In an age where very little stands the test of time, it seems strange that a 5,000 practice is taking the world by storm.
While it might be uncanny that yoga is at its height of popularity globally, it’s no surprise that people from Portland to Brisbane are taking up yoga at record rates. Life from the bronze to the industrial age has always been stressful but in the 21st century where the top five causes of death are all linked to stress, the world has been looking for an answer to deal with a world that demands more from us emotionally, mentally and physically than ever before.
Multi billion dollar industries have been built to help deal with these demands from self help books to healthy eating diets however yoga, which has become a multi billion industry in its own right, arguably has the best claim out of all the practices and products on offer to actually enrich the lives of those who practice it.
A number of studies in the last five years have revealed that yoga provides a number of health benefits from lowering stress and anxiety to improving perceptual and motor skills . A 2007 study showed that yoga can even help cancer patients deal with stress with subjects reporting an impressive 26.9% drop in stress levels . The anecdotal evidence of the power of yoga is plentiful as well as it’s amazing with the Huffington post late last year covering Jared, a man who credited yoga for his amazing 300 lbs weight loss in just over a year.
Even the corporate world has stood up and took notice of the positive effects yoga can have on its practitioners with a growing number of companies, including Silicon Valley giant Google, providing yoga and meditation classes for employees in the hope that “limiting stress will translate into fewer employee absences, lower health care costs and higher morale…”
While the motivation behind companies like Google providing meditation and yoga classes for their employees has very little to do with their well being as opposed to the company’s top and bottom line, the gains the employees make in lower stress levels using meditation and yoga techniques will serve them well in and outside the workplace.
L. M. Buffart et al, 2012, Physical and psychosocial benefits of yoga in cancer patients and survivors, a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, https://ccplanet.cancer.gov/documents/buffart_2012.pdf
N. Hinde, 2015, Obese Man Who Dropped 300lbs revels incredible Weight Loss Transformation Is Alll Thanks To Yoga, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/12/11/obese-man-loses-weight-with-yoga_n_8781368.html
P. S. Goodman, 2015, Why Companies are turning to meditation and yoga to boost the bottom line, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/11/mindfulness-capitalism_n_3572952.html
Work is major source of stress for most and with Google taking steps to make it’s work environment less stressful, companies across the board will likely follow suit.
In sum, the world can be a stress inducing place but for millions of people around the world, the use of yoga leaves in good stead to deal with whatever an increasingly chaotic world throws at them.