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Imagination is crucial in the Buddhist contemplative practices of Tibet. And yet the path to freedom in which they participate requires release from all imagining. This conundrum leads us to examine a sequence of practices from two of Tibet’s greatest poet-philosopher–practitioners, Longchen Rabjampa and Jigme Lingpa. In our reading, their instructions identify somatic, cognitive, creative, intentional, distracted, confused, or corrective states of imagination. Intentional imagining is an intentional method for resolving confused or distracted imagining. In detailing this we ask also how imagination differs from or overlaps with thought. We find that training in the intentional can elicit transmodal perception of reminiscence of what we knew as infants, suggesting that the imagination helps take us deep into body-mind memory. Finally, and especially significant for insights into the deep structure of perception, we note Dzogchen’s appreciation of the imagination’s capacity for dissolving itself, into a particularly expansive dimension of human experience.
Yoga has been considered a stress decreasing method in treatment of depression and anxiety disorders whose prevalence is unfortunately increasing gradually.The goal of this study is to evaluate the influence of yoga on depression and anxiety in women referred to yoga clinic.
This is a clinical trial study on all persons who were referred to a yoga clinic for women, from July 2006 to July 2007. All new cases were evaluated on admission using a personal information questionnaire, Beck and Speilberger tests, and then divided into two groups of case and control randomly. The case group (n=34) participated in two weekly yoga classes of 90 min duration for two months. The control group (n=31) were assigned to a waiting list. Both groups were evaluated again after two months.
The average prevalence of depression in the case group before and after yoga course was 12.82 ±7.9 and 10.79 ±6.04 respectively, a statistically insignificant decrease (p=0.13).
However, compared with the control group, the women who participated in yoga classes showed a significant decrease in state anxiety (p=0.03)and trait anxiety (p<0.001).
Participation in a two month yoga class is very likely to lead to significant improvement in anxiety of women who suffer from anxiety disorders.
This study suggests that yoga can be considered as a complementary therapy or an alternative method for medical therapy in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
There is growing evidence for yoga's neurobiological effects in people with psychiatric disorders. Postulated mechanisms of action include: (a) modulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis; (b) enhancement of GABAergic neurotransmission; (c) autonomic modulation; and (d) neuroendocrinological effects. Yoga as a therapeutic intervention in psychiatric disorders appears promising and merits further attention in clinical practice and research.
Research identifies a need for expanded therapeutic options for people with mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety disorders treated within the UK National Health Service (NHS). We aimed to examine potential benefits of a Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) based breath intervention delivered in this context.
SKY is a structured programme derived from yoga in which participants are taught relaxation and stress-management techniques including body postures, breathing exercises and cognitive-behavioural procedures. Previous research has demonstrated benefits for patients with clinical and non-clinical depression and anxiety. However, SKY has not yet been evaluated as a therapeutic option for patients accessing NHS primary care mental health services.
We evaluated an existing programme available to NHS patients in South East England. The intervention is community-based and delivered via four weekly ‘stress buster sessions’ (1-h duration), one weekend intensive workshop (2.5 days) and four weekly (90 min) follow-up sessions. Analyses were conducted on existing data [measures of depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-9) and anxiety (generalised anxiety disorder-7)] collected as part of routine care, at the start of the programme and three follow-up assessments.
Baseline data were available for 991 participants, of which 557 (56.2%) attended at least three weekly workshops, 216 (21.8%) attended the weekend workshop and 169 (17.1%) completed the programme. Statistically significant (P<0.05) improvements in depression and anxiety were observed in all three outcome assessments. Clinically meaningful change was observed for 74.6% of participants completing the programme. Findings indicate that SKY has the potential to benefit patient outcomes and could be offered more widely as a therapeutic option. We recommend further research to explore patients’ experiences of the programme, determine the number of sessions necessary for improvement/ recovery, define the population most likely to respond and examine potential cost savings (e.g., reductions in antidepressant prescribing/referrals to secondary care).
