Yoga: Alternative Medicine through Exercise

Yoga came to the attention of an educated western public in the mid-19th century. The first Hindu teacher to dynamically promote and broadcast aspects of yoga to a western audience was Swami Vivekananda, who toured Europe and the United States in the 1890s.  A “yoga boom” followed in the 1980s, as Dean Ornish, MD, a medical researcher, connected “Hatha Yoga” to heart health, legitimizing it as a purely bodily system of fitness exercises outside of counter belief circles, and unrelated to any religious value. Since then, Hatha Yoga has been used as an auxiliary therapy for myriad conditions such as Cancer, Diabetes, Asthma, and AIDS.

Both the introspective and the physical workings of Hatha Yoga have been examined for both precise and non-specific health benefits. Hatha yoga has been researched as an intervention for many situations, including back pain, stress, and depression. It generally can help better the quality of life.

A study released in December 2008 by the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative

Medicine established that Hatha Yoga was the sixth most frequently used alternative therapy in the United States during 2007, with 6.1 percent of the populace playing an active part in it. As of 2011, evidence suggests that Hatha Yoga may be as effective at improving health results as other forms of mild physical workouts, when supplemented to standard care.

The more traditional methods of Hatha Yoga move at a slower pace, accentuate proper arrangement and  accomplishment, and hold asanas for an extended period of time. The objective is to progressively improve suppleness, stability, and strength. Other methods change between asanas rapidly and powerfully. Nearly all types of Hatha Yoga practices include asana, pranayama and savasana.

“The yoga mat is a good place to turn when talk therapy and antidepressants aren’t enough.” Amy Weintraub



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