As yoga teachers, we understand the transformative impact of yoga on our students’ physical and mental well-being. However, an important shift that happens as yoga teachers add to their studies to become yoga therapists, is the way in which we recognize the importance of research in guiding our teaching practices and maximizing the benefits we offer. While a vast majority of yoga teachers acknowledge the significance of research, astonishingly, very few actively integrate research into their teaching methods. In this blog, we will explore why developing research literacy is crucial for yoga teachers and therapists and how it empowers us to provide the most effective and evidence-based support to our students and clients. Let’s bridge the gap between traditional holistic approaches and research-informed teaching, by balancing intellectual and intuitive ways of knowing, we are unlocking the true potential of yoga.
Research is known as ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ as it is a process by which new knowledge is developed based on the accrued knowledge of those who have gone before us. We believe research holds the key to unlocking deeper insights into the physiological and psychological benefits of yoga. There is a constant evolution in yoga which is best served by staying up to date with multidisciplinary research. By reading widely, critically evaluating, and integrating research into our teaching and therapeutic practices, we can go beyond personal experience and anecdotal evidence, offering our students the most effective and evidence-based techniques to enhance their well-being. It is a combination of traditional holistic approaches and the empirical study of yoga and health sciences that enables us to provide comprehensive support to our students.
When we embrace research, we are able to expand our offerings as teachers and therapists, deepening our capacity to work with specific health issues and elevating the impact we have on our students’ lives. By staying informed about the latest scientific studies and clinical trials, we gain a deeper understanding of how people heal and yoga’s potential as a therapeutic modality. This knowledge allows us to tailor our classes and programs to meet the specific needs of diverse populations, such as individuals with chronic conditions, mental health disorders, life-limiting illness, or special needs.
Unfortunately, some yoga teacher training courses are provided by educators without research experience or a true understanding of the science behind yoga. They may claim that yoga is a special knowledge beyond empirical study. While yoga does possess a mystical and transcendental quality, it is not exempt from scientific inquiry. By embracing research, we can challenge misconceptions and promote authenticity in our teaching. We can fuse ancient wisdom with modern science, creating a holistic approach that honours the essence of yoga while also harnessing its therapeutic potential.
At Wisdom Yoga Institute, we prioritize research and its practical application in our teachings. Our owners and lead trainers are not only seasoned yoga practitioners but also actively involved in some of the world’s most significant clinical trials exploring yoga’s impact on mental health and well-being. From transdiagnostic approaches to mental health to supporting autistic youth with anxiety and aiding individuals with cancer and PTSD, our approach is rooted in evidence-based practices.
By embracing research, you expand your teaching potential and amplify your impact as a yoga professional. Understanding the empirical evidence behind yoga’s benefits allows you to confidently design classes, workshops, and therapeutic interventions that are effective, safe, and tailored to the specific needs of your students. Incorporating research-informed practices brings depth, credibility, and a heightened level of professionalism to your offerings.
As yoga professionals, we have a responsibility to our students’ well-being. By developing research literacy and integrating evidence-based practices into our teaching and therapeutic offerings, we unlock the true potential of yoga as a transformative tool. Let’s bridge the gap between ancient wisdom and scientific inquiry, providing our students with a holistic and authentic yoga experience. Expand your knowledge, broaden your offerings, and enroll in our Yoga Therapy Teacher Training program. Discover the crucial role of research in elevating your teaching and creating meaningful change in the lives of your community.
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