Theory of Yoga and Medicine

Recovery YogaHow Recovery Yoga Programs Reduce Stress, including PTSD

Yoga is proven to reduce stress and anxiety, elevate mood, and increase physical fitness and agility. “Although yoga is historically a spiritual discipline, it has also been used clinically as a therapeutic intervention…a general feature of these [yoga and meditation] practices is their capability of inducing a coordinated psychophysiological response, which is the antithesis of the stress response…[a] ‘relaxation response’.” Khalsa, Sat Bir S., Ph.D, Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Yoga as a Therapeutic Intervention: A Bibliometric Analysis of Published Research Studies, 2004. Accordingly, yoga has been shown to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, and psychopathological health. Id. See also Overcoming Trauma through Yoga: Reclaiming Your Body, 2011, by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper, PhD, with an Introduction by Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD (a leading expert on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

According to a study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science, a group of female patients who completed eight hatha yoga classes showed significantly more improvement in reducing the severity of PTSD symptoms than a similar group that participated only in group therapy. Furthermore, research shows that the human body has biomedical responses to yoga that contribute to feelings of strength and calmness. Yoga causes a decrease in catechoamines—the hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland in response to stress—and a lowering of the levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, creating a feeling of calmness.
Aetna Insurance Company, in collaboration with Duke Integrative Medicine and American Viniyoga Institute, has delivered an evidence-based mind-body stress reduction study based on a 12 week yoga and mindfulness program that resulted in positive health outcomes.

new2Therefore, Recovery Yoga programs increase yoga practitioners’ feelings of self-worth, harmony and empowerment, as well as health and well-being, thus allowing and empowering them to become calm, centered and grounded, so they can move forward with hope, strength and a positive outlook.

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