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Washington: The world is celebrating the International Day of Yoga on Sunday, but Americans have embraced it for years with a whopping 20.4 million, or nine percent of all American adults, practicing it to fuel a $27 billion industry.
From housewives to stressed executives to fitness enthusiasts, an ever growing number of ‘yogis’ are flocking to Bikram, Ashtanga and Vinyasa studios across the nation, from “America’s Last Frontier” Alaska, to the national capital of Washington and beyond.
Forbes calls San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, California as “the most yoga-mad metro area” in America, with its 59 percent of residents more likely to practice yoga than elsewhere. Seattle, home of Microsoft, is next only to San Francisco, which was the first city to set up a yoga room at its airport.
Since President Barack Obama came to power in 2009, the first family has made yoga a part of the annual Easter Egg Roll, the largest public event held at the White House, featuring a ‘Yoga Garden’ on the lawns.
But like all things American, yoga too has gone commercial with the Yoga Journal’s Yoga Market in San Francisco showcasing the latest in yoga apparel & accessories, jewellery, nutrition, natural health & beauty, local studios & retreats.
According to a 2012 study by Sports Marketing Surveys for the Journal, yoga enthusiasts are spending $10.7 billion a year on pants, mats, bags, blocks and other gear, which has witnessed a rise of 88 percent from 2008.
The Yoga Market also has a “Sangha Space” offering a place “in-between, and after class just to un-wind or to enjoy music, community classes, AcroYoga flying sessions, Happy Hours and much more.”
Many breweries have also jumped onto the yoga bandwagon hosting happy hour events, where one can do a yoga class and grab a beer.
BeerYoga ($15 for yoga and a pint), at Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria, on the outskirts of Washington, “has become so popular, that its twice-monthly classes sell out within a day,” according to the Washington Post.
Washington DC’s Hellbender Brewing Company has launched a “Detox to Retox”, a monthly summer series of yoga, tastings and discounts, while Capitol City Brewing Company offers “Asana & Ale” in Shirlington.
“I really see DC as a place where maybe the two most sought after post-work activities are working out in some form or another and attending happy hours with your friends or co-workers,” Amy Rizzotto, a yoga instructor/nutrition coach was quoted as saying.
At times, conservative Christian parents in New York and California have raised objections to yoga, calling its use in schools as religious indoctrination. But yoga’s popularity keeps growing regardless.
Yoga was first introduced to America by Swami Vivekananda, who came to America in 1893 to address the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought Transcendental Meditation (TM), offering tangible yoga that became “the most widely practiced self-development programme in the US” during 1960’s and 1970’s.
In a new book, “The Goddess Pose,” Michelle Goldberg attributes the rise of yoga in America to Russian Bollywood actress Indra Devi, whom he calls the “first lady of yoga.”
Born Eugenia Vassilievna in 1899, Devi died in 2002, just weeks shy of her 103rd birthday. “For much of her life,” Goldberg writes, “Devi’s only goal had been to make yoga known to the West.”
Huffington Post in a January 2014 article, traces the growth of yoga into a $27 billion industry to Sat Jivan Singh Khalsa, “a lawyer moonlighting as a Kundalini yoga teacher,” who moved to New York to open a yoga studio in 1971.
It was a time, as Khalsa told the Post, when “people confused yoga and yogurt. They were both brand new and nobody knew what either of them were.”
At that time there were only a couple of yoga studios in the Big Apple. Today dozens of yoga variations can be found within a 1-mile radius of his studio in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, from Equinox power yoga to yogalates (yoga+pilate) to “zen bootcamp.”
As Khalsa told the Post, “The love of yoga is out there and the time is right for yoga.”
And Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has seized that moment to bring yoga to the world. (IANS)
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)
The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.
Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.
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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.
"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.
It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.
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This applies to less intense situations too. Dating, for example, can be tricky — especially when it's online or via digital apps, as it often is now.
The study also found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
In celebration of World Emoji Day on Saturday, Adobe's '2021 Global Emoji Trend Report' surveyed 7,000 people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. (IANS/KB)
Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.
Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.
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After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin
Sirisha flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University.IANS
Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Mary Wallace 'Wally' Funk, and other passengers are set to liftoff from west Texas and travel just beyond the edge of space on July 20. Blue Origin announced this week that Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old high school graduate from the Netherlands, would join the crew.
Oliver is the son of millionaire Joe Daemen, Founder, and CEO of the Dutch investment company Somerset Capital Partners. Blue Origin, however, did not reveal how much Daemen paid for his son's trip to space. Bezos chose July 20 as the launch date to honor the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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The launch site for Blue Origin's first human flight will be in a remote location north of Van Horn, Texas, from where the firm had launched New Shepard for previous flights. Blue Origin has received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry humans on the New Shepard rocket into space.
On July 12, Bandla touched the edge of space with three others, including Virgin Galactic's billionaire CEO Richard Branson. Bandla vaulted into space onboard VSS Unity 22. After the successful spaceflight, Branson carried the Indian-American on his shoulders while celebrating their flight to space, at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (IANS/KB)