The MW Center offers a variety of workshops that help grow your mind and body. Yoga therapist and instructor, Patricia Hillyard, will be teaching classes and giving workshops.
Medical research has documented yoga’s benefits for some special-needs populations. Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University found that older adults and people with multiple sclerosis who participated in a weekly yoga class and home practice for six months showed significant improvement in measures of fatigue compared to a control group that didn’t practice yoga. “We also demonstrated improvements in forward bending and one-legged standing ability,” says neurologist Barry Oken, M.D., who has practiced yoga for 15 years. Such improvements are especially valuable for seniors, since fractures resulting from falls are a leading cause of disability among older adults.
Better posture is another plus, says Julie Lawrence, an Iyengar-certified instructor who collaborated with colleague Jane Carlsen to create the yoga class used in the Oregon study. “Slumping constricts the internal organs and interferes with respiration, circulation, and digestion,” says Lawrence. “Good alignment helps people breathe better, which has a calming effect on the entire body.” Also, she says, just as slumping can reflect and magnify a downbeat emotional state, so good alignment can help you feel more cheerful and energetic.
Yoga’s ability to help stooped seniors stand taller was demonstrated in a recent study of older women with hyperkyphosis (a.k.a. dowager’s hump). Research by Gail Greendale, M.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles, found that one-hour yoga sessions twice a week for 12 weeks helped participants increase their height, reduce the forward curvature of their spines, and improve their scores on physical tests that assessed everyday tasks like walking, rising from a chair, and reaching for an object in front of them. Participants also said the yoga helped reduce pain, improve breathing, and increase endurance. “More than 60 percent reported increased feelings of well-being,” says Greendale.
Although Western scientists are just beginning to study yoga’s potential to alleviate many chronic health conditions, a large number of practitioners swear it’s made a huge difference in their lives. Some are like Eric Small, who’s continued to thrive for 35 years longer than his doctors expected him to live. Others, like Gose, credit it with helping them build and maintain strength, flexibility, and balance. And countless practitioners, like Jaime Powell, have used yoga to help them maintain physical and emotional strength and rehabilitate after injuries and accidents. (Yoga Journal)