Even in childhood I had a philosophical bent. I distinctly remember sitting at the dinner table with my twin brother and discussing with him why the dog could eat hamburger and it became “dog,” whereas we could eat hamburger and it became “us.” An interesting question for a couple of 9-year-olds to pursue. Sadly, we never figured it out.
By my early 20s I had taken up the study of yoga, and my worrisome won- dering about the big questions of mean- ing and purpose in life was becoming more refined. Now I really wanted to “understand” what life was all about.
Good news to share with clients who worry that if they don’t practice yoga daily, they won’t get results: Attending yoga class just once a week can provide positive, measurable help for people with low-back pain.
A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2013; doi: 10.1155/2013/658030) reported that weekly yoga classes were as effective as twice-weekly classes for relieving low-back pain in low-income minority participants.
Most of us know that helping others has its rewards, but now scientists have been able to measure the cellular effect of altruism, and results confirm that contributing to others may do more for your health than simply satisfying your own needs. The study appeared in PNAS (2013; 110 , 13684–89).
Many strength-and-conditioning or sports-oriented exercise enthusiasts say they have no desire to add mind-body programs such as yoga or Pilates to their routines, citing lack of time, lack of interest or an inability to “unwind.” To help your boot camp addicts get a taste of the benefits of mind-body movement, seamlessly integrate aspects of yoga and Pilates into your functional boot camp class.
Pilates continues to grow in popularity, and its practice is now familiar to people around the world, with studios throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Enthusiastic marketers may claim that Pilates can solve everything from weight issues to problems in the bed- room, but we serve our clients well when we educate them about benefits of Pilates training that are validated by scientific consensus.
A pilot study conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the University of New Mexico Cancer Center recruited 40 prostate cancer survivors with high levels of fatigue in a 12-week randomized, controlled trial. Half of the subjects participated in qigong, and half took stretching classes.
Think about knocking on wood or throwing salt over your shoulder. Rituals such as these, involving movements that “push away” from the body, may make us feel better because we have built up an association between pushing actions and avoiding harm or danger, according to psychologists at the University of Chicago.
While many continue to hope for a “magic pill” to prolong youth and sustain health indefinitely, encouraging research demonstrates the power of a back- to-basics, integrative approach—a plant-based diet, exercise, stress management and social support.
Yoga can be effective in improving strength, flexibility, balance, gait, anxiety, depression and concentration. So can an integrative yoga lifestyle program help people with multiple sclerosis cope with such issues? Investigators from the department of physical therapy at California State University, Sacramento, and The Expanding Light Retreat, Nevada City, California, wanted to find out.