It’s so great when science backs the anecdotal evidence…
According to an email I just received from the American Viniyoga Institute,
The Aetna, Inc. Mind-Body Stress Reduction in the Workplace Trial, recently published in the online version of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, investigated the impact on perceived stress level and other variables with two distinct mind-body approaches. The Viniyoga Stress Reduction Program (therapeutic Viniyoga) and Mindfulness at Work (mindfulness meditation) were each compared to a control group. These programs helped participants significantly reduce their perceived stress levels while improving their ability to respond to stress.
Participants in the mind-body stress reduction treatment groups (mindfulness and Viniyoga) showed significant improvements in perceived stress with 36 and 33 percent decreases in stress levels respectively, as compared to an 18 percent reduction for the control group as measured with the Perceived Stress Scale.
Participants in the two mind-body interventions also saw significant improvements in a biological marker called heart rhythm coherence, suggesting that their bodies were better able to manage stress.
The study found that these improvements occurred in about half the length of time using the Viniyoga Stress Reduction Program and Mindfulness at Work.
The Viniyoga Stress Reduction program is a 12-week therapeutic yoga-based program. Participants in the worksite trial received instruction for managing stress including physical yoga postures, breathing techniques, guided relaxation and mental skills. The classes also provided coping strategies for dealing with stressful events and promoted use of home and office strategies for reducing stress through yoga. The program offered weekly in-person classes, home practice handouts and yoga break handouts for home and office use.
What’s most exciting is that these programs are very similar to the ones we run at mm…Yoga! So, scientific evidence that yoga and mindfulness (and BREATHING properly) really do reduce stress.
Over the years of working with people with conditions of chronic pain and inflammation, I’ve come to understand that sometimes yoga helps.
And sometimes it doesn’t...
If you follow us on instagram, you will know that I am quite fond of flow magazine. It’s got great paper goodies, which I love, but what I really love is all the little mindfulness bits they feature.
I have to work hard at mindfulness, maybe it’s this way for everyone. But it's worth the effort...
Last week's blog post about headstand seems to have ruffled a few feathers. That wasn't my intention, but if we all start thinking a bit more about why we do what we do, that can only be a good thing.
Because, you see, we get the most benefit from the simplest things in yoga.
We love this simple advice from Flow Magazine (which we also love). Maybe not the bit about pulling your shoulders back - that's a myth about good posture - but all the rest is ace.
We KNOW that our happiness is about how we relate to our world much more than what the world is actually doing around us. But we also all need a lot of reminding...
I mentioned last week that I read (and loved) Thich Nhat Hanh's book, Making Space, Creating a Home Meditation Practice.
This book is simple and oozing compassion. Plus, Hanh has a deft poetic hand. Here are some gathas from the book, which I made up in a pretty font so you can download them, print them and pop them around the house (or your desk) as a reminder.
We talk a lot about mindfulness and breathing round here, I am sure you've noticed. It's rather nice that these things are becoming ever more widely recognised as the useful tools they are. A couple of yoga classes a week is just a few hours out of your life, but you can breathe mindfully anytime.
In fact, it's one of the main 'circuit-breaker' techniques of mindfulness.
Do you remember that post I wrote about the importance of rest?
It led to a lot of interesting conversations, in class, and also over email.
It seems most of us have a hard time nurturing ourselves. Here are some journal prompts to head you in the right direction.
One of the things I ask our teacher trainees to do - as a kind of experiment on themselves - is to practice pratyahara (sense withdrawal) by staying entirely off the internet for a day.
Most people have a really hard time with that. Particularly those who are heavy users of social media.
I think if having occasional internet fasts as a form of brain detoxification: limiting my online exposure is a way of preventing too much gunk building up again.