What the Experts Say
The health-giving qualities of Yoga have been pronounced by the ancients for thousands of years. However, our Western society likes proof. Now more than ever, science and medicine are providing empirical data confirming what Eastern cultures have intuitively known for ages.
Many people from various professions are working to quantify just what the practice of Yoga can do for people - children and adults. The first Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research (SYTAR) was held in January 2007 to begin to accumulate and disseminate some of these research findings. Indications are that children who practice Yoga may not only be better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves, they may also choose better foods to eat and get more physical activity than children who do not.
Body image issues resulting in conditions from anorexia to obesity plague our children today. Studies shared at SYTAR suggest Yoga may help. The movement, focus on breath awareness and relaxation inherent in a Yoga practice can help children develop better body awareness and improved self-esteem - both powerful components of a healthy body image.
The practice of Yoga is not easily broken down into measureable componets. Even researchers themselves are calling into question methods that have become standard protocol in their field. Read a blog post that further explores this question here: The Lunch That Altered My Orientation To Research on Yoga For Children.
Regardless of what can be measured and who considers the practice of Yoga to be efficacious, according to the tradition of Yoga, the expert is YOU!
The International Association of Yoga Therapists is an excellent source for current research on the benefits of Yoga and the emerging field of "Yoga Therapy."