Yoga takes centrestage....again!
Only yesterday I was once again extolling the benefits of yoga to a good friend struggling with sleeping issues, headaches and an overall aching body. In her heart she already knew that yoga was what was needed, as numerous other friends and her physiotherapist had told her likewise, but she was struggling with just getting started.
As regular readers will know, the older I get the more important yoga has become to me. There’s something really powerful and grounding about yoga that I haven’t found with anything else and I know with regular practice my body thrives, both physically and emotionally. I sleep sounder too (and heaps of research backs this up) - that in itself is a real bonus as we grow older!
Effectiveness of yoga in treating major depression
And now, further evidence (not that I needed it!) supporting the power of this ancient philosophy, with a new study from the US (the largest on yoga and depression to date) investigating the link between hatha yoga and depression. The research, published in the medical journal Psychological Medicine, found that hatha yoga's breathing exercises can alter hormone levels in the body, and in turn lower levels of stress and anxiety.
Scientists ran tests on two groups of people, all of whom were taking anti-depressants – one group who took weekly health-education classes, the other did weekly yoga. While the researchers found little difference between the groups after 10 weeks, there was a notable difference after six months, with yoga being far superior to health education in alleviating symptoms of depression. So, when you do take the yoga challenge, please don't give up after one bad class - it takes time for longterm benefits to be realised.
As I wrote recently (here), the key to great practice is the teacher. And that's not necessarily the one with thousands of likes on their Instagram or Facebook accounts, as some of the best teachers don't even use social media. They don't need to! it's really that feeling and connection you feel when you practice under the guidance of a trusted expert. Rest assured - you too will feel it when you have found your special teacher (if you haven't already) but please shop around until you do.
I don't believe any further convincing is necessary.....
....see you on the mat