Historical perspective on yoga
- Yoga started in India over three to five thousand years ago
- References to yoga are contained in ancient Indian texts such as Vedas as well as Buddhist texts
- Yoga is rooted in Hindu philosophy with contributions from Buddhism and Jainism
- Yoga does not require knowledge or belief in Hinduism to practice and reap its benefits.
Benefits of yoga
- Builds elasticity, endurance, power, concentration and balance
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Improves sleep
- Individualize the program to be as vigorous or as gentle depending on your body constitution and your goals
How to learn yoga
- Yoga classes at gyms and YMCAs
- Yoga studios
- Yoga DVDs and books
- Be sure to talk to your doctor before embarking on any new exercise program including yoga
Good evidence for health benefits exists for following conditions
- Cardiovascular disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Psychiatric disorders
- Substance abuse
- Stress management
- Menopausal symptoms
- Chronic back pain
Preliminary evidence for health benefits
Migraine [John et al 2007]
What Is Yoga?
- Holistic system of medicine that epitomizes self-realization and positive health attained by fostering a unity of the mind, body, and spirit
- Not just a system or tool of medicine, rather a wholesome lifestyle approach to health and sickness
- Involves meditation, training of mind, body and breath as well as making a spiritual connection with the inner self and the divine power. Chanting may be involved.
- An individual who practices yogic philosophy, consciousness and way of life at its highest level is known as yogi or yogini
- Yoga is practiced barefoot and an average session last 30-60 minutes
- Practiced by about 18-20 million people in the Unites States
- Yoga is available in a variety of flavors with different combinations and permutations of emphasis on physical, mental and spiritual exercises. Examples include Raja yoga, Karma yoga, Jnana yoga, Bhakti yoga and Hatha yoga. Western concept of yoga involves exercises only, thus predominantly Hath yoga which is described below.
- Predominant physical component of yoga with the belief that purification of body leads to purification of mind
- Involves physical exercises via asanas, or poses of yoga
- A typical yoga exercise session involves a series of specific poses and postures in conjunction with along with breathing exercises
- Variations of hatha yoga
Ashtanga yoga, also known as eight limb yoga an intense fast paced exercise program that is meant to develop elasticity, and power along with vigor and concentration
Bikram yoga, also known as "hot yoga” involves exerices in rooms heated to over 100° Fahrenheit. The goal is to build stamina along with detoxification and purification.
Gentle yoga is akin to warm ups concentrating on slow and deliberate stretches, flexibility, and breathing exercises.
Kundalini yoga also known as yoga of awareness is the combination of physical exercises and meditation at the highest level and is meant to stir up the life energy.
Iyengar yoga known after its creator BKS Iyengar is a form of Hatha yoga. Price body alignment is central to the exerices and this is accomplished by using a variety of "props" like straps, belts, mats, and blocks etc.
- Health benefits of yoga in a variety of systemic disorders like hypertension, cardiovascular disease have been proven by randomized controlled trials
- There is only a limited literature on use of yoga in gastrointestinal conditions
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- Brown RP et al. Yoga breathing, meditation, and longevity. Ann NY Acad Sci 2009; 1172:54-62
- Brotto LA, Mehak L, Kit C.: Yoga and sexual functioning. J Sex Marital Ther. 2009 Oct;35(5):378-90.
- Innes et al. Mind-body therapies for menopausal symptoms: a systematic review. Maturitas 2010; 6:135-49
- Ross A et al. The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison studies. J Altern Complement Med 2010.
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