The Wisdom of Tree Pose

Tree pose is a beginning balance asana in yoga. It’s one of the few balance poses you will find on the menu for senior yoga classes. In the YESS, Yoga Empowers Seniors Study, we investigated the risks/rewards of 3 versions of tree. In its simplest form, C., students faced a wall and placed their fingertips on the wall for balance. Students also kept the ball of the foot on the bent leg pressing into the floor with the heel pressing into the inseam of the standing leg. This allowed students to use both feet on the floor to create more stability in a closed chain for both legs. We “advanced” the pose in B. by dragging the heel of the bent leg up the inseam of the leg and onto the calf in a more traditional version of the pose...

Yoga for Pain and Sleep Quality

This is the protocol for a feasibility study on RA, or rheumatoid arthritis.“Feasibility” study simply means a small pilot study to determine if the protocol issafe and effective as the first step in the research process. A larger pilot study wouldbe the next step.

Asanas for Older Adults

Objective: Yoga has been promoted as a safe and effective exerciseprogram, capable of increasing the strength, flexibility, and functionalcapacity of older persons. However, little is understoodregarding the musculoskeletal demands of Yoga asanas. This informationis important for safe participation, particularly in olderadults. The purpose of this study was to determine the relativephysical demands associated with 5 common Yoga asanas, usingbiomechanical methods.

Yoga For Cystic Fibrosis

When you hear “cystic fibrosis,” unless you know someone who has it, you may have only a vague sense that it’s something to do with the lungs that’s genetic and shortens life expectancy. That’s really all I knew for sure when I was invited to teach a pilot study at USC on yoga for CF. It might seem strange that I was asked to do this. But the lead research investigator, Dr. George Salem, is someone I have worked with on several other yoga studies involving older adults. And it turns out that CF patients have a lot of the same cautions and contraindications that older adults have.

Insights:  From the Studio to the Lab

My first door into yoga research opened in 2004, when I was asked to be the second teacher in a study designed to mitigate hyper- kyphosis in older adults. The study design called for two teachers instructing separate groups to determine the effectiveness of the protocol versus the effectiveness of a particular teacher. I was thrilled to be asked by my teacher to take on this role.


Yoga Empowers Seniors Study:

This yoga study was conducted to quantify the physical demands and functional adaptations of yoga poses on older adults in a 32-week study.  YESS used biomechanics, applying instruments in a laboratory to learn how muscles and joints were working during the performance of yoga poses. 


Yoga research is a critical element in establishing yoga therapy as a recognized and respected healing modality.  I am honored to continue to collaborate with UCLA and USC on privately- and NIH-funded research as we endeavor to verify yoga as an evidence-based protocol for a variety of health issues.  Please select from the following articles, or choose an article of your choice from the Research Articles Menu button on top right.

​In addition, The International Association of Yoga Therapists,, and The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine,, are important resources to stay abreast of the latest research.

Strength for Balance

When you think of improving balance, you probably think of balance poses.Practice makes – well, not perfect, but definitely improvement. AND you alsowant to begin an asana practice with poses that develop the strength to supportbalance poses. YESS (Yoga Empowers Seniors Study) data shows that chair andmodified downward dog poses are effective to cultivate strength for older adults.

Peaceful Knees in warrior

I like to joke that hell hath no fury like an injured knee.  Just like a scorned woman, the knees can be pretty unforgiving. When I injured my own knee in an accident, this little joke came immediately to mind.  I still think it’s true.  Once you hurt your knee, you may spend the rest of your life trying to make up with.  Or get a new one.  


Designing a Yoga Intervention

Background: Evidence suggests yoga is a safe and effective intervention for the management of physical andpsychosocial symptoms associated with musculoskeletal conditions. However, heterogeneity in the componentsand reporting of clinical yoga trials impedes both the generalization of study results and the replication of studyprotocols. The aim of this Delphi survey was to address these issues of heterogeneity, by developing a list ofrecommendations of key components for the design and reporting of yoga interventions for musculoskeletalconditions.

The Truth About Dogs

Whether you call it puppy dog, push wall or half dog, the version of adhomukha svanasana where the hands press the wall instead of the floor is acommon modification. Theoretically, it takes the pressure out of wrists,shoulders and necks. Again, theoretically, this makes the pose more accessible tobeginners and other students who don’t have the strength or ROM, range ofmotion, in their upper body for a full-fledged downward facing dog.


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Yoga for Osteoporosis

Loren Fishman, M.D. has been a rehabilitativemedicine specialist for over thirty years.As a pioneer in integrative medicine, from thestart of his practice, he incorporated yoga intopatient care. A prolific, published researcher,he is the author of eight books, including Yogafor Osteoporosis, Yoga for Osteoarthritis, andYoga for Back Pain. His research into yogafor osteoporosis has provided valuable insightinto adapting yoga practice to support buildingbone and maintaining health.