists are taking the lead in this research, and that my colleagues at Kripalu and elsewhere have developed effective secular yoga protocols for class room settings.
In addition to the research reviewed below, I also love reading and reviewing new books and CDs about yoga and mental health, and it was a thrill to resonate so deeply with Dr. Bessel van der Kolk’s new book, The Body Keeps the Score. LifeForce Yoga Director of Education Rose Kress reviews Dr. Lisa Ferentz’s new trauma survivors’ workbook and a new CD by Jeanne Dillion
Two important studies in this summary of current research on yoga and mental health demand special attention. I’m thrilled to report the outcome of a study that looks at trauma informed yoga as an intervention for treatment-resistant PTSD. I’m also pleased to analyze here why a gentle stretching intervention likely surprised the study authors when it was shown to be more effective than a restorative yoga practice for a group suffering from a metabolic syndrome caused by stress. There’s also a report on a study demonstrating yoga’s effectiveness for pain that indicates actual brain changes, and good news for yoga in the schools.
Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are. You’ve been stony for too many years. Try something different. Surrender. Rumi, from “A Necessary Autumn Inside Each”(5) In the early 80’s, a blind study done in San Francisco General Hospital’s Coronary Care Unit involving 393 heart patients showed that patients who were prayed…
A new study found that laughter can improve short-term memory and recall among older adults. Older adults may have age associated memory deficiencies. However,” the researchers say, positive, enjoyable, and beneficial humor therapies [can] improve these deficiencies.” Researchers at Loma Linda had a test group of healthy adults watch 20 minutes of uninterrupted humorous video….
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“I integrate strategies like mantra tones and pranayama, but above all I invite myself and those I teach to cultivate svadhyaya, to practice self-observation without judgment.” — Barbara Sherman, RYT 200, LFYP, Tucson, AZ
“I began a fantasy during the meditation exercise... almost as if I’d been there. It’s now an on-going work of fiction.” — Serian Strauss, Tanzania
“I learned lots of ways to reduce the anxiety and depression of my patients and myself.” – Aviva Sinvany-Nubel, PhD, APN, CNSC, RN, psychotherapist, Bridgewater, N.J.
“Yoga Skills for Therapists is the ideal resource for those who want to bring yoga practices into psychotherapy or healthcare. Weintraub, a leader in the field of yoga therapy, offers evidence-based, easy-to-introduce strategies for managing anxiety, improving mood, and relieving suffering. Helpful clinical insights and case examples emphasize safety, trust, and skillful adaptation to the individual, making it easy to apply the wisdom of yoga effectively in the therapeutic context.” — Kelly McGonigal, PhD, author, Yoga for Pain Relief, Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Yoga Therapy
“My personal practice will change, as well as my yoga classes. I have a better understanding of yoga!” — Andrea Gattuso, RYT, Yoga Teacher, Hackettstown, N.J.
“My life is already changed! I will use the tools I learned in my own practice and in my work. I feel safe and seen.” — Susan Andrea Weiner, MA, teacher/expressive arts facilitator, El Cerrito, CA.
“This program changed my life in a significant way. It helped me connect with the spirit which is something you can’t get from psychotherapy and medication.” – G. W., artist, Pittsburgh, PA
“I have gained a softer heart, more receptive mind, and tools to enrich both personal and professional aspects of my life.” – Regina Trailweaver, LICSW, clinical social worker, Hancock, VT.
“This workshop has changed so much — my self-image and my life. My own heart’s desire is 100% clear. I gained tools to help myself and others to live life fully.” — Marcia Siegel, Yoga teacher, therapist, Carlsbad, CA.
“I utilize the LFY techniques in both a class room setting and one-on-one environment. The skills have infused my teachings with compassion, mindfulness, and awareness.” — Kat Larsen, CYT, LFYP
“I gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“My patients can now have the same effects as many medications without having to actually take medication!” — Deborah Lubetkin, PSY.D, LFYP, West Caldwell, NJ
“I have found the pranayama (breathing practices) especially easy to introduce in a clinical setting. Some people have benefited quickly in unexpected and transformative ways.” — Liz Brenner, LICSW, LFYP, Watertown, MA
“I came hoping to learn to move past some of the obstacles blocking my creativity. Over the course of this weekend, I feel I’ve gained a certain measure of faith in myself and in my ability to change. I also had some realizations that I believe will be very helpful to me. I feel encouraged. Both the content and presentation of this program were so well-thought out that I can’t think of any way to improve it.” — Andrea Gollin, writer & editor, Miami, FL
“This workshop helped me rededicate my energies and begin to work through some of the blocks I’ve felt creatively.” — Steve Mark, college professor, New Haven, CT
“Giving my clients a strategy and permission to quiet their minds and rebalance the sympathetic nervous system has been very beneficial to them and in our work together.” — Sue Dilsworth, PhD, RYT 200, LFYP, Allendale, MI
“I gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“I have gained an incredible opening and clearing of old obstructions. I hope to return to my life and fill this opening with things I love to do and that give me joy!” — Lisa Shine, administrative assistant, Ballston Lake, NY
“I have found the LFYP training to be incredibly useful in giving people specific tools to use in maintaining physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance, and further opening their intuitive abilities.” — Nancy Windheart, RYT-200, LFYP, Reiki Master, Animal communication teacher, Prescott, AZ
I absolutely love this stuff! I have been using it with my clients and I am just finding it to be so incredibly helpful. There seriously something for everything. Although I am not as skilled as I hope to be someday, even at my level of training I’m finding that I am beginning to figure out what to do. It just blows my mind! - Christine Brudnicki, MS, LPC
“I have been reminded that I am not on this path alone, that others are sharing the journey that sometimes seems so difficult. I have also been reminded of the importance of daily practice and I will do that. The whole program has been an incredible experience for me. Thank you!” — Lorraine Plauth, retired teacher, Voorheesville, NY
“A client who returned said, "When I came before, you helped me understand and get where I wanted to go. Now you show me yoga practices I use to help myself understand and get where I want to go.” — Sherry Rubin, LCSW, BCD, LFYP, Downingtown, PA
“I feel profoundly transformed, both physically and emotionally. The connection between mind, body and spirit was clearly evident to me, but revealed to me through this workshop as an integrally vital link to overall health.” — Nadine Richardson, program manager at rehab agency, Monroe, CT