I do yoga because it makes me feel better and helps me find balance (check out my recent article on that topic). I am inclined to stay glued to my desk all day, writing and stuck in my head, but my yoga practice pulls me away and helps me balance that out. I really got into yoga during, and then even more so, after grad school as a way to balance the intensity of what was going on mentally and emotionally.
Through the years as I’ve managed my own business, provided bodywork and yoga therapy and navigated motherhood, yoga has been there – a regular mini-vacation to help me renew and focus.
There is a growing body of evidence revealing the positive benefits of yoga for depression and anxiety. A very recent meta-analysis confirms its powerful effects. (here’s the abstract). As mental health in the U.S. reaches crisis proportions, there is a pressing need for cost-effective, evidence-based, somatically-oriented, person-centered, community-supported treatment strategies (whew!). And that is a good (if a little long-winded) description of yoga.
But we still need more research to help the powers that be in the health world recognize the need to integrate yoga into their protocols.
Yoga professionals shouldn’t be paralyzed by the thought of research or write is off as something that happens only at universities and hospitals. Qualitative research is incredibly important and pretty easy to do. A before and after survey of a class series is an easy way to get started on your own research and help contribute to the professionalism of the field.
All the students in our Subtle Yoga RYT500 Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training program receive instructions in and are guided through the process of doing research. We’ve had some amazing projects come out of this program – I will be sharing some of them here in the coming months.