“Role of Yoga for Patients with Type II Diabetes” and Lack of Methodological Rigour in Yoga Research

If you have a copy of “Light on Yoga” by Iyengar, in it you will find a whole index of asana and pranayama suggestions for a wide range of ailments. For example, if you are suffering from diabetes, Iyengar suggests that you do inversions, seated and standing forward folds, backbends, and twists (Yes, that’s right! All kinds of yoga poses)*. The point is that traditional notion assumes yoga practice is healing for “obvious” reasons. Exciting as it may sound, I would say that unless such claims are supported by solid scientific evidence, they should be taken with a large dose of scepticism.

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Is Yoga Safe? Is Yoga Safer Than Other Types of Exercise?

I haven’t been doing yoga for a very long time therefore I wasn’t even aware of the very traditional notion that yoga poses are supposed to be healing and yoga cannot harm you. I’ve always assumed that yoga would affect one as any other type of exercise would for better or worse. It turns out that it actually is the case. Reliable studies indicate that yoga is a physical exercise that could cause injuries in the way that any other type of exercise would when one does not pay attention to safety. It is neither more or less dangerous or safe than other physical practices, so there can be no such assumption regarding the inherent safety of yoga poses or practice.

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Mindfulness-based yoga practice vs Daily Walks on Depression in Women

In yoga research, the most common research designs is to compare pre and post measures of a group of people completing a yoga programme. The second most favourite  design is to compare a yoga group to an inactive group. Both these designs are unreliable. The first one usually fails to produce similar results, thereby causing serious issues for generalisation of those results. And the second one carries the potential to exaggerate the results in favour of yoga and ignore the fact that other types of exercise have similar benefits.

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Is Pranayama Effective in Asthma Treatment?

Asthma and Pranayama

A 2014 study by Cramer, Posadzki, Dobos, and Langhorst reviews and meta-analyses the available data on efficacy and safety of yoga in alleviating asthma. Based on their findings, they conclude that “yoga cannot be considered a routine intervention for asthmatic patients at this point. It can be considered an ancillary intervention or an alternative to breathing exercises for asthma patients interested in complementary interventions”.

ref:

Cramer H, Posadzki P, Dobos G, Langhorst J (2014) Yoga for asthma: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, vol. 112, issue 6 Published by American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology DOI: 10.1016/j.anai.2014.03.014

Feel Better at Work

Winter is dark in Norway, unless it snows and it hasn’t snowed enough to light up the town. At the heart of the winter, it becomes very difficult for me to maintain an optimum level of work motivation and engagement throughout the day. I feel drowsy and less focused. I know many experience it, too. Fortunately, the days are steadily getting longer so we can have almost a decent amount of sun light but sun light cannot do much unless we decide to feel better and do something about it.
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Where do I stand? Head and Shoulders?

I don’t think any particular movement or yoga pose is inherently dangerous, but I do think that certain movements or yoga poses can be dangerous if done carelessly and mindlessly. Each asana is a challenge to contort the body, and therefore the mind, and some more than others. I’ve been reading about the demonisation of salamba sarvangasana (shoulderstand) and salamba sirsasana (supported headstand) for a while now and I fail to understand the particular problem with these poses. Meanwhile, I don’t see anyone talking about the dangers of super deep back bends, arm balances, or nasty twists, not to mention handstands. If anything, I have to scroll through numerous handstand photographs on Instagram or Facebook! But no-one is writing blogs about how they stopped teaching chaturanga dandasana or phalankasana because the shoulders and wrists have to carry a lot of weight and might easily get injured, instead we talk about the ways to perform such poses safely. Although, one obvious reason for this maybe the relative importance the neck and the head compared with the wrists and the shoulders!

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