Originally published October 9 2014
Yoga is a 'life changing' practice that reduces bipolar symptoms, anxiety, depression, and more
by PF Louis
(NaturalNews) Hatha yoga, the physical yoga with which most Westerners are familiar, has increased in popularity since coming to the USA in a big way during the 1960s.
It is not as strenuous as running or pumping iron, yet several studies have confirmed life-changing health benefits, which are not only physical but mental and emotional as well.
The Western tradition of conducting scientific studies to determine the merits of what others are doing to successfully improve their health and well-being is no more than a couple of hundred years old.
But the past few decades have seen published studies increase exponentially, especially for the benefit of Big Pharma. Those are not so trustworthy, to say the least.
But when it comes to hatha yoga, there are no vested interests to appease. The results they come up with may often even fall short of the real benefits.
Some studies that cover many health issues handled with hatha yoga Bipolar disorders: A Brown University study posted an online survey asking how hatha yoga affected those with bipolar disorders.
The survey received mostly positive responses from over 70 bipolar patients who practiced hatha yoga. Calming influence, reduced anxiety and "life changing" were among those responses.
Diabetes and stress control: A 2008 Natural News article presented several studies confirming that hatha yoga benefits type 2 diabetes patients by rejuvenating pancreas cells and reducing stress.
The author also mentioned studies documenting reduced cortisol levels. That's the fight or flight hormone. When it becomes chronically high, it leads to adrenal failure and chronic fatigue.
Heart health: One study demonstrated that women who practiced hatha yoga had significantly less (41%) pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6 in their blood after performing treadmill walking than those who did not practice yoga. Arterial inflammation is considered the main source of cardiac disease these days.
Another study with men revealed that yoga practice increased heart rate variability (HRV), which is considered a sign of good heart health. Hard over-training lowers HRV, which may explain how some good athletes suddenly drop dead from heart attacks.
These are just a few Western science-based studies that some rely on. There are more here.
For an incredible anecdotal experience, witness a recovery from being crippled, having diabetes and being incredibly overweight with this five-minute video.
Opinion: A few tips on hatha yoga based on first-hand experience and observationOne of yoga's pitfalls is the posing-for-appearance syndrome, something that's popularized in those yoga magazines and overdone by some instructors.
A movement instructor in a NYC acting school used basic yoga poses as a foundation. His studio was a dance studio -- wall to wall mirrors and hardwood floors. He forbade using the mirrors, as he wanted us to feel what was going on our bodies.
Getting caught up too much with how one looks leads to pushing beyond current limits and injuring muscles or ligaments. In other words, keep your ego out of the practice.
And those hardwood floors? Well, he wouldn't let students use mats or blankets. The concluding corpse pose is yoga's most underrated and important pose. His students did the corpse pose sans mats or blankets
It's a necessary component of eventually allowing every muscle and tissue in ones' body to relax, or a total "letting go," a precursor to meditation.
Hatha yoga needs to be practiced often for maximum benefits. Devote a half-hour more or less to yoga daily. Practicing only when going to classes won't cut it. But one does need to start with some class instruction.
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