Monday, November 9, 2009

Research Study Reveals Yoga Practitioners Motivations and Benefits

Significant clinical yoga research has been conducted with promising results for mental health, chronic pain, and wellness. However, individual yoga practice has not been emphasized in research. The purpose of a study, funded in part by the Yoga Care Foundation and developed with an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Brigham and Women's Hospital at the Harvard Medical School, was to provide in-depth data on individual yoga practice, e.g., patterns of use, views on yoga, and the associated motivations and benefits to individual practice. Data for the study was gathered from yoga practitioners at Yoga Yoga in Austin, Texas. The sociodemographics of the sample was consistent with previous surveys with the majority of respondents being educated white females with high incomes. The overwhelming view of yoga was that yoga has many purposes including exercise, a spiritual activity, and a way to manage a health condition. Virtually all respondents agreed or strongly agreed that doing yoga would improve their health. Reasons for starting or returning to yoga included physical exercise, general wellness, and stress management.

Research Study Explores Cardiovascular Health and Yoga

The Yoga Care Foundation (YCF) is conducting a joint study with the University of Texas Kinesiology Lab on yoga and cardiovascular health. The project, led by Hirofumi Tanaka, Ph.D., Director, Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory, is studying the effect of a regular yoga practice on the risk of cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death in the United States. Tanaka previously demonstrated that regular cardiovascular exercise and weight training can impact the heart’s arteries and function. The study aims to replicate this finding in yoga practitioners, comparing beginning yoga students to those with an established practice of at least three years. For information about participating in the study, click here. To read a press release about the study click here.