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'U' Yoga Study Seeks To Help African American Women

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The University of Minnesota is looking for African American women to take part in a yoga study.
Researchers say the study participants must also be women who get little to no exercise, and who consider themselves overweight.

"We have a tendency to take care of everyone else but ourselves," Researcher Dr. Daheia Barr-Anderson said.

Barr-Anderson is describing what's called "strong woman syndrome." It can lead to high blood pressure and high stress levels. Yoga can alleviate both.

"The goal of the study is to see if we take a woman who is overweight and sedentary -- if she establishes a regular yoga practice after three months, do we see any type of change in her blood pressure and stress levels?" Barr-Anderson said.

The African American women who are chosen for the U of M yoga study will get 12 weeks of free yoga classes. Yess Yoga in Minneapolis is one of the locations they can go, and Barr-Anderson herself will teach some of the classes.

She says yoga can be modified so that everyone can do it.

"If you are in a larger body, or you have tight ham strings, you may need to bend your knees, and you may not even try to go chest to thigh, and allow a person just to hang over," she said. "With regular practice, you can see movement in the right direction in terms of lowering blood pressure and stress."

The study is limited to 50 women, but they still have openings. They're screening those who are interested and will be until the end of the month. The first classes start in mid-April.

Click here for more information about the yoga study.

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