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A Yoga Pose for Every Problem

Migraines

The research: Migraine sufferers doing yoga weekly have less frequent and intense head pain after three months than a comparable group not doing the poses, a small but important study by Indian researchers found. If you have migraines, it’s best to practice as a preventive measure; once the pain strikes, yoga movements could make it worse.

Helpful yoga pose: Seated forward bend. Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Inhaling, raise your arms to the ceiling and exhale, folding forward from the hips, bringing your hands towards your feet. When you’ve reached as far forward as is comfortable, relax your head, neck and shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds, then release.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The research: One of the first American studies documenting yoga’s ability to help specific health concerns was the University of Pennsylvania’s 1998 research published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. People with carpal tunnel syndrome who practiced yoga moves emphasizing the hand and arm joints felt much better after 8 twice-weekly sessions.

Helpful yoga pose: Prayer pose. Sit or stand in a comfortable position with your spine and head centered. Relax your shoulders. Bring your palms together, fingers extended upward, in front of your heart. Gently press your hands together for 30 seconds. If this pose feels too easy, try repeating the move with your hands behind your back.

Anxiety/Depression

The research: Pat Garbarg, MD, a psychiatrist and assistant clinical professor New York Medical College, was so intrigued by the power of yoga breathing that she tested it on perhaps the most anxious and depressed people around–survivors of the 2004 Southeast Asia tsunami! Amazingly, after just six weeks, their depression practically disappeared, and signs of post-traumatic-stress disorder fell 60 percent. If it could work for them, imagine what it can do for run-of-the-mill mood problems.

Helpful yoga pose: Paced breathing. The breathing practices Garbarg tested were complex, but she has found that even the most basic yoga breath works wonders in her less traumatized American patients. Once or, ideally, twice a day, sit quietly and begin slowing down your breaths until inhalations and exhalations become equal in length and last roughly 6 seconds each. Continue this slow, even breathing for up to 20 minutes.

Image credit: Andre Santos.foto / Flickr

Related:
12 Yoga Moves to Overcome Anxiety
7 Yoga Poses to Improve Concentration
10 Yoga Moves to Improve Digestion

Read more: Depression, General Health, Headaches, Health, Self-Help, Spirit, Yoga

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Meryl Davids Landau

Meryl Davids Landau is the author of the new spiritual women's novel, Downward Dog, Upward Fog, which ForeWord Reviews calls "an inspirational gem that will appeal to introspective, evolving women." The novel was recently recommended by Yoga Journal's Blog and Spirituality & Health. Read excerpts at www.DownwardDogUpwardFog.com. Meryl also writes for O: the Oprah Magazine, Whole Living, Reader's Digest and other national magazines.

75 comments

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7:26AM PDT on Jul 18, 2013

ty

3:26AM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

4:15AM PDT on Jul 6, 2013

It's a matter of relaxation

12:04AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

ty

3:09PM PDT on Apr 16, 2013

Excellent article!

11:02AM PDT on Apr 13, 2013

Thank you for the excellent articles on yoga!

5:35PM PDT on Apr 24, 2012

thanks

8:58PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

For me yoga is preventative because it creates flexibility, stamina and balance. It is great to hear about how it can heal problems once they develop as well. Thanks.

10:00PM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

always feel better after doing yoga

7:45PM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

Good information. Thanks.

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