Effects of Yoga on Mental and Physical Health


The conceptual background of yoga has its origins in ancient Indian philosophy. There are numerous modern schools or types of yoga (i.e., Iyengar, Viniyoga, Sivananda, etc.), each having its own distinct emphasis regarding the relative contentofphysicalposturesandexercises(asanas),breathing techniques (pranayama), deep relaxation, and meditation practices that cultivate awareness and ultimately more profound states of consciousness. The application of yoga as a therapeutic intervention, which began early in the twentieth century, takes advantage of the various psychophysiological benefits of the component practices. The physical exercises (asanas) may increase patient’s physical flexibility, coordination, and strength, while the breathing practices and meditation may calm and focus the mind to develop greater awareness and diminish anxiety , and thus result inhigherqualityoflife.Otherbeneficialeffectsmightinvolve a reduction of distress, blood pressure, and improvements in resilience, mood, and metabolic regulation.

Khalsa stated that a majority of the research on yoga as a therapeutic intervention was conducted in India and a significant fraction of these were published in Indian journals, some of which are difficult to acquire for Western clinicians and researchers . In their bibliometric analysis from 2004, they found that 48% of the enrolled studies were uncontrolled, while 40% were randomized clinical trials (RCT), and 12% non-RCT (N-RCT). Main categories which were 2 Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine addressed were psychiatric, cardiovascular, and respiratory disorders.

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