New Study Shows Yoga Has Healing Power
Now, in the largest study of yoga that used biological measures to assess results, it seems that those meditative sun salutations and downward dog poses can reduce inflammation, the body’s way of reacting to injury or irritation.
That’s important because inflammation is associated with chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. It’s also one of the reasons that cancer survivors commonly feel fatigue for months, even years, following treatment.
Researchers looked at 200 breast cancer survivors who had not practiced yoga before. Half the group continued to ignore yoga, while the other half received twice-weekly, 90-minute classes for 12 weeks, with take-home DVDs and encouragement to practice at home.
According to the study, which was led by Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University, and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the group that had practiced yoga reported less fatigue and higher levels of vitality three months after treatment had ended.
Yoga and Brain Chemistry
Yogis have known for centuries that a yoga practice makes us feel calm and centred. But science is finally catching up with what we’ve all experienced on the mat and the cushion: yoga changes our brain chemistry, which in turn helps improve mood and decrease anxiety.
A new study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine reports that yoga triggers the release of the brain chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity.
The findings establish a new link between yoga, higher levels of GABA, and improved mood, and a Tool to help people struggling with anxiety and depression.
The Science behind yoga and stress
There are two functional parts of the brain that play a key role in stress. These serve the functions of emotion and cognitive function. So I am calling them the ’emotional’ brain (amygdala and its connections and medial forebrain structures including the medial prefrontal cortex) and the ‘logical’ brain (the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, other parts of the prefrontal cortex, parts of the cingulate cortex and parts of the hippocampus).
The emotional brain is able to initiate a ‘stress response’ via the sympathetic nervous system which culminates in adrenaline and cortisol racing through our circulation.The logical brain is always trying to ‘turn-off’ this stress response and it is also trying to restrain the emotional brain. The stronger our logical brain, the better it becomes at doing these two things. When the stress response is ‘turned off’, our parasympathetic nervous system signal is ‘turned on’. This signal ‘relaxes’ the body. So a strong logical brain goes hand in hand with relaxation.
The stress response and ‘relaxing’ signals travel through the body along a particular route and parts of this route have little ‘switches’ which we can physically manipulate to turn the signals on or off. The neck is an example of where such switches are located (by the carotid arteries).
Classes are designed for mixed-level groups. Every-body can do yoga. No previous experience is necessary. We encourage you to be an individual in your yoga practice; listen to your body and intuition for guidance. Use your teacher as a witness, there to guide you along your way to a healthier and happier body and mind. Variations on the yoga postures will be given to meet any specific needs. Group lessons are £10/session.
One-on-one at Work
Private lessons are a great way to focus on your individual needs. Support your own personal yoga practice, and get all the attention of your teacher. Especially recommended for those recovering from a serious injury. One to one lessons are £30/session.
Yoga and Insomnia
Because insomnia is a habitual pattern, you can change the pattern. Insomnia is not a illness, but a set of conditions that you can manage. In this workshop, you will learn healthy tips and yoga techniques to help you find quietude when preparing for sleep or when trying to fall back to sleep if you have awaken in the night.
Team Building Sessions
What better way to get to know your co-workers than by bending into unfamiliar places together, by seeing their strengths in a relaxed setting. Support each other while trying to touch your toes, releasing into a state of humility. Team building sessions can take place before or after a meeting, or during a conference as a contemplative practice.
Our Yoga Timetable