I fully intend to add a post or two about the Manouso Manos Iyengar yoga workshop at the Ann Arbor YMCA that I attended this past weekend, but I'm still processing what I experienced in those classes. They were excellent classes, giving me a lot of "food for thought" both in the asana (posture) work and in the philosophy of yoga. At some point I'll share more about my experiences.
In the meantime, this post is a follow-up to an earlier post Iyengar Yoga and Low Back Pain, from Oct. 6, 2009
I know Kimberly Williams, who designed and ran the study, and her husband (the teacher in the video-taped class) from various yoga workshops that we've attended, and am so pleased that the study produced such positive results!
As in my previous post about this West Virginia University study on back pain and Iyengar yoga, the video reports that people with low back pain who took a specially-designed Iyengar Yoga class did better than those who received standard medical care for back pain (physical therapy, muscle relaxants, and pain medications). Those who did yoga had less back pain and less depression than those receiving standard medical care. They were able to sit longer, lift more, and walk further, enjoying a better quality of life.
The Iyengar yoga class helped the patients retrain the musculo-skeletal system to bring about better balance and alignment in the body, resulting in a healthier back.
Most Iyengar yoga classes are general classes, not designed to specifically improve low back pain, but the principals remain the same. Certified Iyengar Yoga teachers are rigorously trained to help students develop better alignment in all parts of the body, which helps to create a healthier body in general. This takes time and diligence, of course, on the part of the student as well as the teacher. The student needs to practice in between classes as well as to regularly attend classes.
I've heard from a number of you who come to my classes that your backs (or knees or shoulders) have felt much better since starting a yoga class. It's truly a transformational approach to health!