Feb '08 Health

Yoga and Metabolic Syndrome:
More Reasons to Get to Your Nearest Yoga Class

By Sheryl Walters

As a lover of yoga, it gives me great joy to learn about scientific studies varifying what we all seem to notice in our fellow students: this ancient discipline can keep us young and healthy. I practice Mysore style Ashtanga yoga regularly, and I know that there are few things that I have tried that cut stress so strikingly.

A recent study in Chennai, India has shown that a yoga practice is fantastic for treating metabolic syndrome [also known as metabolic syndrome X, syndrome X, insulin resistance syndrome, Reaven's syndrome, and CHAOS]. In fact, the studies show that yoga can actually reverse the clinical and biochemical changes associated with this aging disease.

Metabolic syndrome is one of the biggest causes of premature aging and heart disease. It is a catchall phrase describing a pre-diabetic state that includes symptoms such as high blood pressure, obesity, high triglycerides (bad cholesterol), high blood sugar, and fatigue.

Dr. R.P. Agrawal, of the SP Medical College, Bikaner, India, and colleagues evaluated the beneficial effects of yoga and meditation in 101 adults who showed symptoms of metabolic syndrome. In the study, 55 adults received three months of regular yoga including standard stress management yoga postures and a form of transcendental meditation daily.

The results show that yoga is anti-aging and beneficial for treating metabolic syndrome. Waist circumference, blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglycerides were significantly lower, and "good" HDL cholesterol levels were higher in the yoga group as compared to controls.

Personally, I do yoga for stress release, but this research gives me further reason to jump out of bed and get to my 6:30 Ashtanga yoga class to do those postures (even when it is freezing cold and raining outside!) How far is your nearest yoga class?

Note: This study is published in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice.

Besides being an avid Ashtangi, Sheryl Walters writes a blog DefyAgeNaturally.com on all the best information for naturally looking, feeling and staying young.

No comments: