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Yoga Linked To Less Insomnia In Menopausal Women

I just read a news story that caught my eye.

“Taking a 12-week yoga class and practicing at home was linked to less insomnia—but not to fewer or less bothersome hot flashes or night sweats.”

Sounds good right?
Later in the article:

“Exercise seemed linked to slightly improved sleep and less insomnia and depression, and yoga also was linked to better sleep quality and less depression—but these effects were not statistically significant.”

So which is it???

The article also in no way details what this yoga practice might be. Which I find odd – since their are so many possibilities. Fast vinyasa –  restorative poses – pranayama. Who knows what they were doing.

I’ve seen first hand the benefits of doing a practice which combines some restorative poses and breath work for women experiencing insomnia in menopause. I’ve also taught a combination of pranayama and chanting with similar results. And a few other times I’ve taught more intense asana combined with extended yoga nidra with good results. The practices given depends on the constitution of the person.

My hope is, that as more and more coverage is given to yoga therapeutics in the media – it will be balanced with more information about how yoga therapy actually works. That it isn’t a “one size fits all” prescription. And that, just like all healing modalities, practitioners have many options when working with a client.

How To Help Chronic Pain: Working With The Koshas

Long term chronic pain can be so difficult to work with. We as Yoga Therapists often see clients with pain that has been present for years. In most cases, these clients have already sought western medical treatment and have not achieved satisfactory results. The koshic model can give a much needed fresh look at a long-term pain condition.
The koshas are an elegant way of viewing ourselves. (graphic). As yogis we may already be used to contacting each level in our practice. Asana for the physical body, pranayama for the pranic body, chanting, meditation and ritual surrender for the deeper layers.

What we may not realize is that these very practices can balance the koshas in a way the keeps our entire system balanced and functioning properly. Modern science is just beginning to understand how the different layers of ourselves effect seemingly mechanical systems in our body. For instance, there is research on how mental states (such as depression or anxiety) can manifest in physical pain. If we look at people through the koshic lens we are led to this conclusion easily. Since all of the koshas affect each other, it is essential that they are looked at as a pathway to healing. When we see people in chronic pain we might want to only address the physical. But what if the problem stems from another kosha? What if it’s a mental issue? Or an issue of depression from being disconnected from the bliss body? Or what about a pranic problem which could be addressed directly?

When we work with long-term chronic pain, we always assess the person in front of us from this perspective. We are then able to suggest practices that might help. In the case of chronic pain, the results can be astonishing. We have seen pain reduced by 75% from practices which at first glance would seem unrelated. Breathing practices reducing back pain. Meditation practices allowing clients to sleep through the night for the first time in years.

Basic kosha balancing is available to everyone and is easily taught to most people. More specific suggestions require a good client/therapist relationship. But all in all the koshic model empowers clients to shift their own pain response and is an effective tool in dealing with chronic pain.

May we all be free from suffering,

If you’re interested in knowing more about the koshic model, look at our course, The Radically Balanced Yogi. Designed for anyone, you will walk through the koshas in 6 weeks helping to restore balance to your entire being.

Want to learn to share this information with others? Consider taking our training: the Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy Program.

Yoga Therapy For Heart Disease

A review of the evidence shows that yoga therapy can reduce risk factors and improve the condition of those with heart disease.

Yoga exercises can help improve physical, psychological and spiritual health – or so it is claimed. Researchers at Peninsula Medical School, in South-West England, reviewed the best evidence they could find on the effects of yoga therapy on heart disease. They found six – out of 11 – trials that were good enough to draw useful conclusions.

These showed that yoga improves lipid profiles and helps with weight loss. Yoga also reduces the number of angina episodes, increases exercise tolerance and decreases narrowing of the arteries (coronary stenosis). Given that yoga is relatively cheap, and acceptable to many people as a therapy, it would be useful to have some bigger studies to confirm its effectiveness for heart disease, say the researchers.

In my personal practice, I’ve seen these kinds of overall improvements in many conditions. These studies often don’t really specify the exact practices given to participants. It makes sense though that a practice that decreases stress levels and blood pressure would improve outcomes for heart disease.

I look forward to the day that studies are big enough that patients are covered for yoga therapy to improve outcomes.

A yogi can dream, can’t he?


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