Yoga as Medicine

Let’s take a look at the physiological, biochemical, hormonal benefits of practicing Yoga

In 2011, more than 16 million Americans practiced yoga. Here’s why…

Yoga stems from the Ayurvedic Tradition of Medicine. Unlike other forms of yoga, the Ayurvedic Tradition believes that yoga is an individual journey that must be tailored to the unique practitioner’s physical and spiritual needs. Classic breathing exercises and asanas-poses are incorporated in this form of yoga, and so are dietary and lifestyle considerations. Your yoga routine will vary, depending on whether you fall under the Pitta, Vata or Kapha constitution (dosha) type. Try this self test to determine your dosha. Most of us are a mix of all and the goal is to rebalance those doshas which are out of balance. This is where Naturopathic Consultation is very helpful!

Physiological Benefits of Yoga

*Yoga has long been touted for its stress-relieving ability. Approximately 90 percent of all illnesses and diseases have been linked to stress. When we feel upset, our body releases cortisol — which not only speeds up the heart rate, but also compromises the immune system, making it difficult for the body to heal. With yoga, relaxation allows the body a chance to unwind and rejuvenate.
*A VA San Diego Health System study found that yoga decreased pain, increased energy and also helped to decrease depression.
*New York doctor Vijay Vad found that 80 percent of his yoga patients reported their lower back pain (from herniated disks) was cut in half after three months, compared to 44 percent of the patients who were taking various pharmaceutical pain medications.
*The American Council on Exercise reports that yoga participants show a 13 percent increase in flexibility. They also show an increase in strength as they also able to do six more push-ups and 14 more curl-ups.

Biochemical Benefits
*In March 2008, a study published in the Indian Journal of Physiological Pharmacology reported that favorable biochemical changes took place in 98 percent of the study’s subjects. This included improved cholesterol levels and less glucose in the bloodstream.
*Antioxidants like Vitamin C flood the bloodstream during yoga, which offers the best resistance to illness and infection, says

Glandular Benefits
*Yoga has been found to stimulate the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism. A study by Dr. Anand Shetty of Hampton University found that 40 minutes of yoga four times a week for three months helped overweight high school students lose an average of 6 pounds – even with no changes in diet.

Internal Benefits

P.K. Vedanthan, an allergist at the University of Colorado in Denver, found that patients who practiced a regular yoga routine were less likely to need inhalers.

How Can Yoga help to improve symptoms?

*Ohio State University scientists suggest that yoga lowers a blood protein linked to inflammation, stress, arthritis, stroke, heart disease and aging.
*University of Alberta researcher Amy Speed-Andrews found that 94 percent of breast cancer patients reported improved quality of life after a 10 week session of yoga.

Now if you’ve not yet tried a Yoga class, I suggest you run over to your local health center or get yourself a Yoga DVD, and get on your mat. Let me know how amazing you feel afterward. After all, Yoga is really is one of the best medicines!


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