Thursday, February 20, 2014

Research Shows It! Viniyoga Can Help Heal Your Back!




I'm happy to share with all of you a positive article about yoga from The Huffington Post.  This article discusses research showing what I’ve known for years:  that yoga, specifically Viniyoga, can help overcome chronic low back pain.

The research described is the most recent in a pair of studies co-sponsored by the National Institute of Health and Group Health Cooperative.  Both studies used Viniyoga—the same style taught at Whole Life Yoga. The yoga protocols were designed by my teacher, Gary Kraftsow.  One goal of the most recent study was to see if earlier benefits of Viniyoga could be replicated with a larger test group.

According to Karen Sherman, one of the study authors, they specifically chose Viniyoga, because “we wanted to pick something to test that was likely to be safe and easy for beginners to practice both in classes and at home.”

The results?  Students who participated in weekly 45 – 50 minute Viniyoga classes, including deep breathing and guided relaxation, experienced clinically significant improvements in low back pain and dysfunction.  And those improvements were still apparent at least 14 weeks after the end of the study

Similar benefits were found in students who practiced weekly 52 minute stretching classes with 20 minutes of home stretching on non-class days.  Although the article does not state this, I do believe the yoga students were also given home practices.

Researchers attribute the improvements to the physical benefits of yoga—specifically, stretching and strengthening, versus any mental benefits. So I guess all the stress reduction and emotional balance we yogis experience is just an awesome side benefit!  ;-)  (By the way, a recent study on Viniyoga for stress reduction also showed great results, but that’s a blog article for a different day).

And on a personal note—the Group Health study specifically looked at chronic low back dysfunction that interfered with participant’s day-to-day activities.  But I can tell you from personal experience, yoga also helps with upper back and neck pain, along with a variety of other physical, physiological, and emotional issues.

If you, or someone you know, suffers from chronic low back pain, consider giving Viniyoga a try! If you’re in the Seattle area, please check out Whole Life Yoga’s Yoga for Healthy Backs series.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber's author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Whole Life Yoga, and other retailers!

2 comments:

Susan Kroupa said...

I live in a rural area which, until a few months ago, had no easy access to yoga. But A few years back, I bought the DVD Viniyoga for Lower Back and Hips by Gary Kraftsow (I remember reading he was your mentor). It helped my hip pain better than any otc pain relievers, so much so that when it was particularly bad at night, I'd get up out of bed and run through some of the stretches.

I finally discovered that changing shoes to those with a neutral heel and arch support (like Birkenstocks or Brooks) seemed to eliminate my hip pain at the source. But I still do the routines for my back! :)

Susan Kroupa said...

Great post!

I live in a rural area which, until a few months ago, had no easy access to yoga. But A few years back, I bought the DVD Viniyoga for Lower Back and Hips by Gary Kraftsow (I remember reading he was your mentor). It helped my hip pain better than any otc pain relievers, so much so that when it was particularly bad at night, I'd get up out of bed and run through some of the stretches.

I finally discovered that changing shoes to those with a neutral heel and arch support (like Birkenstocks or Brooks) seemed to eliminate my hip pain at the source. But I still do the routines for my back! :)

Susan Kroupa
www.susankroupa.com