Yoga for Healthy Aging on Earth and in Space
by Joan Vernikos, Ph.D., Taksha Institute, and ThirdAge LLC
(YSN Vol. 2, No. 1 – Jul. 2014)
Space and Yoga have much in common. At the root of both is the importance of the force of Gravity. In Yoga, all movements, actions, thoughts, breathing, relate to how nature has evolved, developed, uses and relies on gravity as the major grounding force so fundamental to Health. Astronauts living in Space in microgravity — virtually minimal gravity — experience changes that are unveiling what happens to humans and other living things when gravity is minimized. These changes are like those of aging, and in space they happen 10 times faster than on Earth.
In Dr. Joan’s Healthy Aging Newsletter (HAN), you can see how Kitty Cohen of Toronto, now 100 years young, who credits her healthy longevity to Yoga that she started at 53 at her local Jewish Center, can dance at 97 with perfect balance and coordination. In the photo, she celebrates her 97th birthday at a Jerusalem dance studio, crediting yoga for helping her with balance issues.
You can also read about the highlights of the latest scientific research on āsana-based Yoga’s health benefits in the excellent article “How Yoga Changes your Body Starting the Day you Begin”. To access these and more, including Kitty Cohen’s video, sign up at: www.joanvernikos.com/pages/contact.php
YSN Editorial Comments: We are pleased to have onboard at YSN, Professor Joan Vernikos, Ph.D., former NASA scientist and Director of Life Sciences, and now Chair of Taksha Institute of Space Health and Aging (TISHA, www.taksha.org/divisions/tisha), to write for YSN about her insights on Yoga, Space, Aging and Health, with emphasis on the benefits of Yoga for Healthy Aging on Earth and in Space (for which she is uniquely qualified). As a pioneer in proposing Yoga-Therapy for maintaining the health of space travelers, she chaired the first workshop on Space Health, Aging and Yoga Therapy: Metabolic Changes, in Palo Alto, CA, September 2012 (www.taksha.org/tisha), and published a landmark paper on Yoga Therapy for mitigating the adverse health effects due to micro-gravity for space travelers in a peer-reviewed scientific journal in April, 2012, see: www.yogaforspacehealth.com. An accomplished and popular speaker, she is the author of three best-selling books: Sitting Kills, Moving Heals; The G-Connection; Inactivity: Physiological Effects. Her Yoga-related speaking and workshop schedule will be listed in the YSN Calendar of Events for the benefit of our readers who may wish to attend. Being a yoga-practitioner, Joan practices what she teaches.