How did you celebrate World Yoga Day on February 22nd? Did you practice yoga at home or with a class? Or perhaps you didn’t have time for asana that day but practiced in a different way, like through ahimsa or karma yoga. No matter how you chose to spend the day, we hope you had a wonderful one. In honor of this special day, this month’s roundup is full of interesting yoga news from around the world, from Afghanistan to England and the United States. We also peppered in an interesting take on meditation, some scientific evidence that yoga can modify our genes, and a new, pretty bleeping awesome form of yoga.
World Yoga Day: Finding the OM in GenOMics—To celebrate World Yoga Day, Technology Networks deeply explored how yoga affects us on a cellular and molecular level. Apparently, a regular yoga practice can create a substantial down-regulation of inflammatory processes as well as changes to gene expression. Because of small sample sizes, the results of these studies aren’t all statistically significant, but they are quite compelling.
Afghanistan’s only yoga studio: A calm oasis for war-weary women—Yes, that’s right. There is only one yoga studio in Afghanistan. It’s located in Kabul and was created in 2016 by Fakhria Momtaz to help women “find peace after suffering in years of war and conflict.” Momtaz’s next goal? Creating a yoga app to give Afghanistani women the ability to practice yoga anywhere.
Yoga can ease pressure on health service, says Prince Charles—In England, a new NHS health plan promises to provide more funding for yoga classes, and the Prince of Wales, a long-time believer in the power of alternative medicine, has shown his support. In a written address to the recent Yoga in Healthcare conference, the Prince emphasized yoga’s “tremendous social benefits” and noted that it builds “discipline, self-reliance and self-care.”
Yoga Trolling and Yoga Cults: A Connection—Yoga trolls. You know the kind; the gatekeepers who preach that there is one right way to practice yoga, shaming those who choose a different path. In this article, author Matthew Remski explores the cult-like mentality behind this yoga-specific trolling and offers some practical techniques for dealing with it.
When Meditation Harms—With all the benefits it brings, how can meditation possibly be bad? Alison Potts describes the feelings of shame that “failing” at meditation can cause in people with anxiety and how they can move past it by remembering to practice ahimsa toward themselves.
How one man is trying to help fellow black men ‘heal’ through yoga—Changa Bell created the Black Male Yoga Initiative to provide a safe space within the yoga community for black men, who he says are often “marketed as over-sexualized, hyper-violent, hyper-masculine.” Patrons of Bell’s studio report that the practice helps them release trauma and find balance and perspective.
Rage Yoga Is a Thing—and Yes, There Is Swearing Involved—Lindsay Istace founded Rage Yoga as an alternative form of yoga “for the modern badass.” It involves war cries, loud music, f-bombs, and even beer, and is meant for those who want to find balance and empowerment in a different way. What do you think? Would rage yoga soothe you or stress you out?