Planet yoga

Stories from around the weird and wonderful world of yoga

Planet Yoga
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USA: Yoga heroes

Boutique yoga brand YogaSix has teamed up as an ongoing sponsor of the US' Veterans Yoga Project (VYP) to give back to America's heroes. It will host donation-based classes for the organisation across its 160 studios across the country. VYP's mission is to support recovery and resilience among veterans, military families and communities. "In working with the veteran community, I've witnessed firsthand how important yoga and meditation practice is for vets dealing with PTSD," said Dr. Daniel Libby, a clinical psychologist, founder and CEO of VYP. "The success I've seen is the reason I crated Veterans Yoga Project and it's the reason why we're on a mission to bring yoga and mindfulness to vets who need it."

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USA: Mindfulness works

Mindfulness-based stress reduction can be as effective as antidepressants for patients suffering with anxiety disorders, according to a new study by Georgetown University Medical Centre. The clinical trial tested mindfulness versus the use of the gold-standard drug for anxiety sufferers, the common antidepressant, escitalopram. "A big advantage of mindfulness meditation is that doesn't require a clinical degree to train someone to become a mindfulness facilitator," said Elizabeth Hoge, the study's main author and head of the Anxiety Disorders Research Programme and associate professor of psychiatry at Georgetown. "Additionally, sessions can be done outside of a medical setting, such as at a school or community centre." 

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Qatar: Yoga wins

The World Cup may be over but yoga as a tool to improve football fitness is here to stay. During the tournament, players and teams embedded yoga into their programmes to stay in top shape and gain an edge over rivals. The world's most famous players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are big devotees. But it's not just fitness, it's also the mental and emotional benefits yoga brings with it, according to Sharon Heidaripour, a former player turned yoga coach. "Players are human beings who have lives like ours that can be affected by family sickness, bereavement and other problems. That inner calm, finding your centre, is very important," she told The Athletic in an interview.

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Taiwan: Den Yoga

Despite rising tensions in the region, yoga is building bridges between Taiwan and the world. American Betty Ford, who gained prominence as a yoga instructor and competitive bodybuilder, recently opened a studio in Taipei City, the island's capital. A women-owned and operated business, the new space is one of the first hot power vinyasa studios in Taiwan, with both English and Chinese spoken. Ford says the space is designed to help people re-energise their lives. "I created Den Yoga to give people a welcoming, fun respite from their busy lives," she said. "Den Yoga is available to anybody interested in reducing stress, gaining strength and flexibility, experiencing fewer aches and pains, losing weight, and improving their overall fitness."

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Japan: Relax with Naomi

Japanese tennis ace Naomi Osaka has partnered with wellness brand, Hyperice, to narrate a guided meditation now available in the Core app, developed by global workplace mental health platform, Modern Health. Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam singles champion, is a passionate advocate in all things mental health. 'Relax with Naomi' includes the tennis champ calmly narrating instructions and inviting meditators to breathe in concert with gentle high and low tones. "I want to be a voice in helping those who may not be as open when it comes to the topic of mental health," she said. "I hope the meditation...can inspire those people to start a practice of their own as it has helped me so much in my mental health journey." 

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.