For most of us, being content with what we have, who we are, what we do and what we look like is very challenging. We are flooded with images of people who are better-looking, have more wealth or are better at doing something than we are. And it will always be that way. We can’t control how beautiful, successful or talented others are. What we can do is avoid comparison—and practice contentment with who we are. For those of us who study yoga, that includes contentment with our asana practice and with our physical limitations.
A purported rise in yoga-related injuries in the United States has stimulated a firestorm of discussion in the yoga community, as well as a national media blitz. Over the past 20 years, yoga has expanded in popularity in the U.S. and throughout the world, bridging the gap from young to old, novice to athlete, healthy to disease-ridden and wealthy to underprivileged. While this growth is generally considered positive, the same is not true of an increase in yoga-related injuries. Here are some expert tips to make sure you are cultivating a safer teaching and practice environment.newsletter_teaser: A purported rise in yoga-related injuries in the United States has stimulated a firestorm of discussion in the yoga community, as well as a national media blitz. Here are some expert tips to make sure you are cultivating a safe teaching and practice environment for your students.
The emerging field of yoga therapy is gaining more support from current research efforts. In the journal Medical Hypothesis ( 2012; doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2012.01.021), investigators from leading U.S. medical schools have proposed a theory to explain why yoga practice is beneficial for diverse medical conditions. This theory can serve as a basis for including yoga-based practices as a complementary therapy in prevention and treatment programs for a number of stress-related conditions.
Deepak Chopra, MD, founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California, has opened the first of a planned series of studios in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Chopra Yoga Center will offer a variety of styles of yoga classes as well as meditation and Pilates. The studio’s philosophy is inspired by the principles described in Chopra’s best-selling book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success (Amber-Allen/New World Library 1994).
To learn more about the center, go to www.choprayoga.com.
While B.K.S. Iyengar may still be teaching at 93, Guinness World Records has awarded the distinction of “oldest yoga instructor’ to Bernice Bates, a 91-year-old who instructs yoga at the Mainlands Retirement Community Center in Pinellas Park, Florida. Bates has been practicing and teaching hatha yoga since about 1960, according to Today.com. She currently offers a once-weekly hourlong yoga class that includes 10–12 poses and ends with relaxation. Personally, she practices several postures before getting out of bed every morning.
Yoga and yoga-related activities continue to increase in popularity, although the growth rate has slowed somewhat, according to the 2011 Tracking the Fitness Movement Report by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. In 2010, approximately 21.9 million people participated in yoga and yoga-related activities compared with about 20.1 million in 2009, representing an 8.8% growth.
Yoga may help teens to curb anxiety, be more resilient and effectively manage stress and mood, suggests a study published in The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research (2011; doi: 10.1007/s11414-011-9249-8). Mental health conditions like anxiety, depression or related behavioral problems disrupt life for as many as 7.5% of adolescents. Many adults who suffer from these same issues started experiencing symptoms during the teen years.