Relationship between Health and Yoga

January 08 2018 at 02:22 AM by Vamakshi Saklani


Yoga has its origin in ancient Indian philosophy. It is a mind and body practice which combines physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation. It has become popular as a form of physical exercise over the years and promotes improved control of mind and body to enhance one’s well - being. Yoga as a practice is way beyond being a mere form of physical exercise. It helps to cure and prevent a number of medical conditions. Practicing yoga has many potential health benefits including relieving low back pain, assisting with stress management and increasing balance and flexibility.

A number of studies have shown that yoga is a safe and effective way to increase physical activity and enhance strength, flexibility and balance. Research has shown that yoga as a technique has potential benefits in relieving stress and coping with chronic conditions or disabilities. It also helps to prevent, heal or alleviate specific conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, diabetes and symptoms of menopause. The following are a few of the many medical conditions that can be prevented with the incorporation of yoga -

Anxiety and Depression - Elevated levels of cortisol are commonly seen in depression, and yoga has demonstrated an ability to relieve hypercortisolemia and reduce other parameters of stress. A study into the effects of yoga on cortisol and depression found that yoga might act at the level of the hypothalamus to create an ‘anti-stress’ effect by reducing cortisol levels, thereby helping to bring about relief in depression.

Arthritis - Research studies of people with different types of arthritis show that regular yoga practice can help reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility and function.

Asthma - Yoga has gained popularity as a form of exercise with general lifestyle benefits, and recent studies have investigated the potential of yoga to relieve asthma-related problems. It helps in calming down the stressed muscles in the chest, it allows you to breathe more effortlessly and it helps to lessen the strains on the heart and lungs.

Cardiovascular disease - A sedentary lifestyle and stress are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Since yoga involves exercise and is thought to help in stress reduction, it may be an effective strategy in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Hypertension - Effective stress management is a key part of managing blood pressure, and a number of systematic reviews have assessed the available evidence for yoga as a therapeutic tool for managing prehypertension and hypertension(elevated blood pressure). Researchers have found that yoga may be an effective adjunct treatment for hypertension.

Menopause - In a community-based interventional study, the quality of life in menopausal women was greatly improved after an 18-week course of yoga practice. The researchers concluded that yoga is an effective complementary health approach for those suffering menopausal symptoms.

Mental health -Yoga helps improve mental health, including psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD and schizophrenia. Some studies even suggest that yoga can have a similar effect to antidepressants and psychotherapy.

Migraine - A comprehensive study examining the effect of yoga on migraine showed significant clinical improvement in frequency and intensity of migraines in those taking part in yoga therapy. The researchers concluded that yoga therapy could be effectively incorporated as an adjuvant therapy in migraine patients.

Pregnancy - Yoga is used for a variety of immunological, neuromuscular, psychological, and pain conditions. Recent studies indicate that it may be effective in improving pregnancy, labor, and birth outcomes. The breathing and meditation techniques can help enhance health and relaxation for those who are pregnant and support mental focus to aid childbirth. Some postures are chosen specifically to help encourage an optimal fetal position.

 


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