rydra_wong: a yoga practitioner does a jump through, the motion turning into a blur (yoga -- jump through)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
A new meta-analysis has come out looking at the benefits of yoga in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease:

The Guardian: Yoga may provide similar health benefits to ‘cycling or brisk walking’

Abstract: The effectiveness of yoga in modifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

This is fascinating because it's previously been assumed that, because yoga's not an aerobic exercise per se (unless you're doing a vigorous practice like Ashtanga), it may be very beneficial in other ways, but won't substitute for aerobic exercise.

But this study suggests that yoga performed well on a variety of measures of cardio and metabolic health (cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate, trigylcerides, etc.).

I suspect it may still not be a substitute if you're trying not merely to prevent cardiovascular disease but to improve your heart and lung stamina for a sport, or whatever; if you want better aerobic endurance you have to train aerobic endurance.

But it's very impressive, and comforting for those of us who shudder at the prospect of running.
goodbyebird: Mara: Mara Prince floating in the air, meditating. (C ∞ this is who I am now)
[personal profile] goodbyebird
Just wanted to share this excellent write-up on downward facing dog for beginners. I've had some issues with this pose myself, and this article gave me a lot of great advice on how to approach this pose and what adjustments I might have to make.

Take a look at the eyes of your elbows (the insides or creases of the elbows). Let each elbow eye face the opposite corner of the mat. So your right elbow eye faces the left corner of the mat, and the left elbow eye faces the right corner. You probably will have to rotate your upper arms to accomplish this, but let your hands stay connected to the mat.

To feel this external rotation in your upper arms, come out of the pose for a moment, and bring your arms out to your sides at shoulder height, like an airplane. Let your palms and the eyes of your elbows face the ceiling. Now flip your hands over so your palms face the floor, but the elbow eyes still face the ceiling. This is the rotation of the arms we’re looking for in down dog. Now come back to the mat, and re-setup your hands. Point your elbow eyes to the opposite corners of the mat by externally rotating your upper arms. Notice how that broadens the collarbones and draws the shoulderblades down the back.
rydra_wong: a woman wearing a bird mask balances on her arms in bakasana (yoga -- crow pose)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Just wanted to link to this excellent, snarky and incisive piece in Hyphen Magazine on the "yoga debate" started by William Broad's NY Times article:

The Yoga Debate: An Existentially Challenged Desi Chimes In by Kirti Kamboj

On the pro-yoga side was expert Rebecca Greenfield. She held positions such as: "When done right, yoga is a sweaty work-out. And, no, we're not just talking the 'hot kind.'" And, "Admittedly, yoga attracts some of the worst people on the planet: The image obsessed girls mentioned above, super-hippies, and self-righteous spiritual types. But any human that's obsessed with a type of exercise is generally intolerable."

I found these points both illuminating and disturbing. Before, I was under the assumption that I'd been doing yoga all my life. Yet things I believed to be the core of yoga -- yama niyama ideals, body awareness, breath control, etcetera -- have no place in it at all. When done right, as Greenfield points out, yoga is a series of sweaty contortionist work-out poses.

So all this time, I've been inadvertently lying, saying that I do yoga, when weeks can pass without me striking even one sweaty contortionist pose.


(Mod, could we have an "articles" tag, please? And/or a "meta" tag?)
rydra_wong: A woman (yoga teacher Jess Glenny) lies on the floor in a reclining twist. (yoga -- twist)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian has a short but fascinating article from Tim Rushby-Smith (who has paraplegia) on taking a yoga workshop with Matthew Sanford, who does too.

By the end of the 90-minute class I am sitting unsupported on the floor with my arms above my head and my legs outstretched. This is extremely difficult when paralysed from the waist down. I have no fixed "base" as I cannot gain stability from my buttocks or thighs, but somehow I am spreading myself out to my heels as much as the tips of my fingers. Instead of trying to balance on nothing, I feel like I am grounded on something firm and tangible.

For anyone who's interested, I wrote a review of Sanford's memoir, Waking, a while back.
rydra_wong: a woman wearing a bird mask balances on her arms in bakasana (yoga -- crow pose)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Here's an interesting article in the New York Times on using a yoga-based exercise (a supported version of headstand) to treat rotator cuff problems.

You can read or download the original paper here.
rydra_wong: a woman wearing a bird mask balances on her arms in bakasana (yoga -- crow pose)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Apologies if I'm spamming the comm, but via Stumptuous ([syndicated profile] stumptuous_feed) I found this amazing piece on yoga in prison:

Yoga in San Quentin

(Note that if you try to open more than a few pages, you'll hit a paywall, but you should be able to read this for free.)

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