The Powerful Impact of Yoga & Meditation with Bianca Zable

Further Reading

Based on a series of lectures Bianca Zable is giving for the International Bipolar Foundation on using yoga to treat Mood Disorders/Bipolar and Depression, she has developed specific yoga sequences to help treat common concerns such as weight loss, insomnia, and mood balancing. Here are the summaries of her talks and some further reading on what benefits you can expect from this series…

Yoga For Weight Loss

Yoga is a known stress buster, but it’s also one of the most effective workouts for fighting stubborn fat stores, especially the ones that crop up after age 40. Yes, you can use yoga for weight loss. The reason: Studies show that yoga lowers levels of stress hormones and increases insulin sensitivity—a signal to your body to burn food as fuel rather than store it as fat. Yoga for weight loss benefits are both physiological and psychological. Calories burned during yoga vary widely — from 180 to 360 per hour — depending on the type of yoga you practice.

Better Overall Health:

Losing weight by doing yoga also conditions all the internal organs and systems, in addition to getting rid of the excess fat.  This means that not only will you lose the weight, but as you continue your practice, you will find yourself getting more and more healthy and fit.  In addition, you will enjoy all the profound benefits that yoga bestows, and not just the weight loss aspect.

No Bad Side Affects:

Always remember that the body has a blue print of perfect health and always tries to return to this state.  You should always try to work with the body, in it’s efforts to return to perfect health.  Yoga and Ayurveda (the Indian holistic science of life and longevity) are designed to do just this.  On the other hand, when you use chemical, surgical or other such quick fixes, you tend to not work holistically with the body, and even as you are fixing one problem, you tend to create many more.  So using Yoga for weight loss is the best way to intelligently and naturally lose the weight and help the body return to optimum health.

Permanent Weight Loss with Yoga:

Experiences from the yoga therapy programs to treat obesity have shown that weight lost from yoga therapy has proven to be permanent.  This is certainly not the case when you use chemicals and other gimmicks.  The weight lost by those methods tends to return in a hurry once they are discontinued.  This is not the case with yoga, as long as you maintain at minimum, a healthy diet as prescribed by Ayurveda.

So when you use yoga for weight loss, the body is gently brought back into alignment and underlying causes for the weight gain, whether they are emotional or bio-chemical, are also resolved.  Also, since yoga works with the body to achieve optimum health, the excess weight once shed is no longer regained when the yoga is stopped.  I would, however, recommend continuing the yoga practices if you can, so you can continue to obtain all the other benefits that such practice bestows.

Extreme Exercise is Not Necessary:

Studies show that even gentle yoga exercises done with moderate effort are good enough to put you on track to meet your weight loss goals.  So you don’t need to undertake an extreme fitness regimen.  Such regimens are generally short lived anyway and can be injurious to the body.  Yes, when doing yoga in this sensible way the weight loss is not going be happen overnight, but you can expect to consistently lose about 5 pounds a month safely and naturally, without doing any harm to your body or mind.

Yoga For Insomnia

Yoga can help relax the mind and body for those who suffer from insomnia or other sleep problems. If you have a hard time falling or staying asleep, yoga might be your ticket to dreamland. Insomnia has many causes, including stress, hormonal changes, chronic pain, etc. Lack of sleep can worsen these conditions, causing a discouraging cycle of sleep deprivation and daytime fatigue. Practicing yoga can help bring balance and peace to your life, which can result in deeper and more regular sleep.

Practicing yoga to treat insomnia, stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the “rest and digest” response. Learning to relax your nervous system and reduce muscle tension will positively affect your ability to sleep. In the Yoga for Insomnia lecture series and yoga sequence will be some ways yoga can help you get some quality shut-eye. By lowering stress levels, calming the mind and relieving tension in the body, the soothing practice can be an effective natural sleep remedy. Certain resting and inversion poses can be particularly helpful for combatting restlessness and insomnia, especially when practiced in the evening or in bed before hitting the hay.

Yoga For Mood Balancing

Yoga can help many symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder, including mood swings, fear, anxiety, tension, and lethargy. One way yoga helps is to release energetic blockages that are called granthis in Sanskrit. These are “knots” that form at the navel region, the seat of personal power; the heart center, the seat of the emotional body, and the throat, the seat of self-expression.

When we release these blockages, our physical and emotional layers open and energy flows freely. This energy, called prana, is the essential life-force of all beings. When prana flows freely through the body, we feel vital and healthy; we reconnect with others and become a part of the world.

This sequence of yoga poses and breathwork is designed to help you release your blockages, to untie your knots. Doing this sequence regularly can bring into your life a glimpse of our connection with universal energy and its abiding, supporting role in our well-being. By opening your body and centering your mind, you can balance the ups and downs of bipolar mood swings and change anxiety to calmness, sadness to happiness, and lethargy to vitality.

“I was struck by how accepting and even inviting yoga instructors are, from the first class I felt I was part of the group. “

- Jim

“Yoga has provided a foundation for me to approach life in a positive, balanced, healthy way. It’s my rock!“

- Joyce