Resources and Research

Research is now pointing for us to slowdown, there are so many benefits with slow, mindful yoga.  People are waking up to the need to train their nervous system to slow down.  The type of yoga that I provide is part of the equation to address the chronic diseases or long term conditions naturally.  I teach Subtle Inspired Yoga which develops interoception or the ability to sense what is happening inside yourself.  Helping you to develop a better relationship with yourself and creating resilience within your nervous system.    Recent information released by the College of Medicine and Integrated Health informs us that yoga can help support the mental health of employees.

Yoga is a popular exercise that focuses on breathing, strength, and flexibility. Practicing yoga may provide many physical and mental health benefits.

Between 2012 and 2017, the percentage of people in the United States practicing yoga increased from 9.5% to 14.3% in adults and from 3.1% to 8.4% in children.

The 2012 National Health Interview Survey reported that around 94% of people who practice yoga in the U.S. do so for wellness reasons. Respondents said that yoga benefits their health by:

  • encouraging them to exercise more

  • inspiring them to eat more healthfully

  • improving their sleep quality

  • reducing their stress levels

  • motivating them to reduce alcohol use and smoking

Mounting evidence suggests that yoga may also provide other benefits to health. We list these potential benefits in the sections below.

Reducing stress

Regular yoga practice may help reduce stress and aid relaxation.

People often practice yoga to reduce stress and aid relaxation. Scientists are now learning the mechanisms behind how yoga lowers stress.

Persistent surges of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, may damage blood vessels and elevate blood pressure.

However, research has shown that people who practice yoga regularly have low cortisol levels.

Studies have also found that practicing yoga for at least 3 months may lower cortisol and perceived stress and reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines that cause inflammation.

Relieving anxiety

Although most people feel anxious from time to time, anxiety is also a symptom of many conditions, including panic disorder, social anxiety disorderpost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and phobias.

2016 meta-analysis found that practicing Hatha yoga had a promising effect on anxiety. Yoga was also most beneficial in people who had the highest levels of anxiety at the start of the studies.

An older study from 2010 demonstrated that yoga improved mood and anxiety levels more than walking. The researchers suggest that this was due to higher levels of the brain chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

GABA activity tends to be lower in people with anxiety and mood disorders. The researchers tested GABA activity and found that yoga increased GABA levels in the participants.

2017 study evaluated whether school based yoga practice could help children experiencing anxiety. Practicing yoga at the beginning of the school day for 8 weeks improved their well-being and emotional health compared with the control group.


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Managing depression

Although medication and talking therapy are common treatments for depression, yoga has had some promising results as a complementary therapy.

2017 systematic review found that yoga could reduce depressive symptoms in many populations, including people with depressive disorder, pregnant and postpartum women, and caregivers.

Research from 2017 looked at people with depression that had not responded well to antidepressants.

Study participants who completed 2 months of Sudarshan Kriya yoga experienced a reduction in depressive symptoms, whereas the control group showed no improvements.

Researchers suggest that yoga may lower symptoms of depression by reducing cortisol, or the “stress hormone.”

2017 analysis linked yoga practice with lower back pain relief and an improvement in back-related function.

Military veterans and active duty military personnel often experience higher rates of chronic pain than the general population, especially in the lower back.

Other research suggests that yoga is just as effective at relieving back pain as physical therapy. Yoga may also have lasting benefits for several months.  This meta-analysis from Australia looks at the effects of yoga on depression.

Improving quality of life during illness

Many people use yoga as a complementary therapy alongside conventional medical treatments to improve their quality of life.

Some evidence suggests that yoga may improve quality of life for people with the following conditions:

Early research for yoga’s role in improving quality of life in many conditions is promising. However, more studies are necessary before researchers are able to draw firm conclusions.

Stimulating brain function and psychological wellbeing

Yoga may stimulate brain function and give a boost to energy levels, according to several studies.

One 2017 study showed that Hatha yoga improved the brain’s executive functions, as well as people’s mood. Executive functions are brain activities related to goal directed behaviour and regulating emotional responses and habits.

Research from 2012 found that a single yoga session improved speed and accuracy of working memory more than one session of aerobic exercise. However, the effects occurred only immediately after the exercise, and they were short term.

Other research suggests that yoga can improve mental flexibility, task switching, and information recall among older adults.  Recent research looks at yoga as an intervention for psychological wellbeing.