National Yoga MonthSeptember 26, 2012 4:52 PM
September is National Yoga Month. A lot of people practice yoga for health purposes. It’s known to aid in strength training, muscle toning, and flexibility. Others practice yoga because it can be relaxing and stress relieving. More recently, medical research data supports the efficacy of yoga in treatment of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
During the first week of August, I had the opportunity to attend a conference at the Cape Cod Institute in beautiful Eastham. The presenter was Amy Wientraub, LifeForce Yoga Instructor. Amy shared that she herself has a diagnosis of depression. When Amy was younger she required several psychotropic medications and had many hospitalizations to help stabilize her. In 1989, she began practicing yoga daily and worked with her treatment providers to taper off her medications. She has been stable and medication free since then and credits yoga for saving her life. She has a yoga practice in Tuscon, Arizona but travels throughout the country teaching ancient yoga techniques that have been proven to help people improve their quality of life.
The conference was attended by 50+ therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, yoga instructors and other people in the helping professions. Amy cited research to support various techniques she used. In particular, she instructed participants on several ways to incorporate breathing techniques with clients experiencing either depression or anxiety to help alleviate symptoms. She also taught a technique to help stimulate the vagus nerve, which is known to help treat depression. She spoke about the value of using sound when practicing yoga. Her book Yoga for Depression is an excellent resource, as is her website: yogafordepression.com.
-Kathy Anderson, Director of BAMSI’s Community Service Agency