Entries in yoga anxiety (2)


Prenatal Yoga Works

It’s hardly a surprise to us yogis – pregnant or not – but now UK researchers have found the first evidence that yoga during pregnancy can help keep women stress free and reduce the risk of them developing anxiety and depression.

While it has long been assumed by medical professionals that yoga can help reduce stress levels in mothers, it had never been tested in a research setting. But in a paper recently published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, academics, from Manchester and Newcastle Universities, show that women who attended a yoga class a week for eight weeks had decreased anxiety scores compared to the control group who received normal antenatal treatment.

The professors say that the research project also shows evidence that yoga can reduce the need for pain relief during birth and the likelihood for delivery by emergency caesarean section:

“Perhaps we should be looking at providing yoga classes on the NHS. It would be relatively cheap to implement, could help mothers and their children be healthier, as well as reducing the costs of longer term health care.”

 Now that would be a brilliant idea for the Danish regions too.

It’s probably no surprise that this yogi has been doing prenatal yoga throughout my pregnancy. I started at Yogamudra at 10 weeks with no bump at all, tried Nalini and Sattva and ended up at YoJo at (whale size) the end of my pregnancy (I recommend them all). The rest has taken place in my yoga room at home (which is now a storage room due to the new member of the family). And now 9 days before my due date I’m still stretching (and teaching)  – and still doing relatively alright climbing the stairs to our 5th floor flat. I am yet to find out if yoga can reduce pain during birth, but I have a strong belief that relaxation and pranayama will. And I can’t wait to test it all out.

Photos by Amanda Thomsen at Crossfit Copenhagen.


Restorative Yoga Therapeutics Teacher Training with Bo Forbes

Yoga teacher, integrative yoga therapist, and clinical psychologist Bo Forbes was in Copenhagen (well, Hørsholm) this weekend to pass on her vast experience of combining yoga and psychotherapy and give a 20 hours Restorative Yoga Therapeutics teacher training. In the training I and the other 17 women (!) learned to artfully prop a series of restorative poses designed to balance the mind, nervous system and emotional body. The poses also deepen the relaxation response, reduce stress and enhance immunity. And they're a legitimate treatment for depression and anxiety.

This was acknowledged a couple of years ago by the renowned American Family Physician:

“Several studies of exercise and yoga have demonstrated therapeutic effectiveness superior to no-activity controls and comparable with established depression and anxiety treatments (e.g., cognitive behavior therapy, sertraline, imipramine)" (American Family Physician).

Bo’s approach to yoga combined it with science and psychology. She lost herself in endless examples of students (clients?) being cured of anxiety, depression and other emotional issues because of yoga. She works with the term ‘deep visceral body’, which is one of the 8 bodies in the mind body network and can hold trauma that can’t be verbalised. This is where yoga can work deeper than verbal therapy and add the bodily aspect of the healing process. Yoga bridges science, spirituality and psychology and offers a deep bodily experience that accesses all the bodies in the mind body network.

I enjoyed the restorative approach to yoga and think I might sneak in a supported Shavasana to some of my classes. I might consider teaching a restorative workshop sometime in the not too distant future.

One of the best things about the teacher training was meeting all the other yogis and feeling the group dynamics. My rigid (Ashtanga?) mind didn’t care too much for the very poor time management of the course, though. I only hope that next time will be more structured and ‘on time’. Bo's enthusiasm made up for it in the end, though, so thank you for a great experience, Bo. The weekend has left me feeling sattvic and relaxed and eager to pass the experience and the knowledge on to others.

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