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Yoga as a Medical Alternative. A Graduation Project Presented by Kathryn Nash. Background & Essential Question. Research: History, Types, & Medical Benefits of Yoga. Research Product. My product: Teaching a Yoga Class. What I Learned.

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Yoga as a medical alternative

Yoga as a Medical Alternative

A Graduation Project Presented by Kathryn Nash

Yoga as a medical alternative

Background & Essential Question

Research: History, Types, & Medical Benefits of Yoga

Research Product

My product: Teaching a Yoga Class

What I Learned

Did you know

STRESS is a major contributing factor to many health problems.

Did you know?

The early history of yoga
The Early Historyof Yoga

Originated in India over 5,000 years ago

Ancient stone seals found depicting yoga poses found that date from 3000 BC

Even older: roots of yoga may be traced to Stone Age Shamanism (the earliest form of religious practice)

Evidence of yoga is found in the oldest-existing text, Rig-Veda--a composition of spiritual hymns

Originally focused on understanding the world-- later changed to the self with self-enlightenment being the ultimate goal.

Sixth century B.C.: poses and meditation were implemented by Buddhists

Modern yoga
Modern Yoga

Five basic principles

Proper relaxation

Proper exercise

Proper breathing

Proper diet

Positive thinking and meditation

Swami Sivananda (1887)

South India

Gymnastics and medicine

Treated and cured a sickly wandering monk, who taught him yoga

Traveled in search of a Guru and eventually became a monk

Wrote over 200 books on yoga and spirituality by hand

Swami Sivananda

Yoga as a medical alternative

Contemporary Yoga

  • Modern yoga is physical with an optional spiritual part

  • In the U.S., yoga is a 6 billion dollar industry

  • About 20 million Americans practice in some form

    • While yoga is a Hindu practice, most Westerners separate it from Hinduism

    • Most Westerners practice yoga to relax

Yoga as a medical alternative

  • Bikram:

  • Hot yoga

  • Flushes toxins

  • Injury recovery, flexibility

  • Good for advanced & beginners

  • Hatha:

  • Older form

  • Gentle, basic poses

  • Relieves stress

  • Good beginners

  • Vinyasa:

  • Breathing, Sun Salutation

  • Link breath with movement

  • Strength & flexibility

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure

  • Kundalini:

  • Constantly moving

  • Energizing

  • Chanting & meditation

  • Good for advanced

  • Ashtanga:

  • Power yoga

  • Spiritual

  • Stress, coordination, weight loss

  • Good for advanced

Yoga as a medical alternative

Health Benefits

  • Lower blood pressure & reduce heart rate  reduced risk of heart disease

  • Lower cholesterol levels and improve circulation  reduce effects of cardiovascular disease

  • Regular morning practice eating less, eating more slowly, and choosing healthier foods

  • Alleviate specific kinds of pain  reduce effects of migraines, back pain, arthritis

  • Increases levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA improves mood, reduces depression

  • Increases alpha waves in the brain  causes relaxation

  • Increases strength and improves flexibility  reduces injury and improves quality of life

Teaching yoga to children

Teaching Yoga to Children

Before i could teach

Before I could teach…

I shadowed my mentor who teaches children’s yoga classes at the Namaste Yoga Studio.

Teaching my class
Teaching my class…


Upward Plank Pose:

Stretches the front side of the body and strengthens the core and arms

Cobra pose
Cobra Pose


Strengthens the back and stomach muscles

Stimulates digestion by invigorating the internal organs

Tree pose
Tree Pose


Improves balance and concentration

Butterfly pose
Butterfly Pose



Bound Ankle

Stretches hips and back

Releases energy


Total relaxation

Parasympathetic state: (relaxation response),

breathing slows

blood pressure lowers

energy is drawn toward the vital organs


  • Students

  • My personal and academic learning stretch

  • My future


I bow to you symbol of gratitude and respect toward students and teachers


“I bow to you”

Symbol of gratitude and respect toward students and teachers