071: Using Research to Inform Your Yoga with Ariana Rabinovich

Ariana Rabinovich is a yoga teacher and Movement Specialist based in New York City. She is the founder of Yoga Research and Beyond which makes research accessible and helps teachers translate research into practice. Ariana also teaches students one-on-one and in group classes, offers Continuing Education courses for fitness professionals, hosts her podcasts and co-wrote a book series called Exposing Yoga Myths.

In this episode Shannon and Ariana discuss the value of research informed teaching. Ariana’s Yoga Research and Beyond membership site is a database of reviews about individual studies which are relevant to yoga teachers and Movement Educators. Ariana describes the reviews as Cliff Notes for the research study. The goal of the site is to take complex subjects and translate them into simple terms without the jargon, creating a bridge between science and application.

Ariana talks to Shannon about finding meaning in these research studies and using them as a tool to inspire you and inform your teaching. Ariana wants to be clear that these studies do not provide black-and-white answers and that they should not be taken in without asking questions.

Ariana goes on to describe the complicated nature of analyzing data. For example, if a study sees the overall improvement in the health of a research study group practicing yoga it may be difficult to ascertain the cause. As yoga is a practice that taps into the mind/body connection, the improvement may be due to factors such as breathing, meditation, the physicality or the particular style of yoga. Initial findings can spark future research studies.

Ariana is adamant that she doesn’t want to see yoga teachers becoming overwhelmed by the information. Yoga research is, as Ariana describes it: “an add-on and untapped resource.” The big goal of yoga research is to help yoga teachers get a clearer understanding of how yoga can help their clients and to determine how yoga can fit into alternative health care.

[4:50] Ariana’s yoga journey

[9:05]  What led Ariana to create her podcast Yoga & Beyond: The Yoga and Movement Science Podcast and the restructuring of her podcast

[15:10]  Ariana’s Yoga Research and Beyond membership site is a database of reviews about individual studies which are relevant to yoga teachers and movement educators

[20:05]  The opportunity to dialogue with other members in the comment thread in individual articles of members-only Facebook group, sharing questions and intimidation around that- no question is a dumb question

[22:45]  The complex nature of analyzing research and applying results to the practice

[29:20]  Examples of yoga research studies and questions to ask yourself when reading the research

[32:20]  How research informed Ariana’s teaching head and shoulder stands in group classes

[34:00]  How research changed Ariana’s view on alignment and flexibility

[39:00]  How Ariana incorporates strengthening into her yoga classes

[43:20]  Ariana expands on alignment- when it is most important to be aware

[46:00]  When research conflicts with yoga teacher training

[49:35]  What Ariana wishes was included in YTT

[53:30]  The importance of collaborating with other health practitioners

[54:25]  Other research resources and advice on taking in new information

[58:45]  Identifying the bias in studies

[1:01:20]  Shannon’s final thoughts


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Book: Exposing Yoga Myths by Ariana Rabinovich

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