While many trendy yoga disciplines have helped popularize the mind-body system lately, it has in some cases been to the detriment of cash-strapped enthusiasts. Certain yoga varieties emphasize buying the right yoga meditation supplies over pursuing mental and physical well-being.
This phenomenon may be one reason why the yoga industry is expected to make billions in 2011. According to an IBISWorld Market Research report, yoga-associated revenues will hit $3.3 billion this year.
However, much of this money has little to do with the honorable tradition of learning – and eventually, teaching – the holistic system. The Bloomberg news organization calculated that the average female enthusiast may spend around $700 per year on yoga clothes, mats and other deluxe gear.
Such expenditures are hardly necessary. The best yoga regimens urge participants to stick to the basics – namely, a loose, long-sleeved shirt and a pair of natural-fiber pants. The rest they can jettison, since it does little more than drain their pocketbook.
Likewise, savvy yoga practitioners can hunt up good deals. Try searching for yoga books online, and purchase meditation DVDs that stick to the essentials rather than dazzling you with celebrity faces.
Sure, yoga is good for the mental and physical well-being of a typical, healthy American adult, but what about those who have just recovered from a severe illness like breast cancer? Can yoga help convalescing patients learn chronic pain management?
According to numerous studies, it can. Yoga stretching benefits not only the hale and disease-free but those who are in treatment for or recovering from breast cancer.
A report published in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies announced that breast cancer patients who practice yoga during their radiation therapy regimens tend to have higher levels of cortisol and better overall mood levels, compared to women who did not utilize the holistic system.
Another study, this one appearing in the journal Psycho-Oncology, noted that a 10-week yoga program helped breast cancer survivors improve their emotional affect and reduce fatigue.
Yet another paper found that yoga appears to give social and spiritual well-being a boost. Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the report focused on women who had received chemotherapy for breast cancer.
That said, the authors noted that yoga appeared to improve mood and quality of life even among cancer survivors who had not undergone chemotherapy, indicating the versatility of the mind-body regimen.
Reading yoga books for beginners and practicing the gentle maneuvers may be a reliable way to get healthier, particularly in light of a popular CNN article that suggests that taking supplements may not be as beneficial to one's well-being as previously reported. While most Americans know that exercising and eating a nutritious diet are key to striving for their full potential, it may come as a surprise to those who supplement their food intake with multivitamins that this practice could actually be detrimental.
A recent study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine reported that nutrients like iron, folic acid, vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc and copper have been associated with a mildly increased risk of earlier death, particularly among older women.
"Taking more of what we think is a good thing may not be so good," said researcher Susan Fisher from the University of Rochester Medical Center, quoted by CNN. "High levels of nutrient supplements may be harmful, or at least not helpful."
She and her team emphasized that further investigation is needed before a definite conclusion is made. Meanwhile, American women may want to continue eating a healthy diet and engaging in an exercise like yoga. Throughout the history of yoga meditation, the holistic regimen has been shown to improve many enthusiasts' physical, mental and emotional well-being.
So you're starting yoga. Congratulations! Whether you've joined a class at a local community center or purchased a DVD for at-home use, expect good things from this ancient mind-body regimen. For millennia, yoga meditation for beginners has been helping people relax, unwind and center themselves.
Where do you get started? Here's a list of yoga meditation supplies that you may consider collecting prior to getting underway.
1. A mat. While padding is not required, you may find that sitting on a hard floor hurts your backside a bit. Yoga mats come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Don't spend more than you have to on one. Remember: it's padding only.
2. A uniform. Believe it or not, clingy yoga pants and tops can hinder your ability to relax and stay cool during meditation. It's best to stick with a uniform-like set of long pants and a loose, long-sleeved shirt or wrap. Preferably, these should be dyed white and fashioned from light, all-natural fabrics.
3. Initiative. It costs and weighs nothing, but it's essential for success. You'll need more than the right clothes to succeed in yoga. Half the battle is being open to change and transformation – physically, mentally and spiritually.