Yoga, plants and happiness
With lockdown and our increasing dependency on information technology, a great deal of stress has been put on us. Controlling this stress now becomes an important issue.
The Prana Vashya Yoga™ has been refurbished and adorned with many indoor houseplants to combine the health benefits of yoga and plants.
A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology (“JPA”) found that interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults.
In the study, the JPA gave participants two different tasks: repotting a houseplant or completing a short computer task. After each task, researchers measured the biological factors associated with stress, including heart rate variability and blood pressure.
The JPA found that the physical indoor gardening task lowered the stress response in participants. However, the mental computer task caused an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
In addition to the above many studies (including those done by NASA and those published in the Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology) have also looked at air purification by indoor potted plants. Many researchers and decades of work have confirmed that the plants remove CO2 through photosynthesis, degrade pollutants/ volatile organic compounds through the metabolic action of rhizospheric microbes, and can sequester particulate matter through a range of physical mechanisms. In short, indoor plants act as standalone air cleaning devices.
In the circumstances, the above suggests that interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress compared with our computer-based mental work which so often occupies our time.
A routine of dynamic yoga practice can also reduce psychological and physiological stress. Combining the therapeutic attributes of indoor plants and yoga ought, therefore, to be particularly conducive to promoting a healing environment. This is accomplished through suppression of sympathetic nervous system activity and diastolic blood pressure and promotion of comfortable, soothed, and natural feelings.
Damian Cadman-Jones is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga™