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About The Film

Yoga was brought to the west from India by a lineage of male teachers. Now there’s a generation of women who are leading the way. They’re strong they’re inspiring and they’re radically changing peoples lives. From the busy streets of Manhattan to the dusty slums of Kenya YOGAWOMAN uncovering a global phenomenon that has changed the face of yoga forever.

A quiet revolution brews in yoga studios, hospitals, and living rooms around the globe: In record numbers, women are discovering their own strength, vitality, peace, and power through yoga. Reclaiming this ancient spiritual path from its traditionally male form, the result is a radical transformation of modern yoga, as we know it.

Led by a new generation of dynamic female teachers, this “new” yoga replaces the male-centered, rigid style with a distinctly feminine practice that honors intuition, family, flow, connection, community, activism, and the cyclical nature of women’s lives.

YOGAWOMAN is a groundbreaking film that captures this fascinating time of awakening female power.

Through rich personal stories, YOGAWOMAN reveals how yoga has utterly transformed the lives of thousands of over-stimulated, overscheduled, and multi tasking modern women. From the buzzing streets of Manhattan to the dusty slums of Kenya, from the golden beaches of Australia to the serene piazzas of Italy, the film follows the heart-rending stories of women who have found a lifeline through this magical and mystical practice.

With vivid detail and poignancy, YOGAWOMAN shows how women have embraced yoga for easing health conditions like breast cancer, infertility, heart disease, and anxiety and depression. It illuminates how yoga has transformed the lives of women in prison, cancer survivors, and those struggling with body image or eating disorders with candor. And beyond these circumstances, we witness how women have integrated yoga into their daily lives so they are happier, healthier, and more fulfilled — allowing them to give back to others with full hearts and creative minds.

Through intimate interviews with the world’s leading experts, many who have become worldwide icons with rock-star status, YOGAWOMAN captures these teachers have blazed a new trail for women. These world-renowned teachers include Patricia Walden, Seane Corn, Sharon Gannon, Shiva Rea, Angela Farmer, Cyndi Lee and forward-thinking medical professionals such as integrative physician Dr. Sara Gottfried and world-renowned research scientist Dr. Shirley Telles.

YOGAWOMAN is the first film of its kind to bring together these luminaries, distilling their wisdom and spreading their message of peace and empowerment so we can all benefit.

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Latest Blog Posts

Specialized Yoga Program Could Help Women with Urinary Incontinence By Elizabeth Fernandez

Yogawoman - Friday, August 08, 2014

An ancient form of meditation and exercise could help women who suffer from urinary incontinence, according to a new study from UC San Francisco.

In a study scheduled to be published on April 25, 2014 in Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery, the official journal of the American Urogynecologic Society, UCSF researchers discovered that a yoga training program, designed to improve pelvic health, can help women gain more control over their urination and avoid accidental urine leakage.

“Yoga is often directed at mindful awareness, increasing relaxation, and relieving anxiety and stress,” said first author Alison Huang, MD, assistant professor in the UCSF School of Medicine. “For these reasons, yoga has been directed at a variety of other conditions – metabolic syndrome or pain syndromes – but there's also a reason to think that it could help for incontinence as well.”

Huang and her colleagues recruited 20 women from the Bay Area who were 40 years and older and who suffered from urinary incontinence on a daily basis. Half were randomly assigned to take part in a six-week yoga therapy program and the other half were not. The women who took part in the yoga program experienced an overall 70 percent improvement – or reduction – in the frequency of their urine leakage compared to the baseline. The control group – or the group that did not start yoga therapy – only had 13 percent improvement.  Most of the observed improvement in incontinence was in stress incontinence, or urine leakage brought on by activities that increase abdominal pressure such as coughing, sneezing, and bending over.

Huang and her colleagues believe that yoga can improve urinary incontinence through more than one mechanism.  Because incontinence is associated with anxiety and depression, women suffering from incontinence may benefit from yoga’s emphasis on mindful meditation and relaxation.  But regular practice of yoga may also help women strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor that support the bladder and protect against incontinence.

“We thought this would be a good opportunity for women to use yoga to become more aware of and have more control over their pelvic floor muscles,” Huang said.

Approximately 25 million adults in America suffer from some form of urinary incontinence, according to the National Association for Continence. Up to 80 percent of them are women. Urinary incontinence becomes more common as women age, although many younger women also suffer from it.

“We specifically developed a yoga therapy program that would be safe for older women, including women with minor mobility limitations,” Huang said. “So we were partially assessing safety of this program for older women who are at highest risk for having incontinence in the first place.”

Not all types of yoga may help with urinary incontinence. The yoga program used in the study was specially designed with input from yoga consultants Leslie Howard and Judith Hanson Lasater, who have experience teaching women to practice yoga in ways that will improve their pelvic health.  Still Huang and her colleagues believe that many women in the community can be taught to preserve pelvic muscle strength and prevent incontinence.

“It would be a way for women to gain more control over their pelvic floor muscles without having to go through traditional costly and time-intensive rehabilitation therapy,” Huang said.

Men were not included in this study because urinary incontinence in men is often related to problems related to the prostate, which may be less likely to improve with yoga. Huang and her colleagues hope to eventually build on this study and double the length of the study to 12 weeks.

Huang is the first author of the paper. The senior author is Leslee L. Subak, MD, a professor at UCSF’s School of Medicine. Co-authors include Margaret A. Chesney, PhD, director of the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine; Hillary E. Jenny, BS, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai; and Michael Schembri, BS, of the UCSF School of Medicine.

This study was supported by a UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine Pilot Award from Mt. Zion Health Fund. Huang also is supported by a Paul Beeson Career Development Award (1K23AG038335) from the National Institute on Aging and the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR). Jenny also is also supported by a Medical Student Training in Aging Research grant from AFAR. Subak also is supported by grant #5K24DK080775 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy, a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic biomedical, translational and population sciences, as well as a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and two top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.

Re posted: http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2014/04/113831/specialized-yoga-program-could-help-women-urinary-incontinence

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Yoga Improves the Quality of Life and Physiological Changes Associated with Radiotherapy for Women with Breast Cancer by Jennifer Hillyer

Yogawoman - Tuesday, August 05, 2014
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YOGA BENEFITS: YOGA STRENGTHENS THE BODY

Yogawoman - Thursday, August 15, 2013

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Yoga and Cancer Part 1 by Linda Sparrowe

Yogawoman - Tuesday, August 06, 2013

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Yoga for People Who Are Overweight or Obese By LAURA MCMULLEN

Yogawoman - Thursday, April 11, 2013

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Easy Yoga Poses for Someone with Mesothelioma by Faith Franz

Yogawoman - Friday, March 15, 2013

Mesothelioma patients may feel wary of taking their first yoga class, worrying that they will be asked to put their feet behind their head or support their bodyweight on their arms.  Read On....

How Yoga Changed My Mind (And My Relationship to My Body) By Melanie Klein

Yogawoman - Tuesday, December 04, 2012

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Teaching Yoga to Someone with Cancer: Is it Different? by Tari Prinster

Yogawoman - Friday, November 16, 2012

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The Changing Face of Yoga by Alice G Walton

Yogawoman - Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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Musings on Aging and Yoga by Anne O'Brien

Yogawoman - Thursday, November 08, 2012

Teaching my weekly Tuesday class, I was reminded of the sweetness of yoga at any age. Barbara, 82, who never misses a class, was next to my new student Hallie, 22—learning, exploring, enjoying the benefits of practice. Age in many ways is truly just a number for yogis – how fortunate we are to have an embodied practice that helps us remain healthy and agile as we are Read On....

Yoga Not for Profits