Yoga Day USA Offers Antidote
Americans are all stressed out. Yoga Day USA 2008 is the perfect prescription to help us learn to relax. This ninth annual nationwide celebration of yoga is set for Saturday, January 26. Just one class can begin to reverse the harmful effects of stress, and offers a preview of additional benefits of continued practice, including improved breathing, strength and flexibility. Free, low cost or by donation workshops will be available in communities all across the nation.
There's no denying that stress has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, 75 to 90% of doctor visits are for stress related ailments and complaints. Stress is also linked to the six leading causes of death -- heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.
"Stress has even been declared a hazard of the workplace by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration," said Yoga Alliance (YA) Chair Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, Ph.D. "Yoga provides an invaluable mind/body connection that is key to helping us better manage stress and improve our health."
Yoga reduces stress and improves strength, flexibility, coordination, circulation and posture. Practicing yoga reduces levels of cortisol, often called the "stress hormone." And, there's no waiting for the relaxation benefits to begin.
A study conducted by Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and the Yoga Research Society demonstrated that cortisol levels drop significantly beginning with the very first yoga class.
Researchers believe that the deep breathing and poses, or asanas, done in yoga trigger the body's "relaxation response." This helps to bring the body into balance, reducing muscle tension and deactivating the stress response.
Yoga Day USA is presented by Yoga Alliance (YA), a nonprofit professional organization for yoga teaches and schools that sets nationally recognized educational standards for both. Sponsors for Yoga Day USA 2008 include Yoga Journal, Yoga Plus Joyful Living, MINDBODY Online, and the Mid-Atlantic Yoga Association (MAYA).
Yoga Alliance encourages yoga students to ask about a teacher's education before participating in class. YA recommends that all teachers have at least 200 hours of education. The Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) 200 and 500 hour designations ensure a teacher has achieved those levels of education and met YA standards.