The 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (CSICH) was not intended to have legal repercussions in international trade. Nevertheless, intangible cultural heritage (ICH) may interact with trade regulation under various scenarios. The CSICH “Representative List” inscribes numerous ICH elements with real and potential international commercial aspects and consequent trade law implications. These emergent trade law–ICH regime dynamics require not only some critical reflection (for example, is safeguarding of ICH ultimately dependent on commodification or, at least in some cases, significantly prone to commercial capture?) but also doctrinal legal analysis. This article undertakes a survey of many plausible ICH–trade interactions (generally excluding intellectual property issues), providing an analytical framework with reference to a series of case sketches of selected CSICH inscriptions such as kimjang, beer culture in Belgium, and yoga. These and other cases may indeed raise issues under world trade law, including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the General Agreement on Trade in Services, the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, and subsidies regulation. Trade law may have underestimated the significance of ICH as a growing field. At the same time, ICH law may be developing without thinking through how it is impacted by commercial interests and international trade law.
The objective of this study was to determine whether hatha yoga is an efficacious adjunctive intervention for individuals with continued depressive symptoms despite antidepressant treatment.
We conducted a randomized controlled trial of weekly yoga classes (n = 63) v. health education classes (Healthy Living Workshop; HLW; n = 59) in individuals with elevated depression symptoms and antidepressant medication use. HLW served as an attention-control group. The intervention period was 10 weeks, with follow-up assessments 3 and 6 months afterwards. The primary outcome was depression symptom severity assessed by blind rater at 10 weeks. Secondary outcomes included depression symptoms over the entire intervention and follow-up periods, social and role functioning, general health perceptions, pain, and physical functioning.
At 10 weeks, we did not find a statistically significant difference between groups in depression symptoms (b = −0.82, s.e. = 0.88, p = 0.36). However, over the entire intervention and follow-up period, when controlling for baseline, yoga participants showed lower levels of depression than HLW participants (b = −1.38, s.e. = 0.57, p = 0.02). At 6-month follow-up, 51% of yoga participants demonstrated a response (⩾50% reduction in depression symptoms) compared with 31% of HLW participants (odds ratio = 2.31; p = 0.04). Yoga participants showed significantly better social and role functioning and general health perceptions over time.
Although we did not see a difference in depression symptoms at the end of the intervention period, yoga participants showed fewer depression symptoms over the entire follow-up period. Benefits of yoga may accumulate over time.
Global population aging will result in increasing rates of cognitive decline and dementia. Thus, effective, low-cost, and low side-effect interventions for the treatment and prevention of cognitive decline are urgently needed. Our study is the first to investigate the effects of Kundalini yoga (KY) training on mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Older participants (≥55 years of age) with MCI were randomized to either a 12-week KY intervention or memory enhancement training (MET; gold-standard, active control). Cognitive (i.e. memory and executive functioning) and mood (i.e. depression, apathy, and resilience) assessments were administered at baseline, 12 weeks and 24 weeks.
At baseline, 81 participants had no significant baseline group differences in clinical or demographic characteristics. At 12 weeks and 24 weeks, both KY and MET groups showed significant improvement in memory; however, only KY showed significant improvement in executive functioning. Only the KY group showed significant improvement in depressive symptoms and resilience at week 12.
KY group showed short- and long-term improvements in executive functioning as compared to MET, and broader effects on depressed mood and resilience. This observation should be confirmed in future clinical trials of yoga intervention for treatment and prevention of cognitive decline (NCT01983930).
Yoga and physical exercise have been used as adjunctive intervention for cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia (SZ), but controlled comparisons are lacking.
A single-blind randomised controlled trial was designed to evaluate whether yoga training or physical exercise training enhance cognitive functions in SZ, based on a prior pilot study.
Consenting, clinically stable, adult outpatients with SZ (n=286) completed baseline assessments and were randomised to treatment as usual (TAU), supervised yoga training with TAU (YT) or supervised physical exercise training with TAU (PE). Based on the pilot study, the primary outcome measure was speed index for the cognitive domain of ‘attention’ in the Penn computerised neurocognitive battery. Using mixed models and contrasts, cognitive functions at baseline, 21 days (end of training), 3 and 6 months post-training were evaluated with intention-to-treat paradigm.
