The results don't surprise 85 year old Frank Costa. Two and a half years ago he hurt his back..and had tried everything from medication, chiropractic, and physical therapy.
" There is a lot going on. You are breathing, you are conscious of your inner body, you are conscious of certain parts of your body."
Frank comes to his yoga class about two times a week and as you can see he's not the oldest or most flexible in this senior class. And that's the point. In Viniyoga...the type of yoga studied and the one which is used here, students are asked to take the movement slow, breath, and concentrate. It is progressive and allows each student to move at his or her own pace. Director of the Yoga Loka yoga studio Kim Orenstein says instead of holding postures like other forms of yoga, viniyoga is ideal for back patients. " It is spine based, so the important thing about the practice is the spine. And because you are not in a posture,,,holding, holding, holding, you are moving into a posture and out of a posture, in. Utilizing the breath feeling what you are doing and not going on what your capability is for the moment. That makes the difference."
Orenstein says the results of the study confirm what she already knows. But she believes yoga helps students beyond their initial reason for coming here, be it back pain, knee pain, or stress. She says those who find success are looking for relief of some kind...and are open to finding it.
In the study one-hundred-one patients were placed into three groups. A yoga group, an exercise group, and a group which read self-care books on lower back pain.
Researchers say not only did yoga patients do better than the other two groups...but the effects last for several months after the study.