Can Yoga Cure All?


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            Growing up, and up until I came to college, I danced. I went to the same dance studio every day with the same teachers. One teacher in particular had a very influential effect on me. She was the type of person who was all-organic, all health, all the time. And, one of her biggest ways of being healthy was yoga. She believes that yoga can solve any problem. You have a headache? Do yoga. You have cramps? Yoga. Chronic back pain? Yup, do some yoga. My mom has taken up these same beliefs. So, any time that I come to her with a problem that is usually her solution. I began to wonder - is there any truth to this? I have done a lot of yoga, but never really thought too seriously on using to actually better my health. But, according to my research this is something I should definitely consider.

           According to Dr. Sandra McClanahan, family physician and yoga practitioner, " Even five minutes of simple stretching can make a difference in your health, Dr. McClanahan says. Moving muscles slowly will relax and loosen them, allowing better blood and lymph flow to restore the body and renew energy. Lymph fluid is filled with white blood cells that go to areas of the body that need repair. Because the lymph doesn't have a dynamic pump behind it, like the heart for blood, we can assist the flow through deep breathing and stretching." It was so interesting me to read just this little phrase. It was actual scientific evidence how beneficial yoga could be. The article then gives examples of a few yoga positions that could be extremely beneficial for your health.

            Every place that I look all I see is the many benefits of yoga. This article once again says how great for the body yoga is. It can help reduce lower back pain, reducing your heart and blood pressure, and even help with relieving anxiety and depression. I can attest to the relieving anxiety part. I can get very stressed, and doing yoga in high school helped so much for me. Just taking a few minutes out of my day to do some yoga stretches can make such a difference. The article did state a few side effects and risks, but there is really nothing major as long as you are practicing it properly and under the right instructor.

            Another  article I found brought up a very great point. How does exercising regularly every day compare with yoga? In this article they created a study in which they recruited 163 people from yoga studios and fitness clubs. They had they self-report how they felt after either engaging in regular exercise or yoga. The results were not too different, aside from some a few minor things. They said, ""We surveyed the participants on psychological well-being, as measured by anxiety, depression, coping, mindfulness, perceived stress and general health symptoms," said DeChino. "Interestingly, the two groups - yoga practitioners and habitual exercisers - were similar with regard to self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, the yoga practitioners reported lower prevalence of joint pain and headaches than those who engaged in cardiovascular exercise and weight training. They also had higher scores for mindfulness and coping skills, and lower scores for perceived stress, compared with the exercise group." 

            So, maybe it's a matter of preference. But, I personally would rather engage in yoga every day than run on a treadmill. And it seems to me that it's even more beneficial for other aspects in my life as opposed to just doing regular exercise. So, I guess my mother and dance teacher were right: yoga really can cure all.

 

As I was researching I found so many sites with many different benefits of yoga. If you're interesting, here a couple that I found the most interesting.

 

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-1378/7-Proven-Health-Benefits-of-Yoga.html

 

http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/about-your-health/health-conditions-library/general-health/Pages/yoga.aspx

 

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2 Comments

This is very interesting to me because I have always been interested in which was more beneficial, yoga or lifting/cardio. To me it seems if you wan to improve their overall health would do yoga since it is less strenuous and can be done almost anywhere, but those who want to have a more specific workout would do more lifting and cardio. As a golfer I know that later on I will have joint pain because the game puts a great amount of stress on your joints so yoga has become a very important part of working out to golfer because it is so beneficial to joints. In my opinion either option is good, it depends on what your goals are for working out

It's funny that you brought up you will want to do yoga when you are older because of your joint pain. One of the things I didn't mention in my article is that yoga can be possibly the most beneficial for older/elderly people. This article, http://www.seniorfitness.net/YOGA.htm, states the many benefits that yoga can have for people 50 years and older. It says that it can help with sleep, strength/arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, excess weight, mood/anxiety, chronic pain, and lung problems or breathing difficulties. It also gives some example poses that one can do to help with all of these issues. I'm not sure how far in the future you were planning on starting up yoga, hopefully before any of these other problems arise, because it can also be a good preventive measure to ensure you can avoid many other health issues as you get older.

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