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What is and how does yoga work?

What is and how does yoga work?

By daniele

Based on Indian philosophy, yoga is a practice that was initially spiritual but has become very popular for people’s physical and mental well-being. Classical yoga has some elements, however, the yoga practiced in the United States emphasizes physical postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation (dyana).

There are various types of yoga as well, including gentle and more physically demanding practices, and differences in the types of yoga used in research studies affect the studies, making assessment of the effects of the practice on health difficult. 

There are other Chinese practices, which are tai chi and qi gong apart from traditional yoga, these practices are also known as “meditative movement”, the three practices include these practices and also physical movement.

What are the health benefits of yoga?

  • Relieve low-back pain and neck pain, and possibly pain from tension-type headaches and knee osteoarthritis.
  • Help people quit smoking.
  • Help people manage anxiety or depressive symptoms associated with difficult life situations.
  • Help people who are overweight or obese lose weight.
  • Help improve general wellness by relieving stress, supporting good health habits, and improving mental/emotional health, sleep, and balance.
  • Help people with chronic diseases manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
  • Relieve menopause symptoms.

In most cases, research on the effects of yoga has shown promise for particular health uses, however not that it helps, this research has only included a small number of people.

What does research show about yoga for wellness?

Some aspects of well-being have been benefited by the practice of yoga, from stress management, mental and emotional health, as well as healthy eating habits, sleep, activities and balance.

For example:

In 2020, 12 studies with 672 participants found beneficial effects of yoga for people suffering from stress in healthy adults.

Also in several studies of cancer patients, women with sleep problems, and older adults, yoga was found to work for sleep problems.

Can yoga help with pain management?

Research has shown that for low back pain, yoga can be recommended as a treatment with very promising results, it can also be useful for tension headaches or knee osteoarthritis pain and also neck pain.

For example:

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality evaluated 10 yoga studies finding that yoga improved pain and function in both the short term for low back pain in a report presented in 2020 and finding that the effects of yoga were similar to those of exercise.

Is yoga a good way to lose weight?

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, in 2013 analyzed 17 yoga-based weight control programs, thus discovering that patients managed to moderate their weight and reduce it, therefore there is evidence that yoga can be a good option to lose weight.

Can yoga help you quit smoking?

With a study done in 2020, it was found that after a yoga session, cravings for smoking reduced, with people who wanted to quit or reduce their cigarette consumption participating in the sessions.

How does yoga affect mental health?

The practice of yoga may work for anxiety due to medical conditions or depressive symptoms, however, the impact on mental health conditions is a little less promising.

Can yoga help with menopause symptoms?

In 2018 it was verified with an evaluation of some studies that yoga reduces the physical symptoms of menopause, for example, hot flashes, or psychological symptoms.

Is yoga helpful for people with chronic diseases?

Yoga can manage to control the symptoms of chronic diseases, being a useful activity for the treatment of patients and having promising results.

What does research show about practicing yoga during pregnancy?

The necessary precautions should be taken, however, the practice of yoga is very beneficial for pregnant women, it can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, and it is part of physical activities that are safe.

Does yoga have benefits for children?

Reviews of studies have shown that yoga helps obese children and adolescents lose weight, as well as reduce anxiety and other mental health disorders.

What are the risks of yoga?

The practice of yoga should be done under the guidance of a qualified instructor, however, as it is a physical activity, injuries such as sprains, among other injuries, can occur, however it is very rare that they are serious injuries. Older adults should be more careful in performing this physical practice.

How popular is yoga in the United States?

In recent years it has been found that about one in seven adults practice yoga in the United States, and one in twelve children between the ages of 4 and 17, and the percentage has been growing in both cases in recent years.

Why do Americans practice yoga?

Studies show that people practice yoga mainly for wellness reasons or in case of having a disease or health condition, some people even practice it for both reasons.

Do different groups of people have different experiences with yoga?

It depends on the people who practice yoga, and it is clear that each one will have a different experience. Yoga in the United States is seen more in women, non-Hispanic whites, with high incomes, however, studies may not have found it. examined a more diverse population to find more relevant details.

Tips To Consider

  • It is important to know the experience of the yoga instructor.
  • In case of medical problems, do not use yoga to avoid having medical attention.
  • You must take your health into account, and in case you need yoga you can take it as a complement in treatment.