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article: scientific studies of yoga and meditation

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  • Nina
    http://www.yogajournal.com/health/114_1.cfm Most of us who love our yogic practices and enjoy their physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits don t worry
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 21, 2003
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      "Most of us who love our yogic practices and enjoy their physical,
      emotional, and spiritual benefits don't worry about why or how they
      work; we just do them. Some folks, however, can't rest without hard
      evidence. They're part of the push toward finding out whether
      alternative therapies, including yoga and meditation, have health
      benefits that can be measured."

      In researching medical claims by several lines of yoga, I came across
      this article. The article discusses three individuals who have been
      inspired by their practice of yoga and meditation to look deeper into
      the efficacy of their selected discipline through scientifically
      grounded studies. What I have drawn from this article and others like
      it is that...

      ...there is no one solution that will provide a cure of all ills.
      ...each ailment must be addressed as a unique scenario.
      ...the tenets of western physiology do apply to eastern practices
      (and we are becoming more and more able to specify the physiological
      workings of eastern practices).
      ...that the very same thing that can cure a symptom can exacerbate it
      when overdone or done incorrectly.

      While the best guide to discernment is found within, it is wise to do
      one's legwork as regards the medical claims of one's selected
      discipline. Become an ardent student of physiology and anatomy, in
      addition to spirituality, and understand how the methods of your
      discipline work the body. Become familiar with other disciplines,
      their claims and their workings, and be willing to compare and
      contrast. Become strictly familiar with your own body, and with how
      your discipline translates through it. Cast off fantasy and desire in
      this respect, be willing to see and admit all sides of the discipline.

      I really appreciated Vedanthan's ability to see all sides of his
      discipline. From the article:

      His studies so far seem to indicate that yoga helps to improve his
      patients' sense of well-being in greater measure than the changes it
      makes in their pulmonary conditions. The importance of this cannot be
      dismissed: Earlier research indicates that asthma is more likely to
      kill patients who have negative attitudes and poor self-image.

      Vedanthan was pleased to see the patients in his published study
      become more upbeat and watched as the majority of the non-yoga group
      started yoga practice when the study ended—and he was even more
      pleased that some of those in the original study still practiced yoga
      five or six years later.

      "They are motivated by their success," he says, "and they continue."

      Ever the Western skeptic as well as the yoga devotee, Vedanthan tells
      his patients, "Add yoga to your medical regimen so your quality of
      life improves. You can't say yoga is the answer for everything, but
      it has a place. Do it, and it will help."

      -end of excerpt-

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