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Resources and Research

I hope that you find this section interesting.  I base much of my teaching on scientific research that I find through reading, podcasts and attending webinars.

I train frequently with Kristine Weber from Subtle® Health, LLC for nervous system resilience yoga.

I follow Margaret Martin from Melioguide for trainings and books on osteoporosis.

I listen to the Feel Better, Live More podcast from Dr Rangan Chatterjee and also the Doctors Kitchen with Dr Rupy Aujla.

I am also a fan of the books from Dr Chatterjee and weave their teachings into classes.  For example, he has lots of information on improving your sleep so I have a whole block of classes on sleep and a course that you can download independently and study at your own pace.

I love the book 'The Physiology of Yoga' and recently attended a course run by its authors, Andrew McGonigle (Dr Yogi) and Matthew Huy.  Both authors run regular trainings which I also attend.

There is also the forum of We Are Undefeatable.  "We Are Undefeatable" is a movement supporting people with a range of long-term health conditions, developed by 15 leading health and social care charities and backed by expertise, insight and significant National Lottery funding from Sport England.  They offer excellent training to help best serve people with long term health conditions.

Research is now pointing for us to slowdown; slow, mindful yoga can help us achieve this.  The type of yoga that I provide, Subtle Inspired Yoga, can be part of the equation.  It can be a useful health promotion tool through Social Prescribing.

This kind of yoga helps address chronic diseases (or long term health conditions) naturally.  Subtle Inspired Yoga develops interoception, which is 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 also help support the mental health of employees.

Yoga focuses on breathing, strength, and flexibility. Practicing yoga may provide many physical and mental health benefits. People who regularly practice yoga said that the movement 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.  These potential benefits are listed in the sections below.

Reducing stress

Regular yoga practice may help 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.

Managing depression

Although medication and talking therapies 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.

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.

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.

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