From Frugivore — Everyone is in love with yoga lately. From Bikram yoga to sponsored public park variations, many affluent Americans are reaping the health benefits of yoga. The ancient practice has been lauded by many in the West as compliment to the highly stressful American work weeks in particular.

As studies illuminate the human health disasters caused by stress, there is new evidence that suggests yoga is one of the best medicines to counteract this “silent killer.”

Many of the effects of stress are due to increased sympathetic nervous system activity, and an outpouring of adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress-related hormones. Consequently, the common manifestations of stress are depression, heart disease, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

But there is help on the horizon if we take heed of it. According to a study published in Medical Hypotheses, yoga tremendously helps patients suffering from any of the aforementioned stress-related dis-eases. Not only does yoga help, but it balances your body, bringing you back to the desired homeostasis.

Most revealing, patients who exhibited low levels gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA) or with decreased parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) responded to pharmacologic agents that increase activity of the GABA system, and show symptom improvement in response to yoga-based interventions.

According to the report, this has far-reaching implications for the integration of yoga-based practices in the treatment of a broad array of disorders exacerbated by stress.

As mentioned earlier, yoga seems to have taken over certain sectors of society while in others — particularly low-income, and/or black and Hispanic communities — yoga is still inauspiciously foreign and absent. Many people point to the lack of yoga studios in minority communities, the expensive classes, or somewhat segregated culture of Western yoga studios.

If you look at the map of Atlanta, you may notice the high concentration of yoga studios is in the North, Northeast, Midtown, and Downtown areas — all areas where you will find blacks and Hispanics, but primarily affluent whites. There a gaping absence of studios in the primarily black communities in West, Southwest, and Southeastern parts of the metro area, irrespective of income.

(See the map and read the rest at Frugivore)

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  • pink

    Exercise period….reduces stress. Yoga studios, or not….simply walking on a treadmill, or a brisk walk in the park will do the same thing.

    • QueenofNew


      True dat. You don’t need a dime to work out if you want to.

  • minna k.

    I’ve been a yogi for some time, about 10+ years. Eventually you develop your own dang practice where you don’t really need to go to a studio regularly. I happen not to be there quite yet as i still enjoy the collective consciousness of being in a class, and I am still working on including new and more advanced asanas into my practice. Its good to have some guidance. I live in NYC, and cost really is no excuse. There are donation based studios popping up everywhere. 2 dollars, 5 dollars or whatever. If you want to spend lots of money on a luxury yoga experience that is there too. Yoga is available and affordable if one is interested. And in this city most travel is no big deal with our public transportation. Also there are books, and You tube to inspire you. No need to be intimidated.

  • mamareese

    This may sound awful…but I got better things to do with my money than Yoga and I can relieve my strees for free. Think most of us feel this way…….

  • Alexandra

    I took several Yoga classes at my gym, but I’m not a fan of it. I always feel great when I workout hard doing either Pilates, Aerobics, Calisthenics, running or plain ole stretching. As pink mentioned, all workouts reduce stress.

    I prefer high-intensity exercises over yoga.

    • B.Payne

      Agree with you and Pink…

      I’m a daily runner and the stress melts away when I’m working out even with weights. Yoga is good but I find that I force myself when I’m supposed to relax. I like to go hard in the paint to relieve my tension

  • Similar situation here in Montreal. Not so much the issue of access but one of perception. Yoga is perceived as something skinny white girls do, somewhat more of a trend than a way to optimize health and relieve stress. I took up a regular practice recently after some issues with stress. So far, my practice has been a huge help but I am more often than not the only black person in my class. I try not to see this as a barrier though and encourage sisters to give yoga a try.