Mental health benefits of yoga

Yoga and Mental Health: Happiness & Its Causes

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Wow how’s your inspiration land going

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working overtime it’s magnificent isn’t

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it now at lunchtime Shannon and Thomas

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from the the previous session will be or

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Thomas will be signing books and Shannon

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will be signing copies of her CD in the

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bookshop in the Wellness Expo next door

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so if you want to get in there get a

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two-for-one offer you can they’ll be

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there side by side put your hand up if

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you do yoga okay

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good percentage not quite a hundred

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percent what’s going on look I think

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yoga is part of the zeitgeist now isn’t

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it people are looking for more they’re

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looking for meaning and they’re turning

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to yoga you can’t walk down the street

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without tripping over someone doing

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downward dog or getting slapped in the

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face by someone saluting the Sun it’s

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everywhere but of course

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yoga’s more than just positions and

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asanas it is a philosophy it’s a way of

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living and we are very fortunate to have

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here today someone who’s going to take

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us through the research on what yoga can

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do for you do for us Michael demanding

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core is one of the most highly respected

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yoga teachers in Australia he’s had 30

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years experience teaching it and he’s

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established the yoga Institute in the

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year 2000 he has degrees in education

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and psychology he’s a registered

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counseling psychologist and right now

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he’s doing PhD research in the area of

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yoga and mental health please make

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welcome to the stage Michael demanding

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core

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good morning or is it afternoon now

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already it’s great to be here with you

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I’ve got 13 and a half minutes so let’s

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go we’ve already had a quick show of

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hands but I was backstage and I didn’t

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see it so can I ask you to raise your

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hand again if you do yoga and guys I

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don’t mean that you’ve done it once or

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twice to keep your girlfriend or your

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partner happy

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I mean you’ve developed you know you

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regularly done yoga in the last few

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years okay great

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keep your hand raised if you do yoga at

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home or by yourself somewhere numbers

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are down keep your hand raised if the

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yoga that you do at home all by yourself

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somewhere was something that was

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tailored and designed for your own

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personal needs numbers are way down so

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that’s not surprising in what we look at

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in the broader in the broader population

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of the number of people who do yoga

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regularly a very small percentage have

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developed a habit as as tell was talking

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about this morning of a personal

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practice at home and that’s what we’ll

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look at today first of all we’re going

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to examine and I’m going to ask you to

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rethink some of the popular ideas of

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what yoga is all about and then we’ll

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look at yoga as a personal self-care

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practice and then finally I’m going to

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show you some exciting new research that

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we’ve been doing about how yoga actually

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makes us happier

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so yoga’s a very broad term it’s been

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around a long time it’s a large umbrella

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and many things fit in under this

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umbrella there’s lots of different

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styles and approaches and different

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people have different ideas about what I

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think yoga is and what yoga is not

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what’s common to all of those beliefs

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right throughout history and in today’s

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modern world is that

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amongst other things helps the mind

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people often associate yoga as being a

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physical practice well we’re having a

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look at that might even challenge some

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of those ideas what’s very common is

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that people start doing yoga for

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physical benefits myself included and

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I’ve been doing this a long time but we

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continue doing yoga for the benefits it

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brings for the mind and there’s some

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actually recent research in Australia

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that shows some really good numbers on

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this yoga includes a lot of different

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types of practices but there are four

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main areas that we’ll look at first is

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work whoops I think you can read the

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jumbled letters that’s a body not a bod

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why so yoga includes working with our

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bodies probably the part of yoga that

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people are most familiar with includes

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postures and movements and a whole range

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you think what we call yoga arsenal

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secondly it works with the Brit breath

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that says breath whoops and we work with

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the breath in yoga to establish a calm

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smooth rhythm of our breathing and there

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are specific breathing techniques we

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call pranayama the third thing in yoga

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is we also work with the mind and whilst

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working with the body and working with

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the breath have benefits for the mind in

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yoga we also work directly with the mind

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and that includes practices of

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mindfulness and a whole range of other

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practices of meditation it includes

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visualization mental imagery

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affirmations a whole range of other

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things and then fourth the system of

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yoga is also about cultivating positive

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values and this is not something that

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people who do yoga do because they’re

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nice people it’s integral to what yoga

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is all about the cultivation of

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gratitude compassion kindness

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connectedness

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purpose and meaning Thomas was speaking

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about earlier all of these are

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integrated parts of yoga practice and

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what yoga is all about each of those

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four areas have lots of evidence to show

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that they work to show that they have

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benefits in mental health some of that

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is researching yoga but most of it’s not

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different fields of research show that

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working with the body helps working with

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the breath helps working with the mind

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in particular mindfulness works and the

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cultivation of positive values works but

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what yoga is is a system that brings

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them all together it’s not made up of

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four separate components it’s an

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integrated system now Shannon was just

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saying it’s about working with the whole

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person and the whole of our lives and

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this is really powerful so but why am I

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telling you this

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many of you would know that already this

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is what yoga is about the reason I’m

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telling you this is because today most

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people think Yoga is primarily about

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working with the body and that’s not a

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criticism of modern yoga it’s just the

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way that it’s kind of evolved in the

