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Yoga: Yoga Close to Home: Breathing the Gift of Life
These days we hear all about yoga… power yoga, hot yoga, urban yoga, sports yoga, yoga for golfers, tennis players, swimmers, runners, walkers, sleepers, children, seniors, naked yoga; and the list goes endlessly on and on.
If you are a senior and you are just waking up to the realization that you can no longer bend over to tie your shoelace or hook your Velcro, you might also be wondering how you could ever imagine yourself doing this highly popularized craze that dates back to ancient India, or where you might even be able to fit in attempting some of those pretzel-like exercises called Yoga.
I have been doing yoga since I was nineteen and now I am definitely in my fifties. To my amazement in the last ten years, yoga trends have moved from a quiet, hidden, thoughtful approach to stress reduction, using gentle stretches, strengthening exercises and breath awareness, to a very aggressive, highly competitive, aerobic sweat shop that has hit every spa and health club in every town and city in the USA. People curious about yoga are finding it very intimidating to enter an overheated, overcrowded yoga class that is, more like boot camp than what the yogis of India intended in their quest for inner truth and health through a daily yoga practice.
So, how is a seasoned citizen who is curious to experience the benefits that yoga has traditionally promoted and is presently claiming as a national cure-all find a friendly and tangible beginning approach to studying yoga in today’s highly yoga competitive climate?
We always have heard that the teacher is “within” and that the body is the temple. I am encouraging every able bodied person looking for a place to begin yoga to find the most available source of yoga that we have every minute of the day AND THAT IS YOUR BREATH.
The word “respiration” means to inspire again and again from within; in other words bringing spirit back to the body for renewal not just once but over and over again.
Breathing is the true gift of life that we have regardless if we are beggars on the street, Wall Street traders, or yoga masters. No matter if we are aware of it or not. Naturally we take our breathing for granted, that is, until our lung capacity is diminished, until we find that we are easily out of breath doing daily activities, where in the past the same activity would not have even fazed us. The yoga practice of Breathing (known as Pranayama) is simply the means of becoming more aware of your breath and of the magical effects that deep breathing brings to your body, your energy, and to your mind. This simple practice will reveal how deep breathing is the foundation of health as well as the gateway for entering into the beginning stages of practicing the very ancient youth restoring art of yoga.
So many students avoid breathing practice in classes and many teachers fail to teach it because it continues to remain one of the mysterious and subtle teachings of yoga.
There is no mystery in the brea...
Researchers Find Yoga May Be Effective for Chronic Low Back Pain in Minoritty Popluations
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(Boston)– Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center found that yoga may be more effective than standard treatment for reducing chronic low back pain in minority populations. This study appears in the November issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.
Low back pain is common in the United States, resulting in substantial disability and cost to society. Individuals from low-income, minority backgrounds with chronic low back pain (CLBP) may be more affected due to disparities in access to treatment. Although many CLBP patients seek relief from complementary therapies such as yoga, use of these approaches are less common among minorities and individuals with lower incomes or less education.
BUSM researchers recruited adults with CLBP from two community health centers that serve racially diverse, low-income neighborhoods of Boston. They were randomly assigned to either a standardized 12-week series of hatha yoga classes or standard treatment including doctor’s visits and medications.
As part of the trial, the researchers asked participants to report their average pain intensity for the previous week, how their function is limited due to back pain, and how much pain medication they are taking. The yoga group participated in 12 weekly 75-minute classes that included postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. Classes were taught by a team of registered yoga teachers and were limited to eight participants. Home practice for 30 minutes daily was strongly encouraged. Participants were provided with an audio CD of the class, a handbook describing and depicting the exercises, a yoga mat, strap, and block.
Pain scores for the yoga participants decreased by one-third compared to the control group, which decreased by only 5 percent. Whereas pain medication use in the control group did not change, yoga participants’ use of pain medicines decreased by 80 percent. Improvement ...