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…
Research on Yoga as the BEST mood booster for cancer patients, and reviews of three Yoga Therapy books with chapters by Amy Weintraub
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….
Two recently published articles reveal that yoga is beneficial for insomnia in both pre and post menopausal women. The first study, documented in the Journal of Clinical Oncology revealed the benefits of yoga on cancer survivors. Practicing yoga helped participants who have had cancer sleep better and reduce their use of sleep aids. Researchers from…
The foundation of LifeForce Yoga is the cultivation of compassion and self-awareness. Much of what we teach in LifeForce Yoga, on and off the mat, is about learning to observe whatever is arising without judgment. The development of the observing, compassionate mind, helps us self-regulate and we find that we are less reactive to life’s…
Years ago, while teaching weekly yoga classes at the Juvenile Detention Center in Tucson, there seemed to be so much mood improvement that we conducted a study that was published in an early International Association of Yoga Therapists publication. Now, a large trial in the United Kingdom has shown that yoga can improve mood and…