As fitness and yoga classes start to reopen we came across this interesting article from the Centers for Disease Control. In the yoga group, no students caught Covid-19, even though their instructor was infected. Other factors may be relevant, and the study isn't definitive, but it does suggest that low intensity yoga is relatively low risk, compared to vigorous group exercises in a confined space. This is reassuring news.
New research indicates that yoga and medication provides significantly better relief for migraine sufferers than medication alone. In this study, the people who participated in yoga had a mix of taught classes and practice at home, and the yoga practice included asanas (physical yoga), breathing, and relaxation. One of the study authors noted that:
"the benefit was significantly higher in the yoga group in all areas, including headache frequency, pain, pain intensity, use of medications, and how much migraine interfered with the daily personal life or professional life,"
There is increasing evidence that yoga may help with depression. In a recent study, discussed on Medscape, it was noted that:
"Yoga appears to improve mood through increased activity of an amino acid neurotransmitter known to influence mood, anxiety, and sleep"
The type of yoga practice explored for this study was a traditional one that combined physical asanas, breathing (pranayama), and relaxation practices. One class per week with shorter home sessions were used.
The lead investigator was Chris Streeter, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts who stated that:
"I think clinicians should consider this as a kind of a 'whole package. It shouldn't be just 'take the pill,' it should be 'take the pill and do some type of stress reduction,' and yoga is certainly acceptable," in terms of doing stress reduction.
Depression is serious. Consulting with your medical doctor is recommended, however, yoga may have an important role to play as part of the package of care.
Please note that we are yoga professionals and not doctors.
If you are reading this, your brain waves are in the beta state. Most meditation involves slowing down the alpha brain waves. This usually produces a relaxed mental state and, over time, a greater ability to not be dominated by our thoughts. Very experienced meditators may reach brain waves at the gamma level.
Yoga Nidra is a super charged form of guided meditation. It takes you from the beta state through the theta, alpha, and delta brain wave states. At the delta level, you should not be asleep, but in a state of deep calm and relaxation. Yoga practitioners often say that 1/2 an hour of Yoga Nidra is the same as about two hours of actual sleep. Not only can it help you to sleep better, once the Yoga Nidra session is finished, you are likely to feel a deep sense of calm at the same time as feeling refreshed.
Please ask if you have any questions about meditation or Yoga Nidra, or send a message.
In an interesting article, Dr Howard Luks discusses the necessity for exercise, especially for older adults. The loss of muscle, and balance, are factors that can increase the risk of serious falls for seniors. If the fall leads to a broken hip, this may accelerate ageing and the loss of independence.
An exercise programme can include aerobic exercise, resistance training, balance training, breath work, and mobility exercises. A properly designed yoga session can provide some or all of these elements at a level that suits the person, their current level of fitness, and any existing disabilities or illnesses. Chair yoga, and adapted asana poses, are commonly used for older people.
Please note that we are not doctors and we recommend that you take medical advice before beginning a new exercise programme.
A recent study from the University of Edinburgh shows how beneficial yoga is for older adults.
Older adults who practise yoga are more likely to be fitter, happier and healthier than those who do not, according to a review of the scientific evidence.
Even if you're an older adult who has never practised yoga before, it's never too late to start. Yoga is likely to improve your physical and mental health as long as it is at the right level for you.
We're looking forward to hosting a one day Wellness Retreat on the 29th of June. Everyone will receive a goody bag.
The lovely people at Weleda have kindly donated some goodies for the bag. Weleda started in 1921, with its own medicinal plant garden, and is today a world-leading manufacturer of holistic natural skin care as well as natural medicines. Thanks Weleda. Why not join us? We still have some tickets available.
We've released our timetable of classes and events from late July to late September. Classes include: Complete beginners on Mondays (6:00 - 7:30pm), Seniors on Wednesdays (1:00 -2:00 pm) and Beginner to Intermediate Levels of Yoga (6:00-7:00 pm), Fast paced weight loss yoga on Saturdays from 9 - 10 am and Restorative Yoga and Meditation from 10:30-11:30 am. We also have our stop smoking in under two hours hypnotherapy session, short courses on managing stress and on developing a healthy body image through yoga and hypnosis. Spaces are limited so early booking is recommended. Please book through our Facebook or Event Brite pages.
Salute to the Sun is a perfect routine that most people can manage if they are shown how to do it correctly. If you have any physical limitations there are easier variants that may be suitable.
Each round has 12 poses (or asanas) and it is usual to do an even number of rounds so that both sides of your body get the same benefits. If you do 12 rounds you will have done 288 poses which is a great result. If done slowly, Salute to the Sun can be used as a form of meditation, if done fast it can be a workout that is hard to beat.
Salute to the Sun is a full body workout, from top to toe, which also has breathing, balance, stretching, core, strength and spinal benefits. Not only that, it burns more calories than other workouts. Calories burned by a 30 minute workout are shown below:
Weightlifting = 120 calories
Back pain is a common issue. In a recent report, military veterans reduced their use of pain killers, and reported less fatigue and better functioning, after a programme of yoga classes.
Yoga and hypnotherapy are different but there is an area of overlap. It has been found that hypnotherapy can also reduce back pain and the need for pain medication. In a recent study it was noted that:
It is concluded that hypnosis may be utilized maximally as an important adjunct to other therapeutic methods in the treatment of low back pain.
If you have chronic pain, appropriate, carefully managed yoga and/or hypnotherapy could make a difference. Please note that we are not doctors but we do work with people with chronic pain.
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