Tag Archives: Harvard

Mind/body interventions reduce personal healthcare costs by almost half: Harvard Study

Research is confirming what Yoga instructors have been telling you all along: Yoga reduces illness. Harvard Researchers published this study stating that participants in Mind/Body groups which included Yoga had reduced 43% of billable encounters with health providers versus the control group which actually had a slight increase in needing to see providers.

When this study came out over a month ago, I reached out to Harvard’s  John Denninger, who headed the research. “This study will create many more studies from the medical community about mind/body interventions,” Denninger said.

Participants met in groups for 1.5 hours every week for 8 weeks and did rational/emotive/behaivoral therapy as well as mind/body exercises like Tai Chi and Yoga. These Mind/Body groups were used in a series of studies.

In this study, people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) were able to reduce pain associated with their symptoms as a result of these Mind/Body groups. In another study, gene expression was measured as a result of relaxation response. The study shows that regular relaxation practices in participants yielded tremendous health benefits which included improved insulin secretion, decreased inflammation and reduction in hypertension, anxiety and insomnia.

Denninger said that because of the overwhelming evidence that the relaxation response is highly correlated to good health, he recommends that all people take of some type of mind/body practice (Yoga, Tai Chi, repetitive prayer, breathing techniques, and body scanning.) From my perspective, most of the aforementioned are part of a well rounded yoga practice that includes Asana, Pranayama, and Japa Sadhana (repetition of mantras).

The one kernel of wisdom I got from Denninger is that stress is an incredibly destructive force against our physical and psychological well-being. By taking time out each day to create a relaxation response, your body puts itself into repair mode as evidenced by these studies.

Many blessings to you John for your interview and your wisdom to bring this data to to the forefront in the medical community.


Study: Many would rather shock themselves than to sit in silence

sittting in pain

Here is some disturbing news from the Western front: many people can barely tolerate to be alone with themselves. At least those were the findings in a series of research studies done by Harvard and the University of Virginia. In one case, subjects had preferred to give themselves an electric shock break to tolerate the silence of having to sit for 15 minutes without any form of stimulation.

Should this be alarming? Some may argue that this is the consequence of the electronic age. Even I have a hard time not checking my WordPress stats a few free moments in the day. But on a deeper level, this means that many people are going the exact opposite direction to knowing their true selves, which is the lofty aspiration set out in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras.

First we must ask what the value is in sitting alone without interruption. Most of my regular readers would gasp at that question, but for the lay person in the Western world, this is a perplexing question. As a yoga teacher, I have to “sell” the idea that sitting for prolonged periods is the only way one can get to “know” themselves truly.

Yoga practice cultivates not only the ability to be alone with yourself for prolonged periods, it makes it so you have a hard time tolerating that which keeps you away from that silence, then transcends that “intolerance” into being peaceful and silent inside no matter what the world throws at you.

My mentoring teacher took this picture during her last trip to India. She said this man sits here daily for hours on end and “disappears” into the bench. This man has not only embraced his silence, he may have even attained the Siddhi of turning himself invisible!

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