Last night I hit the Apple store in NYC’s SoHo neighborhood (presumably one of the most high-tech, trendy places on the planet), not to learn about the latest fitness app or snag a new accessory for toting my iPod during workouts, but to talk about two ancient arts: books and yoga. New York Times journalist William J. Broad and, one of SHAPE’s favorite yoga instructors, Tara Stiles were speaking about their new tomes The Science of Yoga and Yoga Cures, respectively, both of which should be on any yogi’s reading list.
The texts focus largely on how yoga does more than just help you de-stress or get fit. But, how, according to a multitude of new research, it can actually help treat depression, migraines, back pain, and more. Broad offered interesting factoids for members of the geek squad in the room and showed off a bio lab–ready spine to illustrate yoga’s positive effects, while Stiles chatted excitedly about her passion for the activity, as affable and approachable as she is in the studio—one of the reasons she is so beloved by her fans.
My favorite tidbit from the evening: Yoga actually produces molecules in the brain that make you happy—like sunshine smiling on your cells. This, in turn, helps you cut the cycle of stress eating or may stop you from going postal on a coworker. As Stiles explains, yoga helps you get in touch with yourself and what your body really wants and needs, and because of that you’ll make better choices. Happy to say, I packed a salad for lunch today.
For more on Tara Stiles' book, pick up the May issue of SHAPE magazine on newsstands April 23rd.