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What is yoga?

Yoga originated in India over 5000 years ago as a form of traditional mind-body training. Yoga is a mind-body practice with three main components:

  1. Physical poses/postures
  2. Breathing control
  3. Meditation/relaxation

Yoga can be utilized as an all-inclusive physical activity for active and healthy aging. Health-related physical fitness dimensions include:

  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility

Yoga is utilized as a comprehensive body–mind exercise approach, which aims to improve spine and shoulder flexibility, accompanied with exercises that strengthen the muscles in the trunk and lower extremities by using slow-paced stretching and strengthening exercises in a quiet environment.

The integrated mind-body practice of yoga improves physical health, mental health, induces relaxation and promotes a sense of overall wellbeing.

What are the benefits of yoga?

Yoga has been shown to significantly reduce pain intensity and psychological distress (i.e., feelings of stress, fatigue-relieving effects, anger, tension, anxiety, depression, mood swings).

Additionally, yoga improves wellbeing, sleep and general activity (i.e., participation in daily activities).

Yoga is a science of health management rather than a therapy for treating disease. However, medically, the efficacy of yoga has been studied in several chronic diseases, such as:

  • Hypertension
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Diabetes

It can help with these type of diseases through research showing changes in blood biomarkers, TNF-α – (excessive proinflammatory cytokine), serum cortisol levels (suggesting short-term anti-stress effects), and increased serum levels of DHEA-S (which buffers the negative effects of stress) to name a few.

The promising benefits of yoga interventions has been additionally conducted for chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue.

We find that Yoga can be a phenomenal exercise routine independently. However, even if you are a runner, athlete or weight-lifter, Yoga is a great low-impact cross-training approach to build flexibility, core strength and overall push you outside your boundaries and comfort zone with movements and muscles that you do not normally use!