By Marko Jovanovic
Chances are that you’ve already heard plenty of great things about doing yoga: it’s relaxing, it can help you reach your fitness goals, etc. Just look at how many celebrities who claim it’s what gives them the energy they need each day! However, people are increasingly starting to claim that yoga can assist with a host of issues that would otherwise be treated by a traditional doctor. So, is this really true? Yoga can’t solve medical miracles, but it can give you plenty of benefits.
There aren’t many things better than yoga when it comes to balance, posture, strength and flexibility. In fact, yoga is known to provide relief when it comes to musculoskeletal pain and other issues, something that many doctors are aware of. However, while it may provide the same relaxation a good massage or halotherapy would, yoga can’t cure any underlying orthopedic conditions.
The most crucial aspect and purpose of a yoga class is to give you some relaxation. Your blood pressure and heart rate are bound to be lower once you’re done with a class. You want to constantly be in a mindful state, one where you’re aware of all of your body movements and breathing.
Yoga and Children
Speaking of breathing, this is precisely where the principles taught by yoga can help people in more ways than one – especially with children. It can help kids sleep better if they’re having insomnia issues, severely reduce anxiety, as well as aid those struggling with autism or asthma. It can even help with post-traumatic stress disorder. At the end of the day, some physicians don’t even call it yoga – just a round of workouts to help your overall health.
Yoga therapists actually use yoga in order to help kids in their care; particularly children who remain hospitalized for cancer treatments and similarly serious conditions. Physically, yoga is quite helpful in giving more strength to weakened muscles, especially those that have atrophied from not moving. Stretching, an essential part of yoga, will do a lot in terms of muscular tightness. If you’ve been lying in bed for a while, or experiencing bodily discomfort after a hard procedure, yoga will help. Older kids who are still in their adolescence find yoga very helpful due to its meditative aspects, specifically with the key benefit of anxiety reduction.
While these are mostly empirical experiences of physicians and medical professionals, actual medical research on the effects of yoga is somewhat mixed. However, the results still tend to come out more positive than not.
Largely, yoga seems to improve symptoms of back pain, depression, insomnia, anxiety and stress – along with generally improving quality of life. Furthermore, if done frequently, yoga lowers blood pressure and heart rate. To no one’s surprise, it improves an individual’s general fitness, as well as their flexibility and strength.
On the other hand, research on ties between yoga and asthma haven’t found that it affects the symptoms of the illness in any positive way. The same goes for arthritis, though the research here is far less conclusive, so the proverbial jury is still out on how much yoga helps there.
Yoga should never be thought of as anything other than complementary therapy. It can’t replace standard medical treatment, regardless of the condition. In the case of patients with heightened blood pressure, while yoga could aid in taking it down slightly, blood pressure medication prescribed by your physician is still required.
The good news here is that yoga in general is quite safe to attempt. While pregnant women and certain other groups may have to modify some of the poses, the risk of injury is generally a small margin. All you need to do is to take a beginner class if you’ve never tried it out. It will all progress naturally from there! Soon, you will find yourself experiencing the myriad benefits of practicing yoga.