Introducing Dr. Amy Wheeler!
Yoga Sol is pleased to present an important workshop for High School & College Students: Back-to-School Workshop – Student Balance * Focus * Renewal. Amy Wheeler, Ph. D., Professor Cal State San Bernardino and Certified Yoga Therapist brings this workshop to Yoga Sol Sun August 18th 1-3 PM.
This workshop is designed for student to provide tools not only to deal with stress, but to excel on tests, FOCUS IN SPORTS & EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES and to find a calmer and peaceful life.
To introduce you to Dr. Amy and to give you a little more insight into the powerful benefits of yoga for students, I am sharing the article below discussing her research:
YOGA AND ITS BENEFITS EVOLVE
Meditation is a key component, and results can be seen in just a few weeks.
By Tom Valeo, TAMPABAY.COM
Published July 10, 2007
Yoga can “lessen anxiety, heighten concentration and improve motivation in as little as eight weeks,” according to the news release about a research project presented at the recent meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine. This suggests that yoga could help improve the performance of athletes.
But according to Amy Wheeler, who co-authored the study with Traci A. Statler, both instructors at California State University San Bernardino, the greatest benefits of yoga come primarily from meditation.
“Yoga is simply a preparation for meditation,” said Wheeler, who also is yoga director at Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa near Los Angeles. “You do postures to get yourself into a state of mind to meditate.
“While Westerners tend to regard yoga primarily as a physical discipline, in the East it is pursued as a ‘mindful’ discipline that helps people live their lives with clarity and a positive outlook.”
So why not skip the postures and move directly to meditation?
Well, as yoga practitioners age, they tend to place less emphasis on the postures and more on the meditation, according to Wheeler.
“As you move from young adulthood, you would evolve from a posture-based practice to a more meditation-based practice,” she said. “In youth, you do more vigorous poses. In old age, you might sit in a chair and transition directly into meditation.”
Wheeler began to investigate the use of yoga in sports when she was a consultant for five Olympic teams.
“As I was helping to improve the performance of these athletes, I started thinking of the ancient yoga texts,” Wheeler said. “I thought, if yoga can help regular people, it can help athletes, too.”
Alleviating anxiety, increasing concentration and improving motivation “are mentioned in the ancient yoga sutras of Patanjali,” she said. “The text says that long, slow exhalation can reduce anxiety, and that if you practice yoga regularly, you will have a more positive outlook. To me that means you are motivated.”
To test this theory, Wheeler and Statler created questionnaires designed to measure concentration, motivation and anxiety level, and had 84 students fill them out during the second and eighth weeks of a 10-week yoga course.
“We were surprised by the degree of difference in just eight weeks of practice,” said Statler, the lead author of the research paper. “We measured significant increases in all three areas.”
Though Wheeler thinks that yoga can help everyone, she cautions people against embracing the physical component without the meditation.
“If you did all yoga postures and breathing techniques without meditation, you probably would leave agitated,” she said. “. . . It would just be gymnastics or calisthenics . . .”
Incorporating the mental aspect of yoga, however, makes the practice ideal for people as they get older.
“One of the reasons I feel yoga is particularly wonderful for aging people is that it doesn’t have to be very vigorous,” Wheeler said. “People can be in a wheelchair doing arm lifts with deep breathing. You could lie in a hospital bed and do yoga.”