I told you that I just got back from the International Yoga Congress, but I forgot to mention that I met a lot of old friends from my years as a swami. I felt a special warmth throughout my being to be there with so many long time friends and gurubhais. Sukadev aka Volker Bretz, the director of Yoga-Vidya was a fellow swami when we both served Swami Vishnuji. I have a great respect for Sukadev and more so for his humility in spite of his outstanding achievements of creating the largest Yoga organization in Europe with an Ashram capapble of accomodating comfortably close to 1000 people.
Narayani was also there. She arrived from her recent programs in the USA with her daughter Amari. Narayani gave a very inspiring talk full of beautiful mystical Sufi poetry, life lessons and of course the next day she gave a joyful yoga class to hundreds of attendees from all over Europe.
I reminded Narayani I will be seeing her at her upcoming weekend program November 19, 20, 21 in Madrid. I am sure you won't to miss it either. Narayani becomes more and more a voice of loving kindness and inspiration. She always touches my heart.
Chronic stress causes damage on a cellular level to the body. Such prolonged stress leads to cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes and frailty. Feelings of being overwhelmed by our circumstances contributes to physical effects such as stress-induced chronic inflammation - the result of an immune system in a constant state of high alert.
Research on Hatha Yoga and Stress in Women
Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD has researched how chronic stress harms the body. Her investigations have led her to look into the mechanisms underlying Hatha Yoga potential stress-reduction benefits. She has compared inflammatory and endocrine responses of novice and expert female Yoga practitioners before, during, and after a Hatha Yoga class. She found that a Hatha Yoga class boosted students' positive emotions, but there was no overall difference in inflammatory or endocrine responses as a result of the Yoga class.
Regular Practice of Yoga
But Dr. Kiecolt-Glaser found that Yoga experts had 40% less serum interleukin(IL)-6 levels than novices following a stressful experience. She concludes,in the Journal "Psychosomatic Medicine" March 2010
"The ability to minimize inflammatory responses to stressful encounters influences the burden that stressors place on an individual. If Yoga dampens or limits stress-related changes, then regular practice could have substantial health benefits."
Much of Hatha Yoga is improperly taught
So many of our new students arrive poorly taught. No one has adequately corrected their asana practice. Over the years we had found that many students suffered unnecessary discomforts and micro injuries as a result of poor instruction. Simple practices such as the sun salutations if taught improperly can result in back ache and eventual injury.
Anatomically adjusted Practice
We chose to provide an informed teaching of the yoga postures in our Hatha Yoga classes. For this reason we made anatomically informed asana pratice an integral part of our Hatha Yoga teacher training programmes. We insist that our students learn an anatomically corrected yoga practice and all of our teachers are instructed how to detect a poor practice and the ways to correct it. Each student is unique. Her body has particular capabilies and limitations that must be considered when teaching Hatha Yoga. One generic practice routine is insufficient and will usually result in some students suffering unnecessarily.
What about room Temperature
Some of our students who have tried Bikram Yoga ask us about the best temperature for Yoga practice. Generally speaking a comfortable range between 20º - 25º C. is fine. The body stretches better as its muscles warm up with effort. Of course, what you find most comfortable will be quite personal.
Isn't 40º or 50º better?
Not really according to research on physical performance at Life Fitness, above a certain temperature the human body experiences thermal stress.
"Exercise can be safely performed on warm - and even hot - days. Certain precautions should be taken, however, including wearing proper attire, performing a sufficient warm-up and cooldown, ensuring adequate fluid intake and reducing the intensity or duration of workouts on extremely hot and humid days."
Robert Girandola, Ph.D.