While yoga’s tremendous popularity in our culture largely focuses on the physical postures, there is a smaller group of practitioners focusing on the emotional and behavioral benefits of yoga. A growing body of scientific evidence confirms that yoga can improve your mood, patterns of behavior, even job performance. Amy Wientraub, Stephen Cope, and Sat Bir Khalsa are just three of the notable pioneers who are bringing crediblity to the use of yoga as a therapeutic tool. Amy Weintraub has become well-known for introducing yoga as a compliment to western medical treatments for depression and anxiety. Her widely acclaimed book, Yoga for Depression: A Compassionate Guide to Relieve Suffering Through Yoga is a practical manual of postures, breathing exercises, and mindfulness techniques for both energizing and calming the mind. As a therapist, I reach for her book often. I especially appreciate the combination of scientific research and testimony from individuals who have benefited from adding yoga as part of their treatment.
Stephen Cope is the the director of the Institute for Extraordinary Living at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and health. He is the author of Yoga and the Quest for True Self, one my favorite books on yoga and psychology. The Institute for Extraordinary Living is currently working on many research projects including yoga in school settings, yoga for weight loss, and using yoga to aid in recovery from PTSD.
Sat Bir S. Khalsa is Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical. He is an active researcher of the mental and physical benefits yoga and has examined many areas combining yoga and health including the use of yoga to alleviate insomnia and performance anxiety
If yoga is the journey, mindfulness is the destination. We encourage you to take a look at the following resources to learn more about the science behind yoga to heal depression, and many other ailments.
Institute for Extraordinary Living at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health (Note that Kripalu will be hosting the annual International Association of Yoga Therapists symposium in September)
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We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!