Yoga Is A Way To Explore Strength, Peace, And Harmony

The origins of yoga are shrouded in mystery, from its oral teachings to its historical text.  Dating back at least 10,000 years, it was practiced by religions, which may have had a foundation in Hinduism.  So why are we so fascinated by yoga and what makes it extremely popular in today’s society?

Yoga is no fitness fad, it’s a way of life and an outlook that many follow.  It was first introduced to the western world in the 1880s, as historical teachings.   Much later, it was expanded to include physical practice in the 1950s.  From that time to the present, yoga has grown in popularity, with many types of yoga to suit different lifestyles and needs.  Breaking down its methodology gives an overall view of its benefits:  karma yoga (action), to jnana yoga (wisdom).


Many turn to yoga looking for physical accomplishment and possibly body transformation.  Soon realizing that yoga is much more than just the physical action.  The practice has many styles, some of which include Iyengar, which focuses on precision and anatomical alignment and Vinyasa, which is a fun form of yoga poses, to rhythmic pattern.  Yin yoga, is also very popular today, focusing on lengthening and conditioning the body, whist calming the mind.  This yoga is great for those who want to master both patience and inner physical strength. Bikram yoga, commonly referred to as hot yoga, was born out of traditional hatha yoga.  This form of action yoga is currently very prevalent with the practice room heated to a balmy 95-108˚F.  The heat is believed to cleanse, focus and warm the body, so strengthening and lengthening the muscles is easier.  Action yoga in general claims many health benefits, some of which include:


  • Strengthening of body core and muscles
  • Weight reduction
  • Enriched organ health
  • Increasing spine flexibility
  • Easing arthritis
  • Improving balance
  • Regulating metabolism, while improving digestion


Although yoga combines physical and spiritual strength in all its teachings, wisdom yoga is the mental segment of yoga.  An example is Himalayan yoga, which is based in sacred texts and Vedic knowledge.  To crudely put it, this is a collection of sacred mantras and hymns.  Recited aloud, these mantras/hymns are an ancient comprehension of the scientific makeup of our planet.  Today we could categorize this as philosophy.


Osho is a form of wisdom yoga that uses meditation techniques to rid the ego and escape modern day pitfalls of self centeredness and materialism.  Restorative yoga focuses on healing and relaxation.  Many of these practices have been used to develop modern day yoga classes, one of which even includes a laughter class, which focuses on its benefits as a therapeutic release.  Wisdom yoga and its practices, have been used in schools, to calm and focus children’s attention.  In the workplace, wisdom yoga can help center creativity and enlighten thought.  Many of the claimed health benefits for this type of yoga include:


  • Stress relief
  • Greater personal energy
  • Focus
  • Happiness
  • Self Confidence
  • Creativity
  • Freedom of inhibition


Making time for your own body and mind is crucial, so why not become a “yogi” (a playful term endearing someone who practices yoga).  Whatever the stated health benefits are, yoga is a way to explore strength, peace, and harmony in today’s high pressure society.


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Does Weather Affect Your Joint and Back Pain?

Many people with chronic lower back pain and osteoarthritis claim the weather affects their symptoms. A recent study, however, revealed that the weather plays no part in the above claim. What do you think?

The Weather Vane and Pain Debate

Cold, damp, and crummy weather has been linked to body aches since before Medieval times. In fact, Hippocrates, around 400 BC, wrote about the effects of winds and rain on chronic diseases. For thousands of years, people’s perceptions have been that inclement weather is associated with joint and back pain. But, can this be proven scientifically? Or is this just the maintenance of pre-existing beliefs?

In 1995, researcher Amos Pversky attempted to tackle this question. His study observed participants for over a one-year period. The arthritis pain reported by the individuals had no considerable association to the weather. Pversky concluded that people tend to perceive correlations between uncorrelated events; that is, it’s a learned perception and sustained over time.

A study in 2007 out of Tufts University begs to report the opposite. Their research showed that for every 10-degree drop in temperature, participants’ arthritic pain increased. It was not the actual temperature decrease, however, that necessarily agitated one’s physical condition—that, too, was discovered. The suspected culprit was low barometric pressure and precipitation.

In 2014, a study out of Australia reported that people only took note of their pain on inclement days. When it was sunny or warmer, they didn’t report pain because they weren’t thinking about it. That research, which analyzed almost 1,000 participants’ lower back and overall body joint pain, found no link between the weather and poor symptoms. The “weather” included: temperature, air pressure, wind velocity and direction, and relative humidity.

That Australian study received such resistance on social media that the researchers decided to run yet another test. The newest research from The George Institute for Global Health recruited people with knee osteoarthritis and lower back pain. Scientists compared weather (from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology) with the participants’ reports of pain and its onset. Again, the two conditions (weather and pain) were not significantly linked.

So, Why The Continued Debate?

Well, researchers may be likely to pinpoint atmospheric conditions as the cause, as opposed to temperature. A decrease in barometric pressure may cause swelling in joint capsules. The neurofibers around the joint sense the inflammation and send a signal of increased pain.

“Barometric pressure, also called atmospheric pressure, is the weight of the atmosphere around us. The atmosphere exerts force on everything it surrounds, and changes in temperature and altitude affect the amount of pressure from the atmosphere. Although the change is barely perceptible in most cases, colder, damper weather can cause a drop in atmospheric pressure. With decreased pressure, the tissues in our bodies can expand and may press against joints and the structures in the back. If you have a painful condition like arthritis, this pressure may make it worse. High altitudes also have decreased barometric pressure, which is why people often experience swelling while flying.”

What Can We Summarize?

Temperature itself is not a direct cause of joint or back pain. However, changes in temperatures may cause alterations in atmospheric pressure. It’s that pressure that be pointed to as a cause of increased potential discomfort.

“Back pain affects up to a third of the world’s population at any one time.” Thus, pointing to weather as the influence can’t really be substantiated.

The bottom line is that if you suffer from joint or lower back pain, there is an underlying cause. You have an existing condition, regardless of the weather. Focusing on treatment, pain management, and prevention of the ailment will be more productive. See for other related articles on health and pain relief.