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modern world and I’m asking us to

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rethink that today oh by the way doing

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all of those yoga postures is only for

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those of us who are strong and flexible

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enough and many people actually it puts

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them off because they think that doing

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yoga is you know putting yourself in all

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these kind of weird and wonderful

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positions so I can’t do that I don’t

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know how many people have said to me and

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I’m sure to many of you I can’t do yoga

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I’m not flexible enough

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well let’s rethink that the second thing

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that I’d like us to rethink to explore

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is that most people think that doing

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yoga means going to yoga classes and we

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saw that in our show of hands a short

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while ago

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and again that’s understandable in the

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way that yoga has developed in today’s

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modern world and there’s nothing wrong

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with that by the way yo the classes

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bring a lot of people – a lot of benefit

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all over the world myself included I run

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a center that has yoga classes of course

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I want people to come to yoga classes I

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train people to teach yoga classes of

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course however if we take a more

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personalized approach yoke is actually

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more effective in many of the speakers

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we’ve heard from this morning a more

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personalized approach is more effective

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than a standardized approach let me say

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that again or say it in a different way

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yoga works best when we develop a more

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personalized approach and if we can

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genuinely do that that means anyone can

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do it everyone can do it that’s a bit of

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a cliche these days anyone can do yoga

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well yeah kind of as an aside when

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people choose to do yoga at home many of

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them don’t know what to do how am I

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going to work out what to do that’s

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going to work best for me compared to

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someone else so generally speaking

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taking your personal is a very bit like

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the fitness industry 20 years ago

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everyone will actually not everyone some

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people we’re going to fitness classes

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mostly aerobics or something like that

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you can still go to fitness classes

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today but now we have personal trainers

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and we see the benefit of personal

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trainers in the fitness industry fitness

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group classes are still good but 20

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years ago there was no such thing as a

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fitness trainer as a personal trainer so

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again why am I telling you this

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this is not a new idea

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yoga has had a personal approach for

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millennia

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and yet in today’s world of yoga it is

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actually a new idea so if it’s a new and

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interesting idea that yoga is more than

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making shapes with your body and more

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than just going to yoga classes in fact

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much more and more effective if that’s a

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new and interesting idea is there any

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evidence to show that it works well this

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is where I’m really excited to tell you

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about my own research the PhD that I’m

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doing just about to finish with the

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National Institute of complementary

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medicine at Western Sydney University

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we’ve conducted a fairly large clinical

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trial it’s a randomized controlled trial

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we had over a hundred participants in it

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all of whom were suffering from

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depression and/or anxiety and there were

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two groups has a random

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control trial one group was given yoga

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and continue with their normal mental

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health care and the other group

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continued with their mental health care

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without the yoga the yoga was meeting

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with the yoga teacher for four

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individual one-to-one sessions there

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were no yoga classes and in those

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sessions the yoga teacher helped each

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and every person work out cultivating a

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habit of doing a personalized yoga

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practice at home here’s the results the

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depression scores went down 33 percent

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by doing six weeks of regular yoga at

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home anxiety scores went down 26 percent

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by doing yoga compared to not doing yoga

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scores of psychological distress that’s

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the Kessler scale those of you who know

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that the k10 went down 34 percent after

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six weeks of a regular home practice and

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scores have met the frequency of

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negative experiences and negative

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emotions went down 17 percent so there

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the scores that went down there the

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improvements we saw in the mental health

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but a whole lot of scores went up the

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frequency of negative positive

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experiences and positive emotions went

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up 19 percent by doing yoga

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scores of resilience we measured that as

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well very important factor in mental

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health went up 13 percent you can see

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there they went down one percent by not

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doing yoga don’t worry about that’s not

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that significant an overall measure of

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mental health went up twenty percent and

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all they were doing was maybe on average

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10 or 15 minutes three or four times a

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week at home I’ll say that again the

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average was about 12 minutes regularly

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four or five times a week over six weeks

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we can all do that if we cultivate the

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habit and finally a

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of flourishing this is a major that was

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developed by Edina some of you would

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know of his work he’s actually presented

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at this event a couple of years ago

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scores of flourishing in people’s lives

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to increase 12% for those of you who are

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interested in the statistical method

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behind this and the statistical results

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each of those group differences were

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statistically significant at the 0.01

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level some of you just glazed over but

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for the strategist statisticians and

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researchers amongst us statistically

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significant on every one of those

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measures I’m really excited to say we’ve

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had that putt that study accepted for

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publication in one of the world’s

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leading mental health journals it’s

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actually online yesterday in that

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journal now all I’ve got to do is finish

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the PhD so let’s rethink what yoga is

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all about it’s not about just putting

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yourself into weird and wonderful

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postures although working with our

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bodies is very important Yoga is a truly

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multi-dimensional whole-person

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integrated approach where we work with

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our body breath mind and meaning take

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one of those away and we often have

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imbalance and developing the habit of a

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personalized yoga practice something

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that works for you opens up a whole

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range of possibilities for everyone and

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every body and there’s good evidence to

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show that this works specifically

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developing the habit of a personal

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approach to yoga makes us happier the

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evidence shows that thank you

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