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April 27, 2015
Paul mentioned on his blog https://yoga-teacher-training.blogspot.com/ the idea of measuring a student's body fat before they start practicing and then sometime thereafter so that they could see real benefits.
Another way to do this would be to measure the students' height before and after yoga. I myself, a middle-aged man, actually increased my height over an inch through yoga. We have also seen yoga increase the height of someone much older by a 1/4 of an inch, much to their doctor's surprise.
What other ways are there to objectively measure yogic health benefits?
April 27, 2015
Height and body fat are good measurements for Yoga practitioners. The extension of height also occrs from Pilates practice.
For women here are two measurements that we find gratifying.
1. Buying new dresses and pants in a lower size, even though weight did not go down as much as we would like.
2. Getting compliments from other women. This may seem strange but it is true.
April 27, 2015
Indeed, yoginis can be very attractive, and their fitness is a complete one that includes their upper body. Also, it is really hard to guess how old a yogini is -- a 50 year old one might easily look 30-something.
A few times my teacher has said something to the effect that, "if you're here just to make yourself look good, you're in the wrong place". Of course, I was respectful and didn't blurt out my counter-point. However, I am totally supportive of someone taking up yoga to have a fit body. (That is, get the infamous "yoga behind".) They may start taking their practice more seriously later even if they started for vanity.
Here's another: A permanent improvement in blood pressure.
April 27, 2015
Yoga progress may not be measurable by tools of science. How do you measure spiritual growth?
Myths on Yoga System
By Johnson Joseph
Yoga is a system that promises wellness to any aspirant. Anybody can practice it. The following 'Sloka' clearly states who can benefit through the practice of this system. "Yuva, Vrudho ashivrudhova, Durbhalo Vyadhithopiva, Abhyasat siddhi mapnodi,Sarvayogeshu thantrita."(Yuva=young, vrudha=old, Adhivrudha= very old, Durbala=week, Vyathitha=sick, Abhyasa=practice, Siddhi= the benefits). A regular and appropriate practice makes many areas of human life better; the physical body that consists of muscles, bones, blood vessels, cells etc; the vital body that consists of energy that manifests in the form of emotions; the mind which is responsible for the thought process; the spirit that relates oneself to the cosmic self. Thus, the focus of yoga is on the holistic well-being. In the process of this, 'yogasanas' (postures) provide the wellness to human body. Asana alone is beneficial for rejuvenating the physique, preventing some ailments and improving or curing many illnesses that may afflict the body. 'Asanas' are postures that give comfort and rest in the pose. That is why it is said:"Sthira sugham asanam". Asanas or practice of Yoga postures include stretching, forward and backward bending and gentle massaging of internal organs while appropriate concentration and breathing are resorted to.
While Asanas alone can bring about such physical wellness, Padanjali's Yoga Suthra states eight limps for yoga called 'Ashtanga Yoga'. The practice of real yoga, therefore, starts with submitting oneself to the universal moral principles to the Samadhi- the stage of Super Consciousness. The Ashtangasare: -Yama, niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Prathyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi. ( Universal moral commandments, self purification by discipline, posture, rhythmic control of breath, withdrawal and emancipation of the mind from the domination of the senses and exterior objects, concentration, meditation and a state of super consciousness brought about by profound meditation in which the individual aspirant becomes one with the object of his meditation- the Universal Spirit).
When it comes to the third stage- Asanas, many equate Yoga System to a set of Asanas and follow many forms which are derivates of the true traditional yoga system and which are advocated by the recent maestros. The truth is that Yoga is a very simple system that can be practiced by anybody. Though yoga is an art of body, it is not a performing art for aesthetic beauty. By watching the graceful performance of a yoga artist, an aspirant may feel that it is not the system for his/her present body conditions. Neither all can perform all Asanas perfectly nor the perfection of all Asanas needed for everybody. Even the formation of the postures, sustain and ending (Srushti, Sthithi, samhara)of it may not perfectly occur for all for every asana. It is a constant practice for perfection without straining oneself but in a most suitable manner for one's own conditions. Thus comes the need for the guidance of a good Guru.
One may doubt whether Yoga system is a misfit for a worldly person or not. In the pursuit of perfection Yoga helps one to live a more meaningful and happy life, here in this world. Parivrachakacharya Swami Sadanada Saraswathi has structured the order of practicing Asanas for any lay man to enjoy the fruits of a healthy and contented living in this world. Not all Asanas are needed for good health and wellbeing of one in this world. It is a study, worth in itself, to know a suitable plan to begin the practice of Yoga.
April 27, 2015
This is how researchers objectively measure yoga's effect on the human body. You may also use this to note the difference your students make, especially to those patient who do yoga as an adjunct therapy to help their medical treatment.
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