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The Science of Why Yoga Quiets the Mind

Fitness Industry Hype Obscures Yoga’s True Benefits

[ THE SCIENCE OF SCIENCE COMMUNICATION

Matthew C. Nisbet is professor of communication at Northeastern University and editor-in-chief of the journal Environmental Communication. He also writes at www.wealthofideas.org and can be found on Twitter @MCNisbet

I had been practicing yoga for a decade, but it took an unexplained injury to push me toward turning yoga into a daily routine. I had spent a brutally cold winter battling unexplained nerve pain in my legs, which doctors after a series of diagnostic tests eventually characterized as related to “muscle tension.”

For years as a professor and writer, my days were spent at a desk chair, slouched over a computer. I always prided myself on staying in shape, taking breaks to run and lift weights. But now it seemed the years of sitting at a computer, pressed to meet the next deadline, had taken their toll. As I worked with a physical ther- apist, I began to notice that the nerve pain I felt in my lower legs appeared to be connected to chronic tightness in my hamstrings and hips, and this tightness would intensify after sitting at a desk and/or under conditions of stress.

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