I was caught off guard this week when I was talking to a wonderful woman. The conversation turned and she became very curious about my diet. I got that knot in my belly. She was asking, “If I eat like you do, will I lose weight and be thin finally!”
I squirm at those conversations for a few reasons:
1. They focus the search for the magic panacea and don’t consider one’s own unique metabolism, biochemistry, and nutrient requirements could be vastly different than mine.
2. They de-emphasize health and place emphasis on appearance. This obsession on obtaining a perfect weight in order to be accepted or happy is destroying the self-esteem of our young women and men and increasing eating disorders. I see this in my clinic and it saddens and enrages me that our society accepts this as what is important.
3. Many don’t know that having compassion vs. judging or comparing ourselves is actually a powerful tool for optimal weight maintenance!
4. Losing too much weight and in the wrong way can be damaging to the body.
This brings me to the topic of revisiting the benefits of movement for health and why I’ve recently been so assisted with the practice of yoga.
Yoga is a type of exercise that teaches the participant to become sensitive to their own body cues and unique needs. It builds strength and stamina and as seen below, has many benefits.
If you feel called to yoga, rock on! If not, that’s ok.
As I discussed on my homepage, it’s all about what works for you. I find for stress management and weight loss resistance, yoga can be the key to assisting the body to switch from a thirty, scared, holding weigh pattern to a releasing and relaxed one.
Here are some article summaries on the benefits of yoga:
Yoga Could Affect Appetite Regulation at the Cellular Level!
Highlights of Study:
• We compared adiponectin and leptin data from novice and expert yoga practitioners.
• Leptin plays a proinflammatory role, adiponectin has anti-inflammatory properties.
• Leptin was 36% higher among novices compared to experts.
• Experts’ average adiponectin to leptin ratio was nearly twice that of novices.
• Intensive yoga practice may benefit health by altering leptin and adiponectin production.
Source: Janice K. Kiecolt-Glasera, et al. Adiponectin, leptin, and yoga practice (abstract). Physiology & Behavior. Volume 107, Issue 5, 5 December 2012, Pages 809-813. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031938412000455
Yoga Could Help Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
This report is from a small study of 13 nonsmoking women who had moderate to severe RLS and who did not have diabetes, sleep apnea, or other serious concomitant chronic conditions, and who were not pregnant. The study examined the effect of an 8-week Iyengar yoga program.
Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest that yoga may be effective in attenuating RLS symptoms and symptom severity, reducing perceived stress, and improving sleep and mood in women with RLS.
Source: K.E. Innes, T.K. Selfe, P. Agarwal, K. Williams, and K.L. Flack. Efficacy of an Eight-Week Yoga Intervention on Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): A Pilot Study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. June 2013, 19(6): 527-535. doi:10.1089/acm.2012.0330.
Yoga and Inflammation
Thirty-nine dementia caregivers were assigned to either Kirtan Kriya Meditation (KKM) or listening to Relaxing Music (RM) for 12 min daily for 8 weeks. The researchers looked at how yoga may change DNA signaling regarding inflammation.
Conclusion: A brief daily yogic meditation intervention may reverse the pattern of increased NF-κB-related transcription of pro-inflammatory cytokines and decreased IRF1-related transcription of innate antiviral response genes previously observed in healthy individuals confronting a significant life stressor.
David S. Blacka, Steve W. Colea, Michael R. Irwina, Elizabeth Breena, Natalie M. St. Cyrb, Nora Nazarianb, Dharma S. Khalsa, Helen Lavretsky. Yogic meditation reverses NF-κB and IRF-related transcriptome dynamics in leukocytes of family dementia caregivers in a randomized controlled trial. Psychoneuroendocrinology. Volume 38, Issue 3, March 2013, Pages 348-355. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.06.011
Wheeler, M. Yoga reduces stress; now it’s known why: UCLA study helps caregivers of people with dementia.UCLA Newsroom. July 24, 2012. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/yoga-reduces-stress-now-it-s-known-236785.aspx
Yoga May Lower Blood Pressure
Yoga could provide a small benefit to people looking to lower their high blood pressure, according to new research.
A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension shows that practicing yoga could help decrease blood pressure in people with mild to moderate hypertension.
“So far it looks very promising that yoga might be a useful therapy for patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension who want to avoid using medication,” study researcher Dr. Debbie Cohen, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, told MedPage Today. “This could also be used as an adjunct to other lifestyle modifications.”
The study included 120 people with an average age of 50, 58 of whom completed the study. All the study participants were organized into one of three groups: One was assigned to do yoga two or three times a week in a studio for 24 weeks, while another group was assigned to do a walking/nutrition/weight counseling program. The third group was assigned to do both yoga and dietary counseling. Researchers analyzed their blood pressure at the beginning of the study, 12 weeks into the study, and 24 weeks into the study.
They found that the people who did yoga had decreases in their systolic blood pressure at the 12-week mark, and decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure at the 24-week mark. However, the researchers noted that the other two groups also experienced positive effects on their blood pressure.
Past research has also shown that yoga has an impact on the gene expression of immune cells, which suggests the practice can affect health on a genetic level.
Source: Huffington Post.Yoga Could Lower Blood Pressure Among People With Hypertension: Study. HuffingtonPost.com. May 28, 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/28/yoga-blood-pressure-hypertension_n_3294527.html?utm_hp_ref=@healthnews123
Yoga and Trauma
BACKGROUND: The Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute has adapted a form of Hatha yoga into a trauma-sensitive adjunctive component of intervention for use with complexly traumatized individuals exhibiting chronic affective and somatic dysregulation and associated behavioral, functioning, and health complaints.
RESULTS: Anecdotal data and clinical observation underscore the promise of yoga as a viable approach to build self-regulatory capacity of traumatized youth.
CONCLUSIONS: Future directions in the development and evaluation of trauma-informed yoga practices for youth are discussed.
Source: Spinazzola J, Rhodes AM, Emerson D, Earle E,& Monroe K. Application of yoga in residential treatment of traumatized youth. J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc. 2011 Nov-Dec;17(6):431-44. doi: 10.1177/1078390311418359. Epub 2011 Aug 25.