The power of connection

[G]roup support is one of four key components of the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease. The other three components are diet, exercise, and stress management.

Yoga is the “stress management” component of the Ornish Program, but yoga and yoga therapy can also tick the group support box nicely, offering yet another reason to practice. We now know that social connection is key to health and well-being: A meta-analysis even suggests that we should take social relationships as seriously as other health risk factors.

Research in the fields of psychology and psychotherapy shows the importance of the “therapeutic relationship“—here aligned with the connection between an individual yoga therapist and a client or student—but the healing effect of support from the peer group is also difficult to underestimate. Group exercise, like physical yoga asana, brings benefits beyond that of the exercise itself.

Other yogic practices, including the niyama (personal observance) of svadhyaya, also have a role to play in connecting us more meaningfully to one another: Through svadhyaya’s practice of deep self-reflection, we eventually come to recognize others as ourselves.

Find an IAYT-certified yoga therapist to help YOU connect!