Nearly 16 million Americans are currently practicing some form of yoga. Yoga continues to rise in popularity because it’s a low-impact activity that improves overall physical fitness, strength and flexibility. Yoga can be adapted to a wide variety of fitness levels and offers a low risk of serious injury or side effects when practiced carefully under the guidance of an experienced, certified instructor.
Yoga can help reduce chronic pain, low back pain, stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health. Yoga can also help lower heart rate and blood pressure. Recent research and input from health experts suggests that yoga can help reduce the use of medications for some common medical conditions. A number of studies have proven that yoga can help lessen low back pain, hypertension and mental disorders including depression. These studies have also shown that yoga can help people reduce their reliance on medications.
Yoga Resources on the Web
- Scientific Results of Yoga for Health and Well-Being Video by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
- Yoga for People in Pain: a series of 5 webinars by the Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability, Pain BC and the Canadian Pain Coalition
- New York Times: Advice on Practicing Yoga in Middle Age, Part 1
- New York Times, Well Blog: Yoga After 50
- Amy Weintraub’s History of Yoga for Depression: YouTube video
- Yoga for Back Pain by Loren Fishman MD and Carol Ardman
- Yoga Anatomy – 2nd Edition by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews
- The Back Pain Helpbook by James E Moore, PhD, et al.
- Heal Your Aching Back: What a Harvard Doctor Wants You to Know About Finding Relief and Keeping Your Back Strong by Jeffrey N. Katz, MD.—Jane Langille