Speed index of attention domain in the YT group showed greater improvement than PE at 6 months follow-up (p<0.036, effect size 0.51). In the PE group, ‘accuracy index of attention domain showed greater improvement than TAU alone at 6-month follow-up (p<0.025, effect size 0.61). For several other cognitive domains, significant improvements were observed with YT or PE compared with TAU alone (p<0.05, effect sizes 0.30–1.97).
Both YT and PE improved attention and additional cognitive domains well past the training period, supporting our prior reported beneficial effect of YT on speed index of attention domain. As adjuncts, YT or PE can benefit individuals with SZ.
This article explores potential differences in yoga practice between middle-and older-aged adults. A health belief – life course model frames this research, and a mixed-methods analytic strategy is employed to examine life course pathways into yoga and motivations to practice, as well as perceived barriers and health benefits. For the quantitative analyses, a convenience sample of 452 participants was collected using an online questionnaire. For the qualitative analyses, face-to-face interviews were conducted with a sub-set of 20 participants. Unique differences between the age groups (both current age and age when started yoga) as well as by gender were found for selected pathways, reasons/motivations, and barriers to engage in yoga as well as for perceived health benefits. In addition, results underscore the importance of informational cues and social linkages that affect how individuals adopt and experience yoga. Implications for health promotion programs that target older adults are discussed.
Between the First and Second World Wars, two retired British military officers, Francis Yeats-Brown and J. F. C. Fuller, embraced fascism and yoga. In their publications and lecture tours, they used their past experiences as soldiers in India to encourage strength, discipline, and virility. While Fuller believed that yoga could teach men to be strong and powerful leaders, Yeats-Brown celebrated yoga as a part of “Aryan” racial inheritance. This article examines both Fuller's and Yeats-Brown's published accounts and archival trails in order to understand the development of global masculinities within individual British lives. It reveals that their engagement with yoga was a defensive effort to appropriate the “regeneration” of martial masculinity encouraged by Indian nationalists. Claiming yoga for “great men” and “Aryan” audiences became a way to rewrite their own histories of service to the British Empire. They erased the weakness and fragility of imperial life, and replaced it with idealized bodies that were strong, disciplined, and virile. In so doing, they attempted to save imperial soldiers from political and cultural irrelevance. This reimagining used imperial hierarchies of gender and racial difference to encourage a “universal” model of martial masculinity that could restore the power of the British Empire.
Schizophrenia (SZ) is a chronic illness that is treated symptomatically. Cognitive dysfunction is a core feature of SZ that is relatively intractable to pharmacotherapy. Yoga can improve cognitive function among healthy individuals. A recent open trial indicated significant benefits of yoga training (YT) in conjunction with conventional pharmacotherapy among patients with SZ.
To describe the protocol for an ongoing randomised controlled trial designed to test whether the reported beneficial effects of YT on cognitive function among SZ patients can be replicated. Secondarily, the effects of YT on daily functioning living skills are evaluated.
Consenting patients with SZ receive routine clinical treatment and are randomised to adjunctive YT, adjunctive physical exercise (PE) or treatment as usual (proposed N = 234 total, N = 78 in each group). The trial involves YT or PE 5 days a week and lasts 3 weeks. Participants are evaluated thrice over 6 months. Cognitive functions measured by Trail Making Test, University of Pennsylvania Neurocognitive Computerised Battery were primary outcome measures while clinical severity and daily functioning measured by Independent Living Skills Survey were secondary outcome measures.
A total of 309 participants have been randomised as of 31 August 2013, which exceeded beyond 294 proposed after attrition. Once participants begin YT or PE they generally complete the protocol. No injuries have been reported.
Short term YT is feasible and acceptable to Indian SZ patients. If beneficial effects of YT are detected, it will provide a novel adjunctive cognitive remediation strategy for SZ patients.
Pierre Bernard and his wife, Blanche DeVries, were among the earliest proponents of postural yoga in America. In 1924, they created the Clarkstown Country Club, where yoga was taught to affluent and influential clientele. The network created through this endeavor not only popularized yoga in the West but also advanced the reinvention of yoga as a science of health and well-being rather than as a religious practice.
This article suggests that the pair's success in marketing yoga coincided with a shift in gender roles underway at the turn of the century. Economic and cultural changes led to the rise of a “New Woman” who was not only more financially independent but also more socially and sexually autonomous. At the same time, a crisis of masculinity led to the rise of the “New Man” as men sought out new cultural forms through which to restore their sense of manhood. Bernard's success depended largely on his ability to capitalize on the perceived “otherness” of yoga, presenting it as a resource for Americans seeking to construct new forms of gender identity. Bernard borrowed from the physical culture movement and presented yoga as an antidote to the emasculating effects of modern society. DeVries taught a combination of yoga and sensual Orientalist dances that offered women a form of sexual autonomy and embodied empowerment. By utilizing these strategies, Bernard and DeVries helped lay important foundations for modern postural yoga and its associations with athleticism, physical beauty, and sexuality.
This chapter discusses complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments preferred by patients with mood disorders. Omega-3 fatty acids are lower in depressed suicide attempters and completers compared with depressed nonattempters, a concentration-dependent effect, suggesting increased suicide risk in individuals with extremely low omega-3 levels. St. John's wort (SJW) has been extensively studied as a monotherapy for the treatment of depression. Among the CAM treatments, evidence supports the use of SJW as a monotherapy, and omega-3, S-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe), and several methylators as augmentation strategies in the treatment of depression. Methodological flaws are a consistent critique of CAM, and larger, longer-term studies are needed to assess CAM efficacy. Interventions such as yoga, acupuncture, and improved nutrition are inherently difficult to blind, complicating their assessment. Clinical experience suggests that CAM may be helpful in engaging patients and useful in the treatment of carefully selected patients.
Background: Yoga therapy (YT) improves cognitive function in healthy individuals, but its impact on cognitive function among persons with schizophrenia (SZ) has not been investigated.
Objective: To evaluate the adjunctive YT for cognitive domains impaired in SZ.
Methods: Patients with SZ received YT or treatment as usual (TAU; n = 65, n = 23, respectively). Accuracy and speed for seven cognitive domains were assessed using a computerised neurocognitive battery (CNB), thus minimising observer bias. Separately, YT was evaluated among patients with bipolar I disorder (n = 40), major depressive disorder (n = 37) and cardiology outpatients (n = 68). All patients also received routine pharmacotherapy. Patients were not randomised to YT or TAU.
Results: In comparison with the SZ/TAU group, the SZ/YT group showed significantly greater improvement with regard to measures of attention following corrections for multiple comparisons; the changes were more prominent among the men. In the other diagnostic groups, differing patterns of improvements were noted with small-to-medium effect sizes.
Conclusions: Our initial analyses suggest nominally significant improvement in cognitive function in SZ with adjunctive therapies such as YT. The magnitude of the change varies by cognitive domain and may also vary by diagnostic group.
This article provides a new edition and translation of chapter 25 of the Śāradātilaka(tantra), a compendium on mantraśāstra composed, probably in the twelfth century, by Lakṣmaṇadeśika. The chapter itself presents a type of yoga that combines elements we normally associate with different yoga systems. In particular, we find elements associated with systems usually labelled as haṭhayoga, and elements of mantra practice as well. The chapter also contains references to the methodical knowledge of the rise or predominance of the gross elements (bhūtodaya, also known as svarodaya) and its connection with the six rites of magic. The significance of chapter 25 lies in the fact that it provides us insight into the teachings on yoga in a comparatively early text.
Background: The current study examined whether yoga would increase levels of mindfulness in a healthy population. Method: Forty-six participants were randomly assigned to an 8-week yoga intervention group or a wait-list control group. Mindfulness was assessed pre and post yoga, using the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI). Results: Results indicate that the yoga group experienced a significant increase in Overall mindfulness, and in three mindfulness subscales; Attention to the present moment, Accepting and open attitudes toward experience, and Insightful understanding (p < .01). The control group experienced a significant increase in overall mindfulness (p < .02) and insightful understanding (p < .01). Findings suggest that a yoga intervention may be a viable method for increasing levels of trait mindfulness in a healthy population, potentially implicating yoga as a preventive method for the later development of negative emotional mood states (i.e. anxiety and depression). The control group also experienced moderate elevations of mindfulness at the second assessment.
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