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5ElementsNew Study Finds Yoga Significantly Reduces Depression in Male Veterans

A new study presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association found that male veterans who had elevated depression scores before a twice weekly hatha yoga program had a significant reduction in depression symptoms after the eight-week program.
How Yoga Benefits Veterans with Depression.

“Yoga is unique in that it combines several things that empirical research has shown to be very helpful for improving depression and other mental health concerns: exercise, mindfulness, and breathing practices, to name a few,” says study information co-investigator Lindsey B. Hopkins, Ph.D., a research fellow at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care Center. “All of these things likely played a role in the benefits that these veterans experienced.”.

The study, which featured 21 male veterans, also found that improvements in depression were significantly correlated with increases in mindfulness and decreases in experiential avoidance—defined as engaging in a particular behavior in order to change or avoid unwanted negative thoughts, emotions, or sensations, even when doing so produces harm. This is consistent with other research, Hopkins says. The social aspect of yoga may also play a role: in interviews, many of the veterans said they derived a great deal of benefit (in terms of mental health and well-being) from having the opportunity to connect with other veterans, she adds.
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Yoga & Mental Health

Yoga5 Ways Yoga Benefits Your Mental Health

Yoga teacher and licensed psychotherapist Ashley Turner says yoga is the key to psychological and emotional healing as well as resolving issues with self-confidence, relationships, and more.

Ever notice how good you feel — mentally — when you’re practicing yoga regularly?

Yoga teacher and licensed psychotherapist Ashley Turner, who is launching a groundbreaking new Yoga Psychology 300-hour advanced yoga teacher training next month, says yoga is the key to psychological and emotional healing as well as resolving issues with self-confidence, relationships, family of origin issues, and more.

“Yoga is a psychology — the whole practice helps us work with the nature of the mind, the nature of being a human, how emotions live in our bodies, how they affect our behavior and our minds,” says Turner, who reveals that yoga helped her recognize and cope with her own low self-esteem. “This course is reclaiming the deeper roots of the practice, not just asana — the mental and emotional benefits.” Read More


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A Life Transformed Through Yoga

A Life Transformed Through Yoga
by Niroga Institute
Oakland California
For several years, Niroga Institute has been training people of color to become Certified Yoga Teachers, committed to serving their communities with cultural competence.


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Hooked on Yoga

Yoga10 Men Share How They Got Hooked on Yoga

Excuses to get out of yoga? We’ve heard ’em all. That’s what makes us love these excerpts from the new book The Yoga Man(ual) so much. Here, 10 guys share how they came around to embracing the practice—and what keeps them coming back to their mat.

Nate Denison
Yoga Teacher

When I was a teenager, my hamstrings were so tight that it hindered my ability to play baseball, basketball, and soccer. I was really passionate about sports and had tried lots of things to loosen up, and then my mom suggested yoga. I was competitive, so I didn’t like that I couldn’t do a lot of the poses and ended up going back to stretching. After college I moved to New York City and started dating a girl who was really into yoga. She managed a really nice studio, Pure Yoga, and I got to take free classes. The relationship didn’t work out, but I grew my practice from there and embraced Bikram. Even if I didn’t know what I was doing with my career, my living situation, or my relationship, I could make it to class and practice. Thoughts would come up and I could let go of them, and when class was over, I could leave all of my worries on the mat and walk out the door with a little peace of mind. I might not have all of the answers to my life figured out, but I have a better sense of direction and self-awareness. There is something very powerful about being able to access that. Yoga doesn’t just give you physical flexibility; it gives you mental flexibility. You become open to other ways of thinking or doing things. Now I teach yoga. I still can’t do all of the postures, but I’ve realized that’s not what makes a good teacher. Read More


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Basics of Sequencing

YogaYoga – Start Your Home Practice Here: The Basics of Sequencing

Use this guide to the basic principles of yoga sequencing to learn how to plan your home practice with intelligence and skill.

Perhaps you have taken a series of introductory yoga classes and want to make yoga a bigger part of your life. Or perhaps you want to refine your asanas. Practicing at home for even a few minutes each day will help you move more deeply into poses than one long practice each week. A home yoga practice can also be an enhancement to your life, a time you spend with yourself to nourish and revitalize. However, if you expect too much of yourself, your yoga practice may turn into another burden or chore. Before embarking on a home practice, consider carefully how much time you have available each day. Account for your working hours, household tasks, and family responsibilities, and see how you can reasonably fit a yoga practice into your life before you begin.

Start simple, practicing a few minutes each day, choosing two or three of your favorite poses. When you are able to practice three times a week, for at least half an hour each time, try the basic sequences included in this article. I encourage long-term students to build their home practice to five days each week, for at least 30 minutes on three days, and at least an hour on two other days. This leaves one day a week for attending class and one day to rest the body completely. Read More


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