Science of Yoga

Over the last decade, the study of yoga and its respective components has soared.  This lecture breaks down the current research on yoga, populations currently benefiting from yoga interventions, the science of meditation's effect on the brain, and the potential mechanisms of yoga's researched benefits. Methods of study and the drawbacks of these modern measurement techniques is discussed.

Example Workshop Schedule

1 Hour: Overview of evidence-based benefits of yoga practice.  Many individuals don't need to be told that yoga has benefits; they simply experience them.  However, in order to mainstream yoga in the west or to bring its wisdom into healthcare and places that need it most, the benefits need to be verified. Discussion of what the current literature can claim in terms of yoga's benefits including the anecdotal benefits that have not yet been found.

1 Hour:  Lecture on the potential mechanisms of yoga's benefits. Scientists have identified many postitive outcomes of a yoga practice but theories on why these outcomes arise is still divided.  There are a few promising pathways as to the mechanisms of pranayama, meditation, and movement practices. The changes to the nervous system, the neuro-endocrine system and the microvasculature are explained and examined.

 1 Hour: Lecture concerning populations currently receiving yoga interventions. Presently, PTSD, ADHD, and metabolic disorders are all popular populations in the world of yoga research. Learn about the work done with previous populations, current intervention groups and ideas for future study.

 1 Hour:  Lecture on meditation and the brain.  The brain is constantly changing and both short and long-term meditators benefit from positive neural changes in terms of structure and function. Additionally, research indicates that certain forms of yoga and meditation alter brain waves, providing practitioners with a tool for generating various mind-states. The brain is a very complicated structure that is challenging to accurately study.  It operates as a network.  Discussion of basic neural function and common brain myths included.




2-4 hours


Facilitated Discussion: Researching yoga

  • Why study yoga?
  • How do we study yoga?
  • What do scientists suggest is the main mechanism for yoga's success?
  • What populations benefit the most from yoga?
  • Where is the science headed next?