Yoga Journal says:

  • "Some blogs are simply fun reads, but if you want to dive deep, check out YogaLila." YogaJournal, August 2009


  • Richard Freeman: Yoga Chants

    Richard Freeman: Yoga Chants
    Richard Freeman Chants - its a 2 cd set. The first CD is instructional, he explains some of the history and technique, and you sing along by repeating first a word, then a line, of each chant. I think there are 3-4 chants he teaches in this way -including the ashtanga invocation, which I've always liked. He explains things very clearly. The second cd is him chanting and playing the harmonium. He has a good voice, not a great voice, but there is something incredibly soothing about listening to him. -Jane

  • Cindy Dollar: Yoga Your Way : Customizing Your Home Practice

    Cindy Dollar: Yoga Your Way : Customizing Your Home Practice
    This is a great book for home practice. It's spiral bound and the pages are split so that on the left the pages are practice sequences and on the right each page is one of 44 asanas. The 31 practice sequences range from 10 to 90 minutes. On the back of each asana page are several modifications with various props. The author is an Iyengar teacher and the instructions are very detailed. What I like most about it is that the variety of sequences will prevent me from doing the same practice all the time which is what usually happens when I do yoga on my own. -Danielle

  • Andrea Olsen: Bodystories: A Guide To Experiential Anatomy

    Andrea Olsen: Bodystories: A Guide To Experiential Anatomy
    This book is the most accesible of all the more touchy-feely anatomy books I have - daily exercises of body exploration. -Lianne

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April 30, 2007



I'm particularly interested in this asana for a variety of reasons. At this time in my life, the purported menopausal benefits (i.e. hot flash diminishment) really draw me to regular practice!

It seems that yoga under western scientific scrutiny has held up fairly well (at least from what I've seen), so a part of me thinks "bring it on". If people who do not currently practice see yoga therapies validated by their health care plans, they might be more likely to try yoga and then the other holistic benefits from regular practice would follow.

Really great thought provoking article, Sophie.


that's certainly part of the reason I'm interested in it, Bonnie - I'm heading in that direction myself, as are many of my friends. I still waver between the "bring it on" attitude and a certain feeling of protectiveness - however, what do we have to fear, really? I think if research is approached with a genuinely open mind, it can help us tailor our practice even more to our individiual needs.

Sharon Frost

I agree that it's a little unsettling to cast yoga to the scientists but agree that it would be a great thing if more people could receive the benefits of the practice. I think studies would only encourage it's use.

I change my mind almost every day about where I am with yoga. And right now I feel my practice has deepened considerable over the last year and I'm working more and more with it in the context of daily life.

I was in the dentist's chair earlier in the week and Dr. Strangelove said to me "now, before you go to that yoga place of yours..." I realized it was true -- he was right: I do yoga and meditation in that chair -- the best meditation sessions I have...and fine supta baddha konasana too. I know it can relieve suffering. More people should know it and do it.

Elliott Goldberg


Dear Sophie,

I’ve been trying to hunt down the origin of the notion that the Shoulder Stand enhances the workings of the endocrine system for a book that I'm writing about the formation of modern hatha yoga. I believe it originated with Swami Kuvalayananda in the 1920s.

I’ve also been trying to find studies on the physiological efficacy of the Shoulder Stand on the endocrine system. I’ve found nothing. I’ve just read your thoughtful April 30, 2007 posting about the scarcity of scientific studies for the Shoulder Stand. You found very little. But at least you found something.

1. You wrote: “It didn’t take long to realize that scientific studies on the physiology of shoulderstand’s effects on the thyroid gland were extremely scant. Apart from a small handful of studies published in the mid-70’s in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, experimental evidence for shoulderstand’s effect on thyroid function is notably lacking.”

EG: 1) Could you possibly give me the exact dates of all the studies published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research? (I couldn’t find archived articles beyond the last few years on the journal’s website.) I’ll write the journal for copies of the studies or try to find them at a library here in New York.

2. You wrote: “Experimental evidence has been steadily accumulating for benefits on musculoskeletal disorders and factors in cardiovascular disease risk, among others, but remains scarce for yoga and endocrine function.”

EG: 2) What evidence have you found for the benefits of yoga on musculoskeletal disorders? I’m very interested in finding evidence of the effect of asana practice on the spine. Do you happen to have this information at hand? I understand if you don’t.

EG: 3) What evidence have you found for the benefits of particular asanas (as opposed to the relaxation effect) on factors in cardiovascular disease risk? Do you happen to have this information at hand? I understand if you don’t.

EG: 4) What “scarce” evidence have you found for effect of particular asanas (as opposed to the relaxation effect) on endocrine function? Do you happen to have this information at hand? I understand if you don’t.

3. You wrote: “There have, however, been pilot studies demonstrating that restorative practice (including shoulderstand) has alleviated hot flashes in menopausal women. These provide encouragement for further studies on a larger scale using appropriate randomization and control groups.”

EG: 5) What do you mean by “restorative” practice? Could you possibly give me more information about these pilot studies?

Any help that you may be able to provide me with my research would be appreciated.

All the best,



Hi Elliot,

I believe I replied to you personally last November. Perhaps you did not receive my reply, so I will send it again to the address passed on to me earlier.


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