Yoga and science. Science and yoga. Two of my favorite topics to read, discuss and practice. So when they overlap, I get really excited! And this article by E.J.. Johnson titled: Should I Go To Restorative Yoga or Just Take a Nap? covers both topics.
In the article, Johnson writes:
"A study from the American Diabetes Association observed a focus group of obese women who practiced restorative yoga over a 48-week period and a group who engaged in a stretching program over the same time period. They found that those who practiced restorative yoga lost a significant amount of subcutaneous fat over the six-month program compared to those in the stretch group, and those same women continued to lose during the maintenance period once the program was over. The study credits this to the practice's focus on relaxation and stress reduction, which led to a decrease in cortisol (the hormone we blame for abdominal fat)."
This study and its findings are intriguing so I set out to do a bit more research and came across the study and the American Diabetes Association conference article on the study embeded below. I wanted to share with you some highlights:
So what is restorative or yin yoga? Essentially, these are yoga practices that a predominantly practiced on the floor, using an abundance of props, and once you settle into the pose - you hold the pose for a long period of time - sometimes three minutes but seven, ten and fourteen minutes or more are also possible. You practice a deep, rhythmic and sustaining breath while in the poses. Sound easy? It's not easy for the body or the mind but with practice, it does get easier, deeper, and more relaxing. And that's the science: relaxing to reset your body chemistry and reduce the hormone cortisol. Cortisol and stubborn belly fat are supportive friends to each other and the scientific thinking about restorative or yin yoga is that the deep, sustained relaxation of this practice reduces your body's cortisol levels. The reduction in cortisol allows for the reduction of stubborn abdominal fat.
I love reading and writing about science and yoga but now it's time for me to unroll my mat, be still and reduce belly fat. After all, it is the holiday season!
According to data from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) released in November 2018, the number of American adults and children using yoga and meditation has significantly increased over previous years and the use of chiropractic has increased modestly for adults and held steady for children.
For more on this study, follow this link.
Have you ever "felt" the boom of drum or the chords of a bass guitar? Think of those times you attended a parade, sports event or concert - you can hear and often feel the music.
Music is a vibration - a wave a sound energy.
And you too are vibration at the molecular level. These molecular vibrations throughout your cells lead to thoughts. Thoughts lead to words and these words leave to actions. So, your actions start with that molecular vibration.
So what happens when certain musical sound waves interact with your molecular vibration? Wow, this is getting exciting!
Let' me come back to that question in a moment. Music is part of our collective cultural and ancestral histories. A couple examples: chanting/singing have been part of the African, Asian, Egyptian, European, Hindi, Native American, and other cultures. Musical instruments, like the didgeridoo, drums, singing bowls and others, are documented in the histories of many cultures. The examples go on and on.
Let's get back to the question: So what happens when certain musical sound waves interact with your molecular vibration?
A 2016 study titled “Effects of Singing Bowl Sound Meditation on Mood, Tension, and Well-being: An Observational Study” sheds light into that question.
The authors set out to examine the possibility that merely lying down and listening to the high-intensity, low-frequency combination of singing bowls, gongs, and bells in a sound meditation could induce a deep relaxation response and positively affect mood and sense of well-being.
Poor mood and elevated anxiety are linked to increased incidence of disease heart disease, diabetes, addiction, and mental health issues have all been linked to stress and tension.
The study examined the effects of Tibetan singing bowl meditation on mood, anxiety, pain, and spiritual well-being with 60 some individuals in their twenties to seventies. The groups were asked to quantify their stress/tension and physical pain levels both before and after their practice of lying still and listening to the high-intensity, low-frequency sound meditation.
Here's a quick summary of the results:
For practical purposes, you can use this study as an approach for a healing meditation. It's quite simple: Be still. Listen. Breathe. Heal.
The full study is below.