The Health Benefits of Yoga

Sept. 15, 2008

Cheryl Kain Credits the Exercise With Controlling Her Type 2 Diabetes

Cheryl Kain says she has battled her weight and mood her entire life.
Can a visit to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health transform your life?

“Weight’s been on my mind since I came out of the womb,” Kain said. “You lose the weight and then you gain that and more.”

To drop pounds, she tried a variety of options, including ditching carbs, trimming fat and eliminating specific foods from her daily intake.

“I’d tried everything,” she said.

But her weight worries reached a poignant point when she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 2½ years ago.

“My body was in a state of emergency all the time,” Kain said.

So she turned to Dr. Mark Pettus, who runs the health for life program at the Kripalu center in Stockbridge, Mass., where people like Kain come to transform their health.

“If someone were to hand me a blank piece of paper and say, ‘Mark, you know, put down something on that paper that would have an impact more than anything on potential to reduce disease risk, to improve health and vitality,’ it would be yoga,” Pettus said.

“Yoga’s one of the few things that enlivens almost every system in the body,” said Garrett Sarley, chief of the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.

Medical studies show the poses, along with meditation and specific yoga breathing techniques, reduce stress responses, which significantly influences health.

Yoga has been shown to help insomnia and relieve chronic pain conditions. In Kripalu’s program, Kain began to cultivate a yoga practice, and she studied nutrition and food preparations. She practiced meditating and went on 4-mile hikes.

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