REPs UK PTIA REPS NZ

Weekly Iyengar Yoga Helps Distressed Women

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Apr 01, 2013

Mind-Body-Spirit News

Encouraging Iyengar yoga students to continue attending class at least once weekly may make a significant difference in their stress levels and in their quality of life, according to study findings published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2012; doi: 10.1155/2012/408727). Mounting evidence shows that the debilitating consequences of excess stress in modern industrialized countries worldwide are a factor in as many as 60% of all physician visits. Stress contributes to heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, chronic pain, delayed wound healing, depression and cancer. And research has shown that both objective stress and perceived stress are related to shortened telomere length, a biomarker of aging. Researchers from a variety of institutions in Germany, Austria and Norway conducted a study to investigate the stress-reducing qualities of Iyengar yoga practice. Scientists randomly divided 72 adult female subjects with high stress levels into three groups. One group attended a 90-minute yoga class once weekly, while the second practiced twice weekly; members of the third (control) group did no yoga and were asked to maintain their routine activities. The study continued for 3 months. A certified Iyengar instructor led the classes, which were specifically designed to include postures for stress reduction—particularly back bends, standing postures, forward bends and inversions. Each class concluded with 15 minutes of savasana. Participants were encouraged, but not required, to practice at home. Investigators collected data related to perceived stress and mental and physical well-being at the study outset and after 3 months. Data analysis showed a significant improvement in perceived stress, anxiety, depression, bodily complaints and both psychological and physical quality of life for all yoga group subjects. Participation was higher in the group that met once weekly, leading researchers to conclude that adhering to a more rigorous practice schedule may not be necessary for stress symptom improvement. More research is warranted with longer-term follow-up, larger sample sizes and male as well as female subjects. For the list of yoga postures used in the program, go to www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/408727/sup/.

IDEA Fitness Journal , Volume 10, Issue 4

© 2013 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA’s mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author base...

0 Comments

Trending Articles

Eight Fascinating Facts About Fascia

Fascia has been enjoying the limelight in the fitness industry as one of the hottest topics in recent conference programming, workshops and ...

Cardio and Creative Core

Group fitness participants can’t seem to get enough of creative core and cardiovascular exercises. If you need innovative ideas to cha...

Wake Up Your Glutes!

It’s a sad fact of modern life that the gluteus maximus, the largest muscle in the body, often becomes inhibited and “turns off.” Ironically, this inhibition can be the culprit behin...

Functional Strength Training Combinations

Functional training essentially involves moving the body through different planes of motion while working multiple muscle groups and challenging balance. This Add It Up! strategy includes an upper-bod...

Benefits of Mind-Body Activities for Kids

Today’s fast-paced, digital world pressures children to grow up fast. Instead of running around grassy playgrounds, most of them live ...

The Parkour Phenomenon

Parkour gyms have seen increased demand as the training protocol has been featured more and more in films and commercials. The increasing po...

A Back-Pain Solution

Starting with the basics. Personal trainer Jamal Younis first met 38-year-old Jessica in August 2014. Jessica, a former competitive collegia...

Cert by Selfie

Surf around on any of the major social media networks these days—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and especially Instagram—and you&r...

Sample Class: Functional Strength for Older Adults

Baby Boomers are constantly bombarded with promises to lift, tighten and rejuvenate their bodies and “turn back the clock.” Truthfully, fitness professionals can roll back the clock for ol...

Liver Injury Due to Herbals and Dietary Supplements Is Up

If you regularly take herbals and dietary supplements, it may be time to reevaluate why you take them and what the potential cost to your he...

Next