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Yoga in the Workplace
Yoga & Meditation – Solving the Problems of Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Negative Energy
Yoga Reduces Stress
In a recent study conducted by Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and the Yoga Research Society researches discovered a significant drop in the stress hormone cortisol in students after participating in a yoga class compared to before the class.
George Brainard, M.D., a Professor of Neurology at Thomas Jefferson Medical College conducted a similar study that also showed a significant drop in cortisol levels of subjects following asana (physical postures) practice.
The findings suggest that practicing yoga—even for the very first time—can normalize cortisol levels that are either too high or too low, says Vijayendra Pratap, Ph.D., president of the Yoga Research Society in Philadelphia. “My hypothesis,” he adds, “is that yoga brings the body to balance.”
Yoga Helps Reduce Anger, Depression and Anxiety
Another yoga researcher, Boston University’s Dr Chris Streeter, found evidence of yoga’s potential to help treat workplace anxiety and depression. In her studies, Dr. Streeter scanned the brains of yoga practitioners and found that, compared with walking, yoga produced a decrease in anxiety and a boost in a brain chemical that enhances our mood. In a 12-
Yoga Reduces Blood Pressure
Evidence suggests that yoga not only reduces high blood pressure in patients, but it has been demonstrated to lower blood glucose level, cholesterol level and body weight, risk factors for major heart and other diseases that affect people today, according to a recent study conducted by the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and Kennesaw State University, Georgia. As the 2012 article reviewing studies of yoga on blood pressure in hypertension patients states:“This review is significant because yoga presents an effective method of treating hypertension that is nonpharmacologic (i.e., without the use of medications) and therefore has no adverse effects in addition to having other valuable health benefits.”
Yoga Helps Reduce Depression, Anger & Anxiety
Researches Dr David Shapiro & Dr Ian Cook from the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Sciences – Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behaviour, studied yoga as a complementary treatment for workplace depression. Their preliminary findings support the potential of yoga as a complementary treatment for depression. Of the people practicing yoga, significant reductions were shown for depression, anger, anxiety, neurotic symptoms and low frequency heart rate variability. In addition, they discovered that moods improved from before to after the corporate yoga classes. They concluded that yoga practice appears to be a promising intervention for depression and that it produces many beneficial emotional, psychological and biological effects.Yoga also has the added benefit of being cost effective and easy to implement.
Yoga Improves Brain Function More Than Aerobic Exercises
Researchers from the University of Illinois reported in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health that people have significantly superior brain function after a bout of yoga exercise compared to aerobic exercise. Study leader, Professor Neha Gothe and team set out to determine what the effects of an acute yoga exercise session, compared to aerobic exercise, might be on cognitive performance. Cognitive performance refers to a person’s mental processes, including memory, attention, producing and understanding language, learning, problem solving, reasoning, and decision making. The researchers found that after the yoga exercise, the participants’ cognitive performance had improved much more compared to after their aerobic sessions or at baseline.
In fact, cognitive performance after aerobic exercise was not statistically different from the readings measured at baseline, contradicting some previous study results. Prof. Gothe said:
“The breathing and meditative exercises aim at calming the mind and body and keeping distracting thoughts away while you focus on your body, posture or breath. Maybe these processes translate beyond yoga practice when you try to perform mental tasks or day-
The researchers suggested that perhaps enhanced self-
Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), including a renowned Nobel Laureate, investigated how intensive brief daily yogic meditation practice over just 8 weeks could affect an enzyme called telomerase, which is strongly associated with aging. A rigorous, randomized controlled study of 39 participants, found the meditators had a 43% increase in telomerase activity. The scientists concluded that the positive effects of meditation may well reduce the aging of cells and also increase cellular longevity.
Meditation Improves Your Brain Function & Makes You Smarter
Several groundbreaking studies have shown how meditation, especially when practiced over the long-
Dr. Sara Lazar of the Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, found these brain changes to be especially apparent in long-
While research reveals long-
and some yoga practice. These results suggest that even short-
Experts who study the brain have discovered a biological component to happiness. It seems people who describe themselves as “very happy” have a larger and more active left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with positive mood (or affect), than people who are in a negative mood state. Activation in the right prefrontal cortex is associated with negative feelings. Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin, one of the foremost researchers to study the effects of contemplative practices on the brain, found that meditation increases the activity of the left prefrontal cortex associated with positive mood states. These changes are associated with greater levels of equanimity and happiness and well as more emotional resiliency.
The good news is you don’t necessarily have to settle for the brain you were born with. We know that we can change our brains when engaging in specific behaviours or activities through a feature of the brain called plasticity. So if you feel that you are incapable of dealing with stress, or that you your mood is deteriorating, yoga and meditation is one way to climb out of this emotional abyss.