Does it seem like a bit of a theme round here right now? It's probably because it's been (more) on Teamm...Yoga's minds since Sophie gave us her talk about autoimmune disorders and how yoga can help. As you may recall if you hang with us on Facebook or get the newsletter, the main takeaway was: slow the heck down to stay well.
One really interesting study that Sophie quoted in her talk started out saying:
Yoga has been used in the treatment of such diverse health problems as asthma, type II diabetes, fatigue in breast cancer survivors, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep, depression, and anxiety. Mechanistic explanations for yoga's mental and physical health benefits have highlighted reductions in sympathetic nervous system (SNS) tone, and increases in parasympathetic (vagal) activity, both of which could have favorable immune and endo- crine consequences by reducing stress-related responses. However, surprisingly few studies have attempted to relate endocrine or immune function to yoga practice, even though some hatha yoga pos- tures are characterized as immune enhancing or restorative.
To address yoga's impact on inflammation, one key facet of immune function, we compared novice and expert yoga practitioners' inflammatory responses . Despite the fact that novices and ex- perts did not differ on key dimensions including age, abdominal adiposity, and cardiorespiratory fitness, novices' serum interleukin 6 levels were 41% higher than those of experts, and the odds of a novice having detectable C-reactive protein were 4.75 times as high as that of an expert. Differences in stress responses between the groups provided one plausible mechanism for their divergent in- flammatory data; experts produced less lipopolysaccharide- stimulated IL-6 in response to laboratory stressors than novices.
Inflammation is a robust and reliable predictor of all-cause mortality in older adults. (emphasis added by me)
You can read the whole thing here. Basically, learning to calm your fight-or-flight response (reduce sympathetic nervous system tone, in the science-speak) will reduce inflammation, chronic and otherwise, and thereby drop off the severity of many autoimmune symptoms as well as, like the study says, reduce your risk of all-cause mortality. Otherwise known as early...retirement.
The study talks about the endocrine (hormonal) effects of yoga practice, specifically the kind that clams your body. Not the kind that amps you up.
So, here are four more ways to do that.
Did you download the PDF yet? No, but seriously, you need to. Click here.
Have a lovely, restorative week folks.
Nadine & the mm...Yoga! team.
This year has been one of doctor’s visits, and tests, and surgeries, and medication. I am not ill, I just have what they call a ‘pre-existing condition’.
There are a few things that have been challenging: the main one is that the drugs and surgeries have meant I am often too unwell to move. And I rely on movement rather heavily for my mental health.
I also have a little voice in my head that tells me, every day, that I ‘should’ move. Like it's immoral of me not to be moving...
If you battle to sleep sometimes, here are a few hints to help.
I first encountered this radical (hah!) concept in Heart of Yoga by TKV Desikachar (incidentally, the book had such a big influence on me, that I went to India to train at his yoga school, totally changed the way I taught and practiced yoga, and now use it as a text book in our own yoga teacher training.) Man, it shook my world. Wanna know what it was?