Data journalism & yoga: an (un)likely pair

Journalism changes day-to-day nowadays, and one of the coolest things about journalism is its delving into data. Comment boxes, open questions and surveys allow us to create visualizations about trends, likes, dislikes, history and basic information. And that’s what I did here: I sent out a survey (which, if you participated, THANK YOU!) and created visualizations out of my answers. Click on the graphs to be taken to a more detailed version; I hope you find these relationships and visualizations as interesting as I have. I will be distributing out another survey soon for my final in my multimedia class (I promise I’ll keep this blog going once the semester is going!), so stay tuned!

View Surveygoers in a full screen map

First, above is a link to a map of the hometowns of 11 of the over 20 people that took my yoga survey. Check it out, and next time you could be on it!

Every bit of my survey data, in a word cloud customized and based on the frequency of the text.

Every bit of my survey data, in a word cloud customized and based on the frequency of the text.

Next, above is a word visualization. The larger the word, the more frequently it came up in the survey questions and answers.

Relationship between practice and benefits in yogaPurple: mental health benefits
Green: physical benefits
Mustard: emotional health benefits

Above: A matrix chart of the relationship between what brought people to practice yoga in the first place (stress management, physical exercise, a spiritual experience) and what the people within these categories felt the best benefit of yoga is.

relationship between yoga practice and benefits

Many EyesGreen: mental health benefits
Blue: physical health benefits
Red: emotional health benefits

Above: A multi-faceted matrix chart detailing the relationship between what brought people to practice yoga in the first place (stress management, physical exercise, a spiritual experience) and what the people within these categories felt the best benefit of yoga is. This relationship is then broken up into categories of what my survey participants think yoga is, a spiritual discipline or a mental/physical fitness program.

yogis and thoughts on yoga in the olympics

Many EyesBlue: I’m confused, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of yoga?
Green: Yoga in the Olympics is an okay idea.
Red: yoga has no place in the Olympics.
Tan: yoga in the Olympics is an awesome idea!

Above: A matrix chart shows the percentages of surveygoers that practice yoga on various levels, and in those percents, what those people thought about the idea of yoga in the Olympics (which is not happening, but what people said was interesting nonetheless).

Advertisements

Studies show yoga benefits mental health disorders

yoga on the beachWhile it’s a well known fact that yoga is beneficial for the body, new studies are now showing that yoga may help fight major mental health disorders. I think the whole of the yoga community already knew this fact, but to see it published in professional print is something else entirely. As a young yogi, I can honestly say that yoga may have saved my young life, or at least my mental health. Countless personal stories reveal that yoga helps to balance one’s life. That’s crazy to think about, right? The idea that practicing a series of poses can help a person’s physical, mental, social and psychological health is really nuts. But yoga is so much more than cool-looking poses. The first thing a yogi does when he or she starts a practice is frees their mind. Breathing becomes a focus of the mind. Breathing connects the mind to the body, and life starts to fade away. That’s also a crazy thought: letting life fade away for however long the practice is, to work on oneself. It’s selfish, even, taking time out of the day to devote solely to oneself. But, studies now show, the benefits are endless to the practice, including opening up extensive mental progression. It has positive effects on mild depression, sleep complaints and “improves symptoms associated with schizophrenia and ADHD in patients on medication.” The review of the studies found that “yoga influences key elements of the human body,” elements that help out the mind in “similar ways to that of antidepressants and psychotherapy.” While drugs and therapy is expensive, yoga is relatively affordable, and it doesn’t have to be done alone. Not only is yoga great for the body, but its benefits of the mind are of even more importance and recognition.

As yoga has become an international sensation, it becomes apparent now why the attraction is so high: everyday it seems, more benefits are discovered in the 5,000-year-old Indian practice.