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Yoga is good for your back
Have you ever said, “I have a bad back”?
Has back pain ever interfered with your life? Welcome to the vast majority of the adult population.
Now here’s the big question: Is back discomfort such a common occurrence that you’ve simply resigned yourself to living with it?
In a British study dating from 1984, 2,700 people between the ages of 30 and 60 practiced yoga for two hours a week for a minimum of one year.
Various conditions were studied, ranging from anxiety to migraines.
Of the 2,700 participants, 1,142 reported back disorders of some kind. Of those, 98 per cent experienced an improvement in their condition. (Source: Yoga as Medicine, by Timothy McCall, M.D.)
If your doctor were to recommend a drug that had a 98 per cent success rate in helping your back pain, I’m guessing you’d be willing to try it.
Perhaps you haven’t tried yoga for your back pain because you have a perception that yoga is only for young, strong, athletic people with lots of flexibility (it’s not).
Or maybe you’re hesitant because you think it might interfere with your religious beliefs. (Although yoga does have a spiritual aspect, it’s practiced by people of all faiths.)
The right kind of yoga can be a profound addition to whatever you’re already doing to care for your back. Look for a “Yoga for Backs” class, or sign up for some private classes with a yoga therapist.
You’ll learn specific positions or movements to help return your back to normal functioning; you’ll discover how to breathe properly and you’ll be fully supported in learning to relax – a powerful step toward healing. (If you have a severe back condition, please check with your physician to ensure yoga therapy is appropriate for you.)
Don’t settle for living in pain. The right kind of yoga can help.
Catherine Reid is a Registered Yoga Teacher, offering a variety of classes in the Comox Valley. To experience the rich health benefits of yoga, call 250-898-8414 or visit www.catherinereid.ca
Want to try yoga? Sign up for the BCS Enrichment Program. All classes are filled for the spring 2014. Check back for the May schedule or join us anytime at the studio. Click here for the calender to find a time and class that fits you. Click on the class on the calendar to see the description. Questions call 701-255-8499.
Exercise has long been hailed as an elixir for the brain, to boost your mood, improve learning, and ward off memory loss. But yoga may be even better.
Just in time for the return of Lululemon’s yoga pants—which thankfully are no longer see-through—new research published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health suggests that yoga practice temporarily boosts memory and focus more than jogging. A small study involving 30 female college students, who weren’t regular practitioners of yoga, found that they performed better on cognitive tests after performing yoga for 20 minutes as compared to when they jogged on a treadmill just before taking the tests.
How to explain the difference?
“While practicing yoga, you are focused on your breath and mindfully aware of your postures,” said study author Neha Gothe, an exercise psychologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “These mental exercises seem to affect the way you think and focus outside of yoga practice. The practice also reduces anxiety and stress, and that in itself can lead to better cognitive performance.”
The mental performance boost lasted 30 to 40 minutes after the yoga session, but more research is needed to determine whether regular yoga practice leads to more sustained brain benefits in terms of learning, memory, and focus.
On the other hand, the researchers didn’t see much cognitive boost at all from aerobic exercise compared to cognitive tests taken before the exercise sessions.
Gothe told me she was surprised to see that aerobic exercise didn’t offer these benefits—which is in contrast to other study findings. “The cognitive tests we used are a little different from the ones used in other aerobic exercise studies that have shown positive effects,” she said. Previous research examined effects on brain function several hours—rather than a few minutes –after exercise, which could have made a difference.
Yoga may have a more “immediate” effect, Gothe speculated, whereas aerobic exercise may have more of a “delayed” effect. Also participants in some previous exercise studies were very physically fit, which could indicate that regular exercise confers cognitive benefits over time.
Getting 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular exercise—running, walking, biking, swimming—is still key for good health, Gothe emphasized. But from this particular study, she added, “it appears that doing yoga before an exam, an interview or big presentation might help you perform better!”
By Deborah Kotz / Globe Staff Daily Dose 06/12/2013 | 5:03 PM
On this page each week I will add new information about the benefits of yoga and meditation. Starting in March 2014 Adam will guide you in meditation every Monday evening at 7:00 – 8:00. Click here to read about the benefits of meditation.