From my Lab to Your Yoga Mat – The Importance of Yoga Research
I love yoga. I teach it. I practice it. I study it. I research it. I live it. Beyond teaching a variety of student I also perform biomechanical research on yogic movements. Naturally, yoga is often at the forefront of my mind. When I am taking a class, I catch myself analyzing the list of benefits the teacher is giving for a pose. I know many of them to be true because I have experienced yoga’s healing abilities in my own body and/or have read peer reviewed research extolling its benefits. But often, the teacher’s words raise more questions for my inner researcher. Questions that my or another’s research could answer.
The main purpose of research is to produce knowledge that can be applied outside of a research setting. From my lab to your yoga mat.
Practicing yoga has incredible health benefits, but this is not widely appreciated by medical professionals, insurance companies or the government who could help increase yoga’s use as a therapeutic modality. Imagine a world where doctors prescribe their patients yoga! Putting yoga to the test within a modern biomachinical research paradigm will provide the yoga community with objective, scientific evidence that can used to more effectively advocate for yoga in western medicine.
Studies have already shown that yoga:
- Improves postural stability by increasing balance time by +228% in healthy young Bikram practitioners (Hart & Tracy, 2008)
- Improves walking capacities by increasing flexibility and muscular strength in elderly (DiBenedetto et al., 2005) and in young adults (Trans et al., 2001)
- Reduces symptoms of depression in older institutionalized adults (Krishnamurthy & Telles, 2007)
- Reduces perceived stress in healthy pregnant women (Satyapriya et al., 2009), cancer patients undergoing radio-therapy (Vadiraja et al., 2009) and professional musicians (Khalsa et al., 2009)
- Improved quality of life indicator such as sense of well-being, energy and reduced fatigue in seniors (Oken et al., 2006)
- Reduce blood pressure (Chen & Tseng, 2008)
But these yoga studies fail to adequately explore the biomechanics of yoga. How do we know the physical benefits and the precautions of yoga without thoroughly understanding yoga movements? A basic descriptive study would provide a base of comparison to compare yoga movements to other therapies and exercises.
Devoted yoga practitioners and teachers inherently know the benefits of this powerful practice. Teachers share their love for yoga by recommending it to people and teaching yoga classes. Help disseminate the knowledge to various populations (specifically the academic and medical community) by volunteering in my scientific research.
I am seeking female yoga instructors who:
- Are Yoga Alliance certified
- Have 5 years teaching experience
- Are between 25-45 years
To volunteer 1 hour of their time at the Human Movement Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of Ottawa.
Contact Elizabeth@yogarific.ca for more information.