Yoga Can Help You Heal

YRS1As a yoga practitioner, I was eager to attend the lecture by Dr. Loren Fishman at the Yoga Research Society’s 40th annual conference held at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia this past weekend. Dr. Loren Fishman is a physiatrist at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons with a private practice in Manhattan. He practices yoga on a daily basis, since he studied with B.K.S. Iyengar back in the 1960s. Since then he has published many academic studies on the healing power of yoga.

In his lecture he shared his study on the therapeutic benefits of practicing Vasistahsana (side plank pose). He worked with 130 cases of people who suffered from scoliosis, a condition that causes the spine to curve in an S-shape. Patients, whose spine curved from side to side, were asked to perform this basic pose on the curved side for a few minutes a day. As a result, the muscles in the lower back and abdomen strengthened which allowed the spine to straighten.

X-rays were taken before the study and three months later. The X-rays showed that 108 out of the 130 people showed improvement in their spines.

Dr. Fishman also reported that practicing sirsasana, (headstand) benefited those who suffered from rotator cuff syndrome. Even doing supported headstand was therapeutic.

Strengthening poses such as virabhadrasana II (warrior two) helped in preventing and treating osteoporosis. Tests showed that bone mass actually transformed from loss to growth after regular practice for three months. Not only that but yoga can improve your balance, which can prevent fractures that occur from falling.

If you suffer from any of these conditions you may want to explore how yoga can benefit you. The next conference will be in the spring of 2015. Please visit for more information.

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