According to a recent 2016 survey, one-in-ten people in the US are currently practising yoga, which is double the amount of just a few years ago. Yoga is becoming increasingly popular across modern, Western society whilst concurrently being increasingly subjected to rigorous scientific trials. Yoga has been shown by over 3,000 scientific studies to have a far-reaching range of benefits for both physical and psychological health. As study after study demonstrates yoga’s tremendous and unparalleled benefits for a wide range of ailments, both scientific researchers and the medical community at large wish to determine the exact mechanisms that enable yoga to soothe so many physical and psychological complaints. This ‘how?’ is on the lips and in the hearts of many of those who wish to expound yoga’s benefits and ensure that it reaches the people who need it the most. As countries across the globe begin and continue to seek ways of embedding yoga into healthcare we are called as a yoga community to delve into these connections between modern scientific innovations and yoga. Concurrently, we are invited to utilize this knowledge and employ these innovations with compassion and tenacity.

In our new Science of Yoga training, conceived of and delivered by Heather Mason, we open our arms to the findings gleaned from the scientific and medical communities and delve into ways of creating individualised yoga therapy for each client seeking our support. Heather Mason, who is a medical physiologist and yoga teacher with a background in neuroscience, has conducted extensive research into breathing practices and techniques and will share with us how precise breathing assessments can give us a unique and sophisticated picture of a person’s particular needs and the specific yoga practices that will be of most benefit to them. In addition, Heather uses heart-rate monitors to assess which yoga poses are best suited to each client’s needs; a skill she will also share with us in the course of this training.

By measuring the alterations in a person’s breathing and heart rate whilst in different poses, we are able to determine both which poses most effectively calm and soothe their nervous system and how long would be optimum to hold them in each pose. From these innovative techniques, which are not currently being used in this way anywhere else in the world, we are equipped to meet every person’s unique physiology and needs and, thus, provide them with an evidence-based and personally-tailored practice to support their physiological and physical health needs and propensities.

We are extremely excited about our Science of Yoga training, which will be held across five days in London next year, April 2017 (dates to be announced). Practitioners will leave brimming with new techniques and assessment tools alongside a wide range of yogic practices for a host of physical and psychological health conditions